Stop Guilt Trips for Working Moms

Stop guilt trips for working moms! If you’re a mom returning to work after a baby, chances are that you’re feeling lots of guilt. This blog post will cover the most common guilt trips working moms experience and how to reframe your mindset and feel more confident in what you’re doing.

(This blog post was originally a video. Check it out, below!)

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Stop Guilt Trips for Working Moms: Not Focused Enough on Baby, Partner, or Family

First, this is a common guilt trip for all moms: “I’m not focused enough on my baby, my partner, myself, etc.” 

You only have so much focus to give! We all only have so much brain space and parenthood/ motherhood is a huge adjustment for everyone in your life. Your life is not going to look the same as it used to. 

Often, mothers fall into that trap of just giving everything to the baby. You are in charge of this new little life and it can seem like you have to keep giving more and more. Guaranteed you’re giving enough to your baby!  

So, here’s a couple ideas for how to kind of get through this. 

Talk to Your Partner

Have a conversation with your partner. Whether you have a partner with you, you’re living with your mother, friend, grandmother, etc. you can set up some expectations. Be honest about the stress and overwhelm you might be feeling. Ask for help!

If your partner is asking for more and you don’t have any more to give, you’ve got to talk about it. Say something like “I don’t have as much time as I used to. This is all new and we just need to adjust our expectations right now. 

Your relationship with your partner is important, it’s just it’s going to be different. Adjust each other’s expectations on how much time you actually have now.

Prioritize Daily Tasks

Prioritize your daily tasks by things you can do when the baby is awake vs things you can do when the baby is asleep.

If the baby is napping, do whatever you want! 

  • Take a nap
  • Do household chores 
  • Spend time with your partner 
  • Get started on work tasks
  • Whatever you need to!

Remember, the baby doesn’t need you every second of every day. They don’t need your constant thought. Worrying and stressing about your baby isn’t doing you or them any good. If they’re doing their own thing sitting on the floor or doing tummy time and they’re happy, you don’t have to be totally engaged. 

Find a new way to adjust expectations. Utilize the support you have. Things will fall into place and you’ll find that you get your focus back.

working moms program

Stop This Guilt Trip: Always Late

The second guilt trip for working moms is why am I always late?

Previously, you may have been a punctual person. Jumping into motherhood with a baby can be a bit of a shock at how long it actually takes you to do anything. Getting out the door is a huge challenge. Arriving home from work is also a huge challenge.

Lateness has a ripple effect. If you’re late to work, you’re late getting home, then you’re late going to bed. And if you’re late to run errands, you’re late to a thing with friends, yikes! 

Unfortunately, this is normal. You might think, “okay, I have a baby. I’m gonna plan for an extra 15 minutes and make sure to feed the baby right before I leave.” 

That’s a joke! Everything takes at least four times longer than it should with a baby. You’re probably going to feel like you’re always behind, always late. 

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How to Manage Lateness

Here are some ideas to help:

  • Try to wake up earlier. (We get it, this feels like a joke since you’re exhausted!) But if you cannot be late to work you’re gonna have to wake up earlier. 
  • Another option: multitask. While you’re getting ready, doing your makeup or hair, etc. pump! Your commute might also be a great time to pump.
  • Try and find ways to maximize your time. Wash bottles the night before so that that’s all ready to go for the morning. Or, even better, have your partner wash all the bottles and assemble them the night before so that you can just throw everything in your bag and hit the ground running. 
  • Embrace new priorities. Mental health is really important. You can’t care for your baby, you can’t do your job appropriately, you can’t function in life if your mental health is struggling. If embracing a new normal is what it takes to wrap your head around it, do that!!
  • Last, ask for help! You don’t have to do this alone! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.

Stop Guilt Trips for Working Moms: Losing Your Cool

The third guilt trip working moms put themselves through is feeling bad about losing your cool.

Maybe you find yourself having more emotional breakdowns. This can be super normal. Every mother goes through this new range of emotions, a new amount of stress with the responsibilities in their life. 

Postpartum Depression/Anxiety

If it’s happening often and it’s affecting your life, this is the point where you should ask for help. This isn’t the point where you do the guilt trip thing and say “I’m a terrible mother. I can’t even keep my emotions in check. I used to be able to do that and now I can’t even make it to work.” 

Thoughts like this might indicate some postpartum depression/anxiety. There are things to help you like medication or counseling. Your doctor should have a good idea on how to help you manage. 

Some of these are normal. If you’re just feeling a little more on edge than you used to that’s probably due to the hormonal changes you experience postpartum. No guilt around this, please! Your body will readjust and things will get better. 

