Working moms: stop feeling guilty


In a study conducted by Harvard Business School graduates in the US, it was found that women whose moms worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time.

So where do you find the time between being a mom and having a career, never mind running your own business?

44-year-old, Carey Mol is a mom, wife and director of Commander HQ, a sports gear and clothing e-commerce store. When she's not driving to or from school, cooking, shopping or attending school sports she's working. "It's what makes me feel alive," admits Carey. "If I didn't work, I think I would go mad."

There are so many reasons why mothers work. For most of us it isn't a choice, we need to contribute to paying the bills; not many families can survive on one person's salary.

For some having one parent stay home to take care of the kids is the only option and so for those who can choose between working and staying home is considered a luxury. Whatever your situation, it's important not to judge.

So for the moms who work and look after the kids, what is the ideal balance? How can you have it all and not feel guilty? Carey shares some of the lessons she's learnt about juggling the two.

1. Identify your priorities.

I usually choose me, my family and then work. If I'm not happy then how can I make my family happy and without a happy family, work will seem like a very sad and lonely place.

2. Stop chasing money.

If you realise you'll never have enough then what you have will always be good enough. Even all the money in the world won't buy back lost time. Decide on what is enough to cover your financial obligations including savings, so you can still have time and energy in your day to focus on you and your family and stop there. As time goes on you can adjust your financial goals according to your family's needs.

3. Exercise every day.

My daily routine consists of getting the kids ready, taking them to school, power walking 10km to the beach and back, or swimming up to 100 lengths in the gym pool then working as much as possible before driving back to school to fetch the kids, making dinner and possibly working some more. Exercise keeps me feeling energised and motivated to wake up and do it all over again.

4. It takes a village to raise a child.

Don't be shy to ask for help. Once you're a mom, you are automatically given access to a wonderful community of women who just get it. Sometimes working moms need to go to a meeting or send out a report and can't be in two places at once. It's very rare for another mom to say no to you if you need help fetching or taking.

5. Find a way to beat the guilt.

With all the finger pointing going on, it's hard not to feel guilty about missing class parties during the week or a rugby match on a Friday afternoon. Take it easy on yourself, you can't get to them all. As much as you try to put yourself first, family second and work last, sometimes the order shifts around, after all bills must be paid. Make up for it on the weekends by doing what your kids love or if the problem persists seek the help of a therapist to discuss your feelings.

6. Decide on a daily mantra.

Mine is to think positively. I like the saying “What would you try if you couldn't fail.

7. Be an example to your children.

I feel it's important to show my kids that nothing comes easily. One needs to work for it in some way and to appreciate the fruits of your labour.

We have come a long way in the last 60 years in South Africa. It's wonderful that women can choose to work and aren't only expected to stay home caring for children. We all have huge responsibilities raising children and we need to be the best possible version of ourselves. "Launching an e-commerce store that sells sports clothing and gear is a dream come true for me, as I know working is what keeps me motivated and level headed. Being a mother is a very important job, however being an informed, balanced and happy mom is worth much more," concludes Carey.

Are you a working mom? Why or why not? Are you ever judged for being what you are? Share your thoughts and experience with us by emailing and we may publish your story. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please let us know.

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