A nurse’s tips for dealing with mom guilt

Combined ShapeCaption
Why being a nurse makes you a better parent

It can be difficult not to feel torn between both worlds; you love your family, but you also love your work

When nurse practitioner Diana Page had to return to work after her first maternity leave, she experienced what many working women do: mom guilt.

“I had struggled after my son was born with healing from a traumatic birth, postpartum anxiety, and difficulty breastfeeding,” she wrote for nurse.org. “I remember heading into my shift, unhealed emotionally, vulnerable, anxious, feeling exhausted, dreading pumping at work, and feeling like a failure. I felt guilty for dropping my son off to a stranger, but also guilty for all the people that had covered my work for months. Oddly enough, I was also feeling guilty for feeling guilty and was being incredibly hard on myself.”

Explore7 ways being a nurse makes you a better parent

Even if you have an easy birthing process — or had to leave work for another reason — Page noted, it can be difficult not to feel torn between both worlds; you love your family, but you also love your work.

“Whether it be guilt, frustration, apathy or confusion,” she wrote, “that emotional response is OK, but move through it. Name it, accept it and do so without passing judgment on yourself.”

To help her fellow nurses let go of those negative feelings, Page compiled a list of eight suggestions to boost positivity.

Have realistic expectations: No one is perfect, and it’s important to remember that.

Check in with yourself on the regular: Look at your life, realize you are a good parent. Be sure to celebrate the small wins.

Stop saying “sorry” so much: Try reframing “I’m sorry” into “thank you.” So, instead of saying “I’m so sorry I’m late,” try “Thank you for being patient.” Chances are the person you’re with has been through the same thing you have.

Set and enforce boundaries: Protect your time, energy and peace.

ExploreHow to balance life as a nurse when a parent needs care

Give yourself the same compassion you would give others: Keep an eye on your self-talk. If you wouldn’t say that to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.

Ask for help: It’s not selfish to ask for what you need in order to be a better employee and a better parent.

Take care of you: By taking care of yourself, you are better equipped to care for others — both at work and at home.

Support other moms: It’s not a competition. Cheer one another on, be honest with one another and share the real mom moments.

“We are stronger together, always,” Page concluded, “and on the hard days those friendships come in handy.”

For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.