Managing Working Mom Guilt in The Summer

Mom and kids making crazy faces on a summer day

A song from the Broadway hit Porgy and Bess begins with these words, "[s]ummertime and the livin' is easy..." I think that sentiment reflects an ideal as opposed to a reality, especially for working moms this year.

We can all agree that last year was crazy! COVID19 chaos caused our kids to learn in front of computer screens, us to work and educate our kids simultaneously, and many extra-curricular activities for children were cancelled or conducted virtually. For that reason, many kids suffered claustrophobia and major cabin fever. Now, summer is here and they are ready to get outside. However, if you're reading this, you are a working mom and have work to do. So, you may be wasting time feeling a little guilty about missing out on memories with your kiddos.

Here's one piece of advice, ain't nobody got time for that!

Here are four tips to manage your working mom guilt this summer.

Instead of wasting time feeling guilty, use that energy to provide your kids with great summer memories--even if those memories are without you. 

First Tip (Solicit Help): Here's what I have learned. While my kids love me and enjoy the time we spend together, my kids enjoy having a good time with nearly anybody who shows up to play with them. With my first child, I would feel guilty about not being the one to provide all of the fun. Now that I have three kids, I welcome any and all help. Some of the help is free from family who love my kids too. The other help I pay for. I recognize that paying for help is a bit of a luxury. However, you'd be surprised at how far a small amount of money might go in hiring a teenager to entertain your kids. 

Second Tip (Engage Your Kids in Household Tasks): The truth about being a working mom is that we have two full-time jobs--our jobs and our homes. So, while it's fine in theory to say, "play with your kids when you get off work." The truth is that someone (and it's probably you) needs to buy the groceries, cook the groceries and clean the dishes just to name a few tasks. So, if you figure out how to incorporate your kids in those things, you can spend time with them and teach them some things.

Kids Running in the Summertime

Third Tip (Plan Ahead): I encourage you to plan your meals and do the lion share of your cooking on Sunday. I tend to grill a lot of meat on Sundays so we can eat off of it during the week. That frees up my time after work and results in me being less tired, less cranky, and more available to engage with my kids after work. As it relates to planning ahead, I encourage you to stuff all of your laundry and major cleaning into M-Th. It's a lot. However, if you're already in work mode, it's easier to handle. That way, your Friday nights and Saturdays can be free to engage with your kids.

Fourth Tip (Savor Your Weekends): I think you'll be better off and less guilty if you reserve your weekends for playing and relaxing. Now that things are opening up again, explore your city with your kids. Register at your local pool if you don't have a private one to access, visit local beaches, and spend time playing outside eating Popsicles, chasing fireflies and making s'mores. This quality time will more than make up for what you've missed. And, you and your kids will be grateful for the memories you make!

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