I’m a momma to a sweet and spunky 9 month old boy
I work full time as an Individual & Group Psychotherapist at a Private Practice.
BIGGEST CHALLENGES AS A WORKING MOM:
I think the biggest challenge I face (and I know I’m not alone!) is recognizing and accepting my own vulnerabilities. Reaching out to my family, friends, and other new parents for support has been helpful. I try to be compassionate with myself when I feel I am falling short of my own expectations. I also try to be more open with others when I know I need some help to juggle multiple demands. We often think that we can’t tell other people when we ourselves are struggling. Sometimes we tell ourselves, “What’s wrong with you?” Or, “They will judge if they know…” fill in the blank. The reality is that people are just doing the best they can, and trying to be the best parent they can be while juggling responsibilities, paying bills, and raising families.
TIME SAVING TIP FOR WORKING MOMS:
One of the things I love doing but haven’t had nearly as much time to do since becoming a new mother is creating interesting recipes for my family. Before I had my son, and had endless free time, I would spend many hours planning and creating elaborate meals with my husband. I enjoy walking at my own leisure through the grocery store aisles to find rare and unique ingredients to create interesting and tasty meals. While I don’t have nearly as much leisure time to do this, I still prioritize making healthy and tasty meals for my family. My best time-saving tip is to use a few kitchen appliances for efficiency: such as the Beaba Cooker Baby Cook appliance to steam and puree baby food for my son during his naps. I use the Instant Pot to automate cooking for my husband and I, while doing the bedtime routine with my son. I also indulge in grocery delivery or pickups to be more efficient with my time. Since becoming a working mom, I’ve prioritized time saving methods that may cost a bit extra but allow me to spend more of that time with my family. Another food prep tip: some grocery stores marinate, season, and grill your meat at no cost while you shop.
How do you deal with the working mom guilt?
Unfortunately it seems in our society, parenting can become a shame and judgement minefield. I think there are many reasons for this, but ultimately most of us are doing the best we can all while wading through uncertainty and self-doubt when it comes to raising our children. Guilt is not a useful feeling, and so I try to not give it much attention. Instead, I notice the feeling and remind myself that I am doing the best I can in this moment. When uncertainty and self-doubt come in, I also try to remember to trust my instincts.
CAN YOU HAVE IT ALL?
I am by no means a perfect parent, and I would argue that trying to be a “perfect parent” is buying into the same myth that we can “have it all.” I’m an engaged parent, certainly imperfect. I am also a passionate clinician, a compassionate friend, and a loving wife. I am many, many things, but perfect is not one of them. I wouldn’t even want to model “having it all” or some kind of “perfection” for my son. I want him to see my struggles, set backs, and accomplishments in a real way. I think it can be very powerful to tell our children stories of our own experiences. When did we feel alone or inadequate? When did we try our best to meet a goal and things did not go our way, and how did that make us feel? I do believe in the idea that our children can learn accountability and respect by watching their parents make mistakes, make amends, and then watch how I ask for what I want and talk about how I feel. This can become a model from which they too can learn. If I just try to be perfect, or shield my child from all of life’s negative experiences, it becomes a missed opportunity for my child to learn how to manage their feelings as they grow into an independent adult of their own. Like many parents, I feel that becoming a new mother is by far my boldest and most daring adventure. But, like many things that are hard and require us to give our full-hearts, it is also the most rewarding.