Updated: Sep 12, 2021
Regardless of your type of job, why you work, whether working from home or in an office; chances are holding a job as a mother brings a set of challenges unique to working moms. There are some common struggles mothers may feel as they walk the tight-rope of professional life and mom life. Here, let’s take some space to acknowledge and respond to those challenges.
Feelings of Guilt
Guilt can come from so many different areas. It could be that you aren’t able to focus as much on work, or your children’s needs pull your attention or you away from work in one way or another. No one is always able to give it 100%. On another side, work demands and stress can take away your ability to be as present as you’d like to be with your children and/or partner.
One way to respond to guilt is to identify it. What is making you feel guilty? Are those thoughts true? What else might be true? Develop and practice affirmations about what you do well and about the limitations that exist which are beyond your control. What can you change? What can you do with those things you cannot change? Where can you loosen your hold on things that are making you feel guilty?
Another technique can involve the voices of others: Who are the people in your life that can help provide validation when you struggle to find it within yourself? Call on these people and let them know what you are needing from them. Supportive people can help us see how we are doing better than we think we are.
If guilt seems unshakeable, and you are ridden with thoughts about how worthless you feel, you may be dealing with depression, and professional help is useful and often needed in that instance.
Physical and Mental Exhaustion
You work all day, you come home to the needs of your children, house, spouse or partner. Life is hectic. If you are in your first year postpartum, your body is still going through a lot of physical changes as well.
It is important to find something, even a small thing, that feels nurturing for you. This can include taking five minutes alone while you breathe, engaging in the activities you enjoy at home, laughing, talking to a friend, reading a book, taking a walk, going outside, hiking.
If there is time for sleep, sleep! Can you leave a chore until another time? Can someone else help out in some additional ways that will allow for a little extra shut-eye?
Identify one simple, accessible thing you can do each week, working up to implementing at least one thing every day that allows you to nurture yourself and make room for joy.
Not being good enough
Work and family can present conflicting demands that can leave us feeling like we aren’t meeting either set of demands well. We compare ourselves to our pre-child self; to colleagues without children; or to those so-called “super-moms” who seem to do everything perfectly.
If you find yourself in this frame of mind, it can be helpful to connect with people you trust and let them know about this story you are telling yourself. You will find that those who are also comfortable being vulnerable have felt the same way.
Ask yourself: How realistic are your expectations, given the hours in the day, the things that must be done, and your own capability? Allow yourself the space to make adjustments (away from comparisons on social media). When we can redirect and replace our unkind self-talk and unrealistic expectations, we are happier and much more at peace.
Sometimes you just feel like you are failing in every aspect of life, especially when demands and stress are high. You don’t like to admit it to people around you, or fear they will also see you as the failure you believe yourself to be. Isolation in these feelings only tends to exacerbate them. Depression can also cause any and all of the above experiences, especially if your mood is also low; please reach out to a professional who can help. You don’t have to go through your struggles alone, and there is help, hope and joy to be found even when life seems too overwhelming to handle.
How We Can Help
We are currently enrolling for our postpartum support group and Women's Support Group.
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If you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:
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Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Here at Catalyss Counseling, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Alicia Kwande is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and blogger. Alicia helps adults (especially mothers and caregivers) who give all they have to others, leaving themselves with next to nothing. Alicia assists adults in managing their anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.