I am writing to you today as someone who has been where you are and come out on the other side – with children grown and happy. First, I want to say that I believe you are warriors. You go out and fight the good fight every day and then come home to find another full-time job waiting for you. The responsibilities you carry are the weightiest of responsibilities, and your road is a difficult, but most rewarding one.
So many working moms have questions about working and raising children. They want to be consoled and told that they are not doing the wrong thing. I want you to know you are not doing the wrong thing – for yourselves or for your children. They are going to be just fine.
I also want you to know, you are going to make sacrifices. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to feel guilty and you are not going to ever “have it all”. But mostly you are going to be okay.
You are going to make sacrifices. You are going to find yourself in a position at some point where you must choose between being a mom and your job. Whether it is declining a promotion that will take you away from home more often, rejecting a transfer to keep your kids in the same school district or missing a child’s holiday concert or ball game because of a business trip, you WILL make sacrifices.
You are going to make mistakes. You will make decisions that in hindsight you may not think were the wisest. You may look back and think that a decision you made effected your child negatively, but that is you being too hard on yourself. You will make mistakes – every parent does. But remember, the mistakes don’t define you, how you handle them does. Your character, and those of your children, will be forged from your hardest moments. Embrace them and learn from them.
You are going to feel guilty. Guilt is a frequent emotion for a working mother. We are hardwired to feel guilty when we think we are not giving 100% to every aspect of our lives – our jobs, our spouses and our children. Please learn to manage the guilt and forgive yourself. Guilt produces anxiety, impacts your health and keeps you from being present in your own life.
You are not ever going to “have it all”. But guess what – no one has it all. And if you think someone has it all, they are working very hard to convince you of that. The point of life isn’t to have everything all at once, but to be content with what you do have, and know that it is enough.
You are going to be okay. And so are your kids. Focus on being present in their lives. Focus on your marriage. Teach your children how to cope and how to be good people and they will be fine. Your reward will be happy, healthy, well-adjusted adult children who will appreciate the life you gave them.