Working Mums’ Guilt

It’s 6:30am on a Sunday morning, there is complete silence. This is rare in a home that houses a family of six. I love these moments…..they’re my moments. And as I sit at my dinning table, sipping my first cup of coffee of the day from my favourite mug which reads – Magnificent Mum- I decide to pause, reflect and embrace the steps I’ve taken and the choices I made in the past few weeks.

So we are back at school and the first few weeks have been full on, so many changes and routines to contend with. Getting to grip with the changes has been challenging to say the least, it required a level of flexibility and adaptability that I have become accustomed to. I am so proud of my students, they’re so resilient and are adjusting to the new ways of doing things without much fuss.

As for me, I’ve had the added challenge of finding my feet in my role as the newest member of SLT (Senior Leadership Team). What an interesting year to start this journey but I believe in divine decree so I’ve learnt to be open to life, to roll with the punches and as Hannah Wilson puts it ‘get shit done’. And although I thrive in getting shit done and take pride in doing it well, I have come up against an old friend this week, this is a feeling that every so often rears its ugly head.

Yes…you guessed it …that working mums’ guilt.

My struggle with working mums’ guilt feels particularly hard at the moment. I believe this is because I’ve spent every single moment of the past six months with my babies. There is a greater and deeper sense of connection within my nuclear family. And I am truly grateful for this!

The slower pace has enabled my husband and I to enjoy our children and witness their growth and development in a way that is reminiscent of their early childhood years. So it is understandable that going back to ‘normal’ has left me with a sense that I am missing out.

Don’t get me wrong, my children are happy to be back at school and in many ways it’s nice to have a routine and that our lives have returned to some semblance of normality. This involves going back to extracurricular activities for my children and professional development courses for me. And one of the exercises I completed on a leadership course this weekend was to write a letter to myself expressing and showing self kindness and self compassion (Thank you Angie Browne). I chose to address my working mum’s guilt. I shed tears writing this letter because it allowed me to let go of my guilt. It allowed me to let go of our societal and cultural expectations of mothers which result in many of us holding ourselves to unrealistic standards. I share this because too many of us find it easy to be kind and compassionate to others but struggle to practise self compassion and kindness. I share this letter in the hope that you might benefit from it and encourage you to practise self kindness and self compassion.

Dear Baar

You are an amazing mother. I know how hard you work to raise your children to be whole, to feel loved and supported by you and their dad. I also know how much you do for so many young people, the ones you call ‘my adopted children’.

I need you to know and acknowledge that you are doing an amazing job, your children are flourishing and doing well at school…..Alhamdulillah (Thank GOD). They have a father and a mother who would go to the end of the earth to protect them and be there for them. Your children know how much you love them, they show it to you with every hug they give you, everytime they say ‘I love you hooyo’ and the sense of pride they display when you succeed.

So please be kind to yourself and tell that working mothers’ guilt to do one. There is absolutely no need to feel guilty, give yourself permission to be you, give yourself permission to continue enjoying what you do because that is what they’ll remember and that is what will spark their pursuit of their passion.

Bottom line – You are a great mum!

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