Parental Guilt

Working parents are often left feeling guilty for something, be it that they are not good enough at home, work, as a partner or being a perfect son or daughter to an aging relative. Of course there are some that don’t feel guilty about anything at all but for those who do there are things you can do to ease it.

Why Feel Guilty?

There are a number of reasons working parents feel guilty and often when you manage to remove one of them, another creeps into your brain and replaces it in an instant. It is always there at the back of your mind affecting your happiness and wellbeing.

  • Feeling like you don’t manage to give 100% at work as you have family worries on your mind and conversely not giving 100% to your family as you bring work issues home with you.
  • Problems between a working and non-working partner, they spend more time with the children and may struggle without you being there to help.
  • Bringing work home and not switching off so the quality of your home life is poor.
  • Taking time off for your children causing guilt about missing work and leaving colleagues to cover your workload.
  • Childcare problems and feeling guilty that your child should have one-to-one care at home with you. Are you damaging their development by working?

Top Tips to Ease the Guilt

Making an effort to remind yourself that you are working for a reason and trying to banish those guilty thoughts can be difficult but practise makes perfect. Tell yourself daily that you are doing the best you can and follow some of these tips for a happier you.

  • Accept that you can’t do it all. Taking on too much is a modern parent trap so make sure your ‘to do’ list is realistic and manageable. Don’t set yourself up to fail.
  • Don’t be afraid to let others help when it’s offered. It doesn’t mean you are failing at work or as a parent. See it as giving others the chance to feel useful.
  • Pat yourself on the back! It pays to remember that you are doing a lot and doing it well. Holding down a career and managing a household is tough and often thankless so thank yourself from time to time with an hour off or a treat.
  • Ignore the boasters who shout about how wonderful they are and how much they are doing. Focus on your life and the happiness of your family and stay out of the competition. Keeping up with the Joneses is tiresome and doesn’t benefit you at all.
  • Choose your childcare well and then relax, you did the research and made the best decision for your children so trust that. Nurseries and child-minders are good at what they do, the benefits to your child’s social and mental development are wonderful.
  • Agree with your boss about time off for family emergencies so that when they arise you have a plan in place and have nothing to feel guilty about.

Working parents can have the best of both worlds. Blessed with a family and a career, it is easy to focus on the negative aspects so make a conscious effort to stop and focus only on the positives. Be proud of what you achieve on a daily basis and banish that guilt forever.


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