Working Mom Guilt & How to Move Past It


If you’re reading this, chances are you’re juggling a career, kids, and about a million and twelve other things. And let’s be real, that’s no small feat. But along with the packed lunches and PowerPoint presentations comes something many of us know all too well—working mom guilt.

Yep, that nagging feeling that you’re not doing enough at work or at home, and it’s eating at you.

You’re not alone. Working mom guilt is a widespread issue, affecting countless mothers who are trying to balance their professional and personal lives. It’s like being caught between a rock and a hard place, except the rock is your job, and the hard place is, well, another job—motherhood.

So, why is this guilt so common? It’s often fueled by societal expectations, self-imposed pressures, and sometimes, the unrealistic idea of being a “perfect” mom.

But here’s the good news: it’s possible to navigate through this emotional minefield and come out on the other side, guilt-free and thriving.

Stick around as we dive deep into what working mom guilt is, its impact, and most importantly, how to kick it to the curb. Trust us; you won’t want to miss this.

Note: I include links in my posts to useful resources about the topic. However, these are not affiliate links.

What is Working Mom Guilt?

Mom guilt, in general, is rooted in the psychological concept of cognitive dissonance. That’s a fancy term for the mental discomfort you feel when you have conflicting beliefs or attitudes.

In the case of working mom guilt, this dissonance often arises from the clash between societal expectations of a “good mom” and the realities of being a working professional.

Your brain is like, “Wait, I should be doing this, but I’m also doing that, and oh my gosh, what is happening?!”

Cue the guilt.

Why Working Moms Feel Guilty

So, why do working moms, in particular, feel this guilt? There are a few culprits:

  • Societal Expectations: Society often paints a picture of the “ideal mom” as someone who is always there for her kids. But when you’re balancing a career, being “always there” becomes a tall order.
  • Self-Imposed Pressures: Sometimes, we are our own worst critics. The desire to excel at work and home can lead to self-imposed standards that are nearly impossible to meet.
  • Comparison: Ah, the comparison game. Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to compare yourself to other moms who seem to “have it all.”
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Whether it’s missing your child’s first steps or not being there for a school event, the fear of missing out on key moments can fuel guilt.
  • Workplace Stigma: Unfortunately, some workplaces still stigmatize working moms, making it even harder to shake off the guilt.

Recognize any of these in your life? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. And the best part? This guilt can be managed, reduced, and even eliminated.

Impact of Working Mom Guilt

Alright, so we’ve established that working mom guilt is a thing—a big, annoying, soul-sucking thing.

But let’s talk about its impact, shall we? Because, spoiler alert, it’s not just an emotional paper cut; it’s more like a deep wound that can affect various aspects of your life.

On Mental Health

First up, let’s talk about the noggin. Working mom guilt can take a toll on your mental health like nobody’s business.

Anxiety, stress, and even depression can creep in as you constantly feel torn between your responsibilities at work and at home.

It’s like your brain is a browser with 50 tabs open, and you can’t figure out which one is playing that annoying music.

The mental load is real.

On Relationships

Next, let’s get into the lovey-dovey stuff—or not so lovey-dovey, thanks to guilt. Relationships can suffer big time when you’re always feeling guilty.

Whether it’s your partner, your kids, or even friendships, the guilt can create emotional distance. You might find yourself overcompensating in one area and neglecting another, leading to a cycle of guilt and strained relationships.

It’s like a soap opera, but without the dramatic music and better hair.

On Career

Last but not least, let’s talk about the moolah and the 9-to-5 grind. Believe it or not, working mom guilt can even impact your career.

How? Well, guilt can make you second-guess yourself, leading to decreased confidence and performance at work.

You might pass up opportunities or not advocate for yourself, thinking you should be spending more time at home. It’s like leaving money on the table, and let’s be honest, nobody wants to do that.

So, yeah, the impact of working mom guilt is far-reaching. But don’t pack your bags for Guilt Trip City just yet.

The next sections will arm you with the tools to manage this guilt and reclaim your life. Ready to kick some guilt butt? Let’s do this!

How to Overcome Working Mom Guilt

Okay, so we’ve dissected the monster that is working mom guilt and seen how it can wreak havoc on pretty much every area of your life.

But enough of the doom and gloom! It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get down to the business of banishing this guilt to the shadowy depths from whence it came.

Self-Reflection and Awareness

First things first, let’s get introspective. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what’s causing it, right? Take some time to identify the specific situations or triggers that make you feel guilty.

Is it missing a school event because of a work meeting? Or perhaps it’s the other way around—missing an important work deadline because of family commitments?

Once you pinpoint the triggers, you can work on strategies to manage them. Think of it as guilt triage.

Setting Boundaries

Alright, Wonder Woman, it’s time to set some boundaries. And no, that’s not a dirty word. Setting boundaries means clearly defining what you can manage in your work and home life.

It’s like setting the rules for a game; everyone knows what to expect, and you’re less likely to end up with a red card.

So, communicate with your employer about your work hours and responsibilities, and ensure you allocate quality time for your family. Boundaries are your friend!

7 Practical Tips to Overcome Working Mom Guilt

  • Prioritize Self-Care: Yes, you read that right. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s essential for your well-being and, by extension, your family’s.
  • Delegate: You don’t have to do it all. Delegate tasks at work and home whenever possible. Remember, it takes a village!
  • Quality Over Quantity: Focus on spending quality time with your family rather than stressing about the amount of time.
  • Talk About It: Sometimes just talking about your guilt with someone can lighten the emotional load. So, vent away!
  • Celebrate Small Wins: Did you make it to your kid’s soccer game and finish that project at work? Celebrate it!
  • Seek Professional Help: If guilt is severely impacting your life, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Therapists are like personal trainers for your brain.
  • Let Go of Perfection: You’re not a Marvel superhero; you’re allowed to have flaws. Let go of the idea of being the perfect mom and employee.

So there you have it—a toolkit to help you overcome working mom guilt. It won’t happen overnight, but with consistent effort, you’ll find a balance that works for you.

Helpful Mom Guilt Resources

Here’s a list of some fab resources that can help you become a guilt-free, working mom extraordinaire!


Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Lean Out by Marissa Orr

The Working Mom Blueprint by Whitney Casares


10 Realistic Tips For Overcoming Working Mom Guilt

Setting Boundaries Between Work and Home (The Mom Project

The Mental Load of Motherhood


Cozi Family Organizer

Headspace for Mindfulness

PocketGuard for Budgeting

So, whether you’re a bookworm or an app aficionado, there’s something here for everyone. Dive in, soak up the wisdom, and remember—you’ve got this, mama!

Key Takeaways

So, what’s the takeaway? First off, you’re not alone. Working mom guilt is a thing, and it’s a thing a lot of us are dealing with. But here’s the good news: it’s a thing you can overcome. Start with self-awareness, set those boundaries, and don’t forget to sprinkle in some self-care. You’re not just a mom or just a working woman—you’re a fabulous blend of both, and it’s high time you gave yourself credit for it.

We’ve armed you with practical tips, real-life stories, and a treasure trove of resources. Now it’s your turn. Take that first step, whether it’s setting a boundary, scheduling some ‘me time,’ or simply acknowledging that you’re doing your best. And remember, your best is more than enough.

So go ahead, banish that guilt, and reclaim your joy!


  • Cam Russo

    Cam is a blogger, author, and content strategist with a keen love for the written word. His journey with high-functioning autism has kindled a strong advocacy for autism awareness. Today, Cam dedicates his efforts to educating parents. He sees laughter as a game-changer in learning, and strives every day to make education a fun and enjoyable journey for all his readers.