And I often feel tremendously guilty about all the time I spend away from my son while working. Although I’m working to provide a better life for him, it still makes it hard to be away.
The time we spend together is already so limited. It’s even harder when our time together is high stress, especially after a long, hard day. It really adds on to the guilt I feel when we don’t have good or happy interactions.
Now, I don’t have unrealistic expectations and I don’t expect every moment we do spend together to be splendid and perfect, but it makes me feel all the worse when they aren’t. So here are some small things I do to get our evenings together off on the right foot to help alleviate that Mom Guilt!
Greet him with a warm, happy smile and an excited, “Hello!”
It’s so important to make that first interaction special. No matter how my day has been, no matter how crappy I feel, I always want to show him that I am excited and happy to see him. And I always want him to know how much I love him and missed him, even though I was away.
Hold him and give him a great, big hug!
I want my son to know how loved he is. And maybe I’m trying to make up for being gone all day. Maybe I’m trying to make up for not being there. But I think it makes a huge difference.
Ask him how his day was…
Even if he can’t answer me. Even if he doesn’t understand what I’m saying. Someday he will answer me. Someday he will understand that I care so much and I always want him to have a good day, even if I can’t be a major part of it. And when he does, he will be so used to me asking and conversation will not be a foreign or new idea for him.
Asking about his day…
Once we get in the car, I always ask my son what he did today. Sitting in complete silence in the car really bothers me and I feel so bad about driving all the way home that day. Sometimes I am just so tired, but I don’t want my son to feel like he has to be quiet. I want him to feel comfortable talking to me. So even though he can’t talk back, I still ask. It makes talking a common thing; me asking questions and he babbles in the backseat. Although it’s not a tangible conversation, we are still communicating.
Always have a snack on hand!
After a long day, my son is usually at the end of his little rope. He’s tired, he’s had a long, exciting day, and it’s usually been about 2-3 hours since he’s had something to eat! It’s time for dinner and it’ll be 20 minutes before we get home. I avoid the drive-home-meltdown in the car with a snack. It keeps him happy and our limited interactions pleasant and always positive… Well, most of the time.
Play some upbeat and happy music…
Sometimes, I can already tell when I pick my son up from daycare that our night is going to be off to a bad start. He’s tired, he’s cranky, he didn’t take a nap today. Any host of reasons, and I can tell we are in for a bumpy ride… Literally.
I’ll play some music in the car that I know my son likes instead of my music or the radio. Sometimes I’ll even play his favorite song. Yes, even Baby Shark. It makes him happy and that’s really all that matters. Plus, Baby Shark doesn’t really bother me.
First thing when I get home, after we get our coats off and our shoes put away, I try to take some time to play with my son. I’ll go with him right away to his room and show him his toys. I’ll sit with him for a few minutes and start him off playing. It just makes things easier. I’ll spend a few minutes interacting with him before I go off on my own and take care of what needs to be done, like dishes and laundry and dinner, and you know… The list goes on and on.
Sit down together…
Sometimes I’ll sit down with a book and cuddle with my son for five or ten minutes. I know as working moms and dads we are always busy, but sometimes getting off on the right foot and taking that time can really set the tone for the entire evening. Some quality one on one snuggle time is really good for both of us and it really improves both of our moods.
Make your child laugh…
Usually right away as we are leaving or getting in the car, I’ll make my son laugh. I’ll tickle him, I’ll do something silly while I’m buckling him into his car seat or just dance with him to his silly songs once we get home.
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Do you struggle with feeling guilty being a working mom? Or even a stay at home mom? What do you do to beat that Mom Guilt? What works for you and your little ones?