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What Happy Working Mothers Know – Guilt

It’s no secret. When mom’s happy, the family’s happy. Yet “women admit they don’t invest enough time in doing the things that make them happy,” authors Cathy Greenberg and Barrett Avigdor explain. “They’re too busy taking care of everyone else at home and at work.” And if they make time for what they want to do, most women only end up feeling guilty.

What Happy Working Mothers Know maintains that “Guilt is the enemy of happiness, and working mothers have their share of guilt. At work, mom feels guilty she’s not spending time with her family. At home, the guilt centers on not being at work. Guilt undermines and stymies true happiness for many working mothers.” This is why Greenberg and Avigdor argue that until working mothers accept that their happiness is important to their family and that doing satisfying work is an important component of their happiness they will never get rid of guilt.


“The happiest working moms we met in our research were those who were joyously, unapologetically imperfect,” Greenberg and Avigdor explain. So discard those Supermom ideals once and for all. According to What Happy Working Mothers Know, it’s unproductive to keep perpetuating guilt by believing that just because you are dividing time between work and family you are somehow cheating both.

While I realize this might seem easier said than done, Greenberg and Avigdor insist that happiness prevails when you excel at the things that matter most to you and accept that good enough is good enough for everything. This is why having a good understanding of your priorities is crucial to your emotional success as well as the ability to remember that priorities “change as you grow and change.”

When your time is not aligned with your values, Greenberg and Avigdor believe, you feel as if you’re stretched too thin between work and home. As a result, you feel resentment towards others – perhaps your partner, your boss, or your children. Ultimately, “your stress and your fatigue can simmer into an overwhelming silent anger that interferes with your happiness.”

But as author Renee Trudeau of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal insists, everything that’s happening in your life is the result of a choice you made. Therefore, Trudeau explains, “you need to be mindful about committing to activities that are not on your Top Life Priorities list.” Whose fault is it really that you are wasting energy on lengthy phone calls, Internet surfing, or television shows?

“Your life is a marathon, not a sprint,” reminds What Happy Working Mothers Know. “To win, we must learn to pace ourselves.” Until you “give yourself permission to choose the track and the timing that suits you,” you won’t be happy. So stop feeling guilty for making yourself as important as your children, your partner, and your work because until you’re happy, no one else will be either.


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Read my other blog Befriending Forty at http://befriendingforty.blogspot.comand find out what happened when the person I thought I’d be met the person I actually became.

Victoria Winterhalter is a mother, teacher, reader, and writer on the education and environment beats for RFM. She has been with RFM since its founding in 2009 and has contributed photos and written numerous articles on education, parenting, and family travel.

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