Menu

How to let go of guilt + focus on the benefits of working motherhood

Whether you too are an entrepreneur or whether you work in a more traditional role, you have a choice too.

How to let go of guilt + focus on the benefits of working motherhood

In the past, I spent a lot of time feeling guilty for trying to grow my business and raise my babies at the same time. I felt guilty when I missed a milestone in my young daughters’ lives because I was working with a client. I felt guilty when I was traveling for work and my daughters cried through our nightly talks. I felt guilty for not giving them more of my time and attention because my coaching practice demanded those limited resources too.


And I often felt guilty for choosing to work. I judged myself and thought I was a bad mom for needing something more than motherhood to feel fulfilled and challenged in life.

FEATURED VIDEO

But eventually (ok, years later) I realized that the guilt wasn’t serving me, or doing my kids or business any good either. The guilt just kept me feeling stuck and distracted; its near-constant presence made it hard for me to focus fully on my family or fully on my business because I was always preoccupied with whatever I wasn’t doing at the time.

So I gave myself permission to let go of the guilt and started focusing on the reasons I shouldn’t feel guilty for working instead. Turns out, there were three huge benefits to me being an entrepreneur. I just hadn’t acknowledged them until now.

Now I know I will always have a choice: I can feel guilty for being a high-achieving woman who wants to make a difference through my work. Or I can focus on all the good things that happen because I have the drive and courage to be an entrepreneur and a present, engaged mom.

Whether you too are an entrepreneur or whether you work in a more traditional role, you have a choice too. So if you’re struggling to let go of the guilt, I encourage you to consider these three reasons you shouldn’t feel guilty for working. Then re-read them often because we all know mom guilt is nothing if not persistent.

1. Working is good for your kids.

When I first started working as a life and business coach for creative female entrepreneurs, I didn’t think my family could handle the demands of my new job. And I felt especially guilty for taking time away from my daughters, who were just 4 and 1 at the time.

But then my oldest daughter said something that changed everything. She said “Mom, it must be a lot of work to take care of our family and be a coach too. Why do you want to do both jobs?”

Since she was only 4, I gave her the simple answer: I loved being a mom and I loved being a coach so I do both. But when she’s older and more mature, I’ll tell her that I work because I want her and her sister to see me defining myself outside of motherhood. I work because I want to show them what life looks like when you go after your dreams.

And, most importantly, I’ll tell her that I do both jobs because I dream of a future for my daughters where mothers are celebrated, not judged, for being ambitious, creative women. So if my girls decide to become mothers someday, they won’t feel like they have to choose between being a great mom and following their passions. Because if I’ve led by example in my own life, they will know with 100 percent certainty that they can be both.

2. Working is good for your community.

I used to be so wrapped up in my mom guilt that I forgot that the impact of my work stretched far beyond my immediate family. And it absolutely did.

Because here’s the honest truth: there are people out there who need what you have to offer. There are people in your community who are waiting to hear your ideas and receive your services and products. There are people whose lives you could change through your work. There are people you haven’t even met yet who are waiting to experience your unique gifts – and it would be a disservice to let guilt stop you from sharing them.

So the next time you feel guilty for working, I encourage you to think about the impact your work has the potential to make. Because I guarantee there are people waiting for you and they won’t ever get the chance to experience all you have to offer if you let guilt run the show.

3. Working is good for your soul.

When I first admitted I wanted to be more than a mom, I felt a lot of shame that motherhood wasn’t the end all, be all for me – especially because I knew how much I had to be grateful for as the mother of two healthy, happy little girls. And yet, I also knew I wanted to own more than the title of mom in my lifetime.

I was also a woman who found my work endlessly fulfilling. It gave me an intellectual outlet and helped me feel creative again. It brought me immense satisfaction to help other women build their businesses. And using my skills and talents to impact other women’s lives increased my confidence and sense of self worth.

I’ve since come to realize that there’s no shame in moving past the guilt so I can fuel my soul with work that I love, and work that benefits others too. Because working makes me feel like the very best version of me and it brings me joy that overflows into other areas of my life.

The mom guilt is real and it’s persistent – in fact, it still shows up from time to time in my own life. But over the years, I’ve learned that when you focus on the things that working brings to your life, instead of all that guilt, good things will come your way.

If you’d like to learn how to move past the guilt as a working or entrepreneurial mom, Ashley has provided us with a free workbook to share with you. To download her free workbook, Letting the Guilt Go, just CLICK HERE.

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    The one thing your family needs to practice gratitude

    And a tradition you'll want to keep for years.

    Gracious Gobbler

    I think I can speak for well, basically everyone on planet earth when I say things have been a bit stressful lately. Juggling virtual school, work and the weight of worry about all the things, it's increasingly difficult to take even a moment to be grateful and positive these days. It's far easier to fall into a grump cycle, nagging my kids for all the things they didn't do (after being asked nine times), snapping at their bickering and never really acknowledging the good stuff.

    But the truth is, gratitude and appreciation is the kind of medicine we need now more than ever—and not just because the season is upon us. For one thing, practicing gratitude is a scientifically proven way to boost our happiness, health and relationships. More importantly, we need to ensure we're cultivating it in our children even when things are challenging. Especially when things are challenging.

    I'm ready to crank the thankfulness up a few dozen notches and reboot our family's gratitude game so we can usher out 2020 on a fresh note. So, I've called in some reinforcements.

    Enter: the Gracious Gobbler.

    Keep reading Show less
    Shop

    The important safety tip parents need to know about sleep + car seats

    Why you might want to plan for more pit stops on your next road trip.

    When we become parents we don't just have to learn how to take care of a baby, we also have to learn how, when and why to use all the different kinds of baby gear.

    Keep reading Show less
    News