being a mom

Working Mom Guilt Stems From Childhood, Say Researchers

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Working mom guilt can be a serious problem for many moms. It’s stressful to not always be readily available to our children. Juggling a paid job of any sort on top of being a mom 24-7 is exhausting, and means we’re not always ready to jump into playing dress-up with our little ones. We also deal with the inevitable judgement from others who believe we should just stay at home and give our children our undivided attention. It’s all BS and bad for us, but fortunately researchers now say that working mom guilt actually stems from childhood. So guess what, moms? It’s actually NOT our fault.

Where Does Working Mom Guilt Come From?

According to researchers at London’s Queen Mary University, working mom guilt is directly related to whether we had working mothers ourselves or not. The researchers conducted a study using 78 female and male employees from various legal and accounting firms. The subjects were asked about their family dynamics while they grew up. The results revealed that female interviewees who has stay-at-home moms and working fathers wished to, “work like their fathers but want to parent like their mothers.” This essentially is what causes these women to experience guilt at not being able to give their children the same care a SAHM would (because no one is Wonder Woman except Wonder Woman).

Women who had working moms also experienced some guilt, but theirs was for a different reason. Their memories of not always having their mothers readily available made them feel guilty for more or less continuing the cycle. Of course, it seems to me that one of the biggest issues is that we feel any guilt especially when we have a two-parent household where our kids could just as easily be cared for by their other parent. Why the emphasis on mom being around all the time? Why not dad?

There was one exception, though: women who had SAHMs who also pushed them toward making their career dreams come true. These participants didn’t seem to experience the same level of guilt.

“I do remember my mother always regretting she didn’t have a job outside the home and that was something that influenced me and all my sisters,” one participant shared.

So there you have it, mamas. It’s not our fault we feel guilty, and honestly, we shouldn’t feel guilty so long as our kids are being raised by loving parents and getting their needs met. And if we want to break the cycle, we should also make sure to push our own daughters to make their career aspirations a reality. Good to know.

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