The 6 Biggest Parenting Mistakes Working Moms Make

The 6 Biggest Parenting Mistakes Working Moms Make

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, but there are ways we can help guide our kids and potentially head off long-term negative consequences for them. Most of the time, parents are faring far better than they think they are. As a family consultant, here are the questions I pose to them, to help them realize they aren’t making any serious mistakes:

  • How does your child feel?
  • Do you have a strong emotional relationship with your child?

If your children smile at you a lot and want to share things with you, if they have lots of friends and things they like doing, if they don’t suffer from anxiety and don’t show aggression, you can rest assured the mistakes you may have made aren’t very significant. (And, of course, there are plenty of kids who suffer from anxiety and behavioral problems through no fault of their parents.)

All mothers are hard-working, including those who choose to dedicate themselves to their family only. But mothers who work outside the home perform two social roles at once, and that can be quite stressful. It can also be ​very satisfying if you’re able to get over the unjustified sense of guilt. The good news? There are plenty of parental mistakes working mothers don’t usually make:

Over nurturing our kids​:

Working mothers don’t have the time to do everything for our children, which makes kids more independent and confident.

Being a cleanliness freak​:

Working mothers don’t have time to think a lot about microbes and that stops us from being neurotic about keeping our children in a sterile environment.

Isolating dads from caring for children​:

When we’re out at work, our partners have the opportunity to create a closer emotional bond with our children.

So, what are the mistakes working mothers do sometimes make—and how can you avoid them?

1. Living in the fast lane.

Many working mothers are in a constant rush and unconsciously try to impose this pace on our children, which can create tension. One of the reasons for so many hyperactive children today is the hyperactivity of adults. Our children are our mirrors—they take and reflect the energy they receive from us.

Always being in a hurry is like fast-forwarding a film without watching it or listening to the dialogue, and without being aware of what’s really happening. Yes, a slower pace can be annoying, but it’s actually the healthy pace of life, and something our children can teach us.

How we can avoid this mistake:

By setting aside more time for each activity, cutting back on our over-packed schedules and consciously choosing to increase our levels of patience.

2. Lack of focus and mindfulness in the present moment​.

It can be so hard for us to be present in the moment: When we’re at work, we think about our children, and when we’re with our children, we think about work. This syndrome prevents us from living life to the fullest and can make us anxious and ineffective.

How we can avoid this mistake:

We have to make the conscious decision that when we are with our children, we have to be 100 percent with them, and when we are working, we need to have confidence in the people whom we have entrusted to look after them.

3. Taking work problems home​.

Quite often, instead of talking directly with our boss or colleagues about problems at work, we take our complaints home, and our children become unwitting victims of the stress we’ve internalized. This mistake is particularly typical for mothers who don’t feel passionate about their work.

How we can avoid this mistake:

By seeking a job that makes us happy and sorting out our work problems in time—by talking directly to the person responsible for solving them.

4. Underestimating the importance of fun​.

The belief that duty is more important than having fun locks us into a grey routine and takes away the joy of life. Some working mothers forget how how to have fun because we have been taught in our childhood to be very responsible and serious. But our most important responsibility is to feed our child with joy every day. Missing out on those moments of shared happiness is a mistake that parents often regret later when their children grow up.

How we can learn to have more fun:

We have to learn above all that joy is the energy of life. Every child dreams of having funny parents who haven’t lost touch with the child within—adults who are able to splash in puddles, roll about on the floor while playing with their children and paint with their fingers … Having fun and playing games with our children is the best way to build a strong emotional relationship with them. And after such precious moments, we feel energized and inspired to be more creative when we go to work.

5. Forgetting or putting off promises to our children​.

When we do this because of work commitments, our child feels unimportant and loses trust in us. Another consequence is that they learn to break their own promises.

How we can avoid this mistake:

By being careful about what we promise to our children and making a note of it in our schedule. We have to treat these promises as more important than work commitments, because in the long run they really are.

6. Becoming overwhelmed with exhaustion​.

This is a tough one to ditch, because our plates are always so full, but children don’t need us to sacrifice ourselves for their sake. When we are tired, we often become judgmental and too demanding of our loved ones.

How we can avoid this mistake:

We have to learn to say no to commitments we simply can’t handle, and to accept help whenever and wherever possible. Remember that children want to see us joyful and inspired. The best mother is the happy one—because by her own example she can teach her children happiness.

Stela Daskalova is long-term family consultant and one of the most successful writers in the nonfiction genre in Bulgaria. Her three books—Everything Begins in Childhood, What Happens to Love? and Every Child is a Hero are bestsellers in the nonfiction genre for publishing house Ciela—the biggest publishing house in Bulgaria. Stela is also the author and producer of two documentary films with interviews with children where they tell about the relationship with their parents, about school, their friends, love and dreams. To learn more about Stela and her books, visit her website: ​

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