By Melissa Batai
As a homeschooling mom to three kids and a self-employed freelance writer and virtual assistant, my days are full. I do some of my work when the kids watch their favorite TV show (Arthur), but the rest of my work is done in the evenings after they're asleep or on the weekends. If you're a work at home mom, this schedule likely sounds familiar.
On the weekends, I easily put in 15 to 20 hours. During that time, I lock myself in our study and work. The kids can handle this for awhile, but I think there is an internal sensor that reminds them that mom is home but NOT playing with them. I can hear them whining outside the door for some mommy time.
And then I start feeling guilty.
One way to deal with this mommy guilt is to realize how much better I have it than others. For instance, if I was a nurse, I'd likely be gone for 12 hours each weekend day. Because I'm working from home, I can take breaks to eat meals with the family.
Which leads me to the next way to alleviate mommy guilt--take productive breaks. When I need a break from my work, I come out and play with the kids, either for just a few minutes, or if I can afford a longer break, I'll play a board game with them. This appeases them, I also get my break, and then I can go back to my work refreshed.
One other strategy is to plan one fun event where you're fully present for your kids. My husband and I have agreed that one weekend a month, I'll take a break from work and we'll do something fun together. Last month, we went to a Revolutionary War reenactment, and in October, we're visiting the farm that provides our CSA basket. We'll pick pumpkins and take a hayride.
As a work at home mom, helping your kids understand that even though you're home, you're not always available, can be difficult. Using some of these strategies, you can still give your children, especially your younger ones, your time while getting your work done.
How do you fend off mommy guilt? What are your favorite strategies?