Working at Home: Mommy Guilt

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Don't lose the battle to mommy guilt when you're working from home! This blog post offers tips on keeping the proper perspective so you can maintain balance.

It’s no secret that one of the things that appeals to many medical transcription students is the fact that the job can be legitimately done from home, so moms (and dads) can stay with little ones and minimize the daycare bill as a working expense.  The reality of working with small children around is often a bit different than what was imagined, however.  Babies and toddlers don’t respect turnaround times or expiration dates, school-age kids from kindergarten through high school hit the house in the afternoon demanding all the attention they can get, and during summer vacation it’s even more challenging.

We all love our kids—that’s a given.  Of course we want to spend time with them because they’re the most wonderful thing that ever happened to us, and they’re just so darn cute!  When you have a deadline to meet, however, and you put on a video to entertain them for an hour so you can finish your work, you may feel a little guilty, right? It’s okay to admit it—we all feel this way sometimes! 

Aside from loving our children to pieces, we, as today’s parents, often also feel a lot of pressure to interact with and entertain our kids all the time.  We get a lot of parenting messages hinting that each moment must be filled with organized activity or quality interaction and that, as good parents, we must always be available to our children, no matter what.  You might get the feeling that irreparable damage is sure unless you are there to coach and guide every move and word, and it can make you really anxious. It’s also easy to feel like we’re not doing as good of a job as our parents did, certainly not our grandparents, and the further back in time we go the rosier the picture gets.  In today’s world there’s just no way we’re spending as much time with our kids as past generations did, right?

Well, maybe we are. Margaret Usdansky, assistant professor of sociology at Syracuse University, who co-authored a study about depression in stay-at-home and working moms says this:

“Parents now are spending a lot more time interacting with their kids than 1970s parents did. In fact, research shows that today’s working mothers are spending as much time with their children as the last generation’s stay-at-home mothers did.”  The article goes on to observe that “while there may have been room in the schedule for Tupperware parties and Days of Our Lives back then, modern stay-at-home mothers spend plenty of time reading to their children, helping with homework, and exposing them to music classes, sports, language lessons and more.”

Aha!  So that’s why we’re so tired! I know I’ve always done my best, and at some point I get weary of being told my best is not good enough, so I was very happy to read this—and it rang true to me.  Now, let’s extrapolate just for a second.  If the last generation of stay-at-home moms spent only as much time with their kids as we do now and those kids grew up fine and that time is remembered fondly as an ideal time for a kid to grow up, then perhaps we’re worrying a bit too much, eh? Maybe the way to make sure the paycheck isn’t compromised by the time you spend with your kids and your kids aren’t compromised by the time you spend working is to just relax about it!  Perhaps the good old days have been bit idealized, and we tend to be really hard on ourselves in the here and now. A wise forum member and graduate of the MT program said it perfectly:

“My great grandma washed clothes by hand, plucked chickens for dinner, probably brought in wood for the kitchen stove, tended a garden, canned food for the winter, sewed for her family ... She was home for her kids, no question, but did she feel the need to always be doing something with them or for them?  Nope. She couldn’t. That was life. She helped them and loved them and did the best she could, but she wasn’t Wonder Woman and neither am I. I don’t pluck the chickens or wash laundry by hand; that’s why I work. I have to have $$ to go down to the store and buy my laundry detergent and already plucked (and sometimes even de-skinned and de-boned) chicken. My grandparents turned out to be hard working people who raised good families, were good citizens, and did their best, too, so I would consider great grandma a successful mom. There is no doubt that you are doing the best you can for your [children], and as they grow they will see that and know that you love them. Really, what more could they ask for in a mom?”

What more, indeed?

For more information go to: http://glo.msn.com/relationships/must-be-nice-1534535.story#!stackState=0__%2Frelationships%2Fmust-be-nice-1534535.story%3FpageId%3D3

And check out this interesting blog called “Working Moms Against Guilt” at www.workingmomsagainstguilt.com


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