Again, if emotional breakdowns are happening often and affecting your life, get some help. There’s no guilt around that either! 

You’re Not Alone

Realize that you are juggling a lot of new things, a lot of new responsibilities. You’re not only responsible for yourself and for your job but also a tiny human life that relies solely on you. It’s a lot! You’re bound to have moments, to have days where you call out from work because you just can’t anymore. Take a day of rest. Ask for help. You’re not alone! 

If you don’t believe this, go listen to the New Little Life podcast. There are moms on there every week talking about the real parts of motherhood. They share the stuff that doesn’t go right and then tips on how to handle it. The whole point of the podcast is to help you not feel alone, to help you find some tips to make it work and to know your resources.

Stop This Guilt Trip: Leaving Behind Old Schedules/Routines

The fourth guilt trip we don’t need is worrying about abandoned schedules and routines. 

“I remember as a first-time mom, I planned out what my mornings would look like, who’s doing the diaper changes, how to juggle feedings during outings, when I was going to fit in my household chores, what my back to work schedule would look like. At every point in motherhood, I came up with a new routine and I would feel like I wasn’t doing everything I needed to do. It almost never worked.”

Allison Tolman, IBCLC and founder of New Little Life

Babies are unpredictable and it’s really easy to underestimate the amount of physical, emotional and mental work it takes to be a parent! The exhaustion level really plays into routines and schedules. 

Embrace Your New Normal

Instead of feeling guilty that you don’t have a good routine, maybe for the whole first year of your baby’s life, embrace this as normal.

“The best piece of advice somebody gave me early on was this won’t last forever. I really tried to keep that perspective, especially on days when I was exhausted, sleep deprived, touched out. When I couldn’t remember the last time I had showered or the house was a disaster and I just felt like a huge failure, I tried to remember that it wouldn’t last forever. My youngest is almost two now, and I can actually tell you, it doesn’t last forever. All of these phases which were so overwhelming, which I felt like would never end, did end eventually. One phase would end and it was a little bit easier than the one before, and then the next phase was a little easier, and so on.  I definitely didn’t bounce back to my like a good schedule or routine for a while. Not by six weeks which is what I was hoping for. In fact, it was more like not even quite by six months or twelve months. It was way slower than I thought, but it didn’t last forever!”

Allison Tolman, IBCLC and founder of New Little Life

Stop Guilt Trips for Working Moms: Being Too Hard on Yourself

Last, an unnecessary guilt trip working moms put on themselves is being too hard on yourself. Give yourself some grace! Motherhood is hard! Parenthood is hard. Life adjustments are hard. Feeding your baby is hard. All of it. 

There’s also a lot of joy that can come with having babies and children and entering into this new phase of your life. But, this does not mean that you have to enjoy every second of it. So, if you’re not loving this new life that you’ve created, that’s okay! You don’t have to love the hard stuff. But, one day you might look back and have fond memories of the things that seem hard right now.

Try not to be too hard on yourself and give yourself a guilt trip when things don’t go right. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stuff you’re struggling with right in the moment. Don’t let it define who you are as a mother, as a parent. Give yourself some grace. If somebody that you know is telling you that you’re doing a good job, try and believe them. 

Our Community Can Help!

The Pumping for Working Moms community helps working moms be less hard on themselves. Our community helps working moms realize that this journey is hard for everyone. There are lots of moms in similar circumstances to you! And with the guidance of IBCLC Allison, you can feel supported to be able to meet your goals while still having realistic expectations. 

You’re Doing a Great Job!

If you’re here reading this blog post, it’s almost guaranteed that you are doing great but that you are feeling some guilt. Maybe you’re a little bit of a perfectionist. Here’s a suggestion: go on your social media and unfollow accounts of friends, family, or influencers that don’t make you feel good. If following someone makes you feel bad about what you’re doing or brings in negative feelings like you’re not doing enough, just mute them for a while. Focus on what you’re doing and get help when you need it. 

If you’re a working mom trying to juggle breastfeeding and pumping, New Little Life is here to support you. The Pumping for Working Moms Program not only to teaches you the logistics and the mechanical things about feeding your baby, but it also covers how to juggle work alongside that. It will also give you the confidence that you can do this! We can’t come over there and do the work for you, but we can help you find the confidence that you can do this yourself. 

You are a good parent. The depths of motherhood with babies can be overwhelming, so please come and talk to Allison if you’re a working mom and you want support through this process.

Stop Guilt Trips for Working Moms