Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Working Mom Wednesday: Self-Doubt
"Time for myself" and "time with my spouse" were the top picks (and maybe I'll write about those soon), but close behind were "guilt/self-doubt" and "pressure/criticism."
With around 70 percent of moms with young kids working outside the home (including 50-something percent of moms with babies under one year) it is shocking that the "mommy wars" still rage. We're all trying to do the best we can, but emotions can still run high as we're all wondering "is my best good enough?" or "am I really doing the right thing?"
Some of those feelings come from within (guilt/self-doubt) and some from outside (pressure/criticism) but I think those are really quite intertwined. I feel pretty confident that my career is overall a good thing for me and my family. But if someone criticizes that choice, I am likely to not only feel defensive, but start to doubt myself and the choices I've made. The cycle can work the other way too, when moms who doubt their own choices justify themselves by criticizing others.
A big question for moms dealing with guilt of self-doubt might be, "Where is this feeling originating?" Does it come from the disapproval of family members, acquaintances, or even strangers? Does it come from reasonable concerns like the cost of child care outweighing your income or a child that needs more personal attention than a day care can provide? Does it come from discontentment with your job and a real preference for or longing to be a stay-at-home mom? Does it come from a religious or cultural belief that mothers should be homemakers? Does it come from insecurity or envy?
I'm certainly not qualified to say which of these reasons is valid or not, but simply asking the questions may shed light on those feelings and open the door for some important discussions between you and your spouse.
PS: If you are new to The Parsonage Family, here are quick links to a few older "working motherhood" posts you might find most useful...
concerns about going back to work
benefits of day care
making time for yourself and your spouse
letting the housework go