When the boss calls you at home, do you feel guilty? If the same thing happens to your husband, does he feel guilty? According to a new study, working moms are the ones who feel bad when work life intrudes on home life. Dads, not so much:
“For women, levels of guilt and distress seem to be correlated quite strongly with the frequency of contact. Women experience, on average, a rise in guilt and distress as you increase levels of this contact.”
Yeah, I know. Another study about how and why we feel guilty. Awesome.
I’m bringing it up for two reasons. Neither of which are to make moms feel guilty, because this is, after all, Working Moms AGAINST Guilt.
First, I just want to say that we each have to be conscious of how our work lives affect our home lives and our families. It’s our responsibility to decide how we conduct ourselves and set limits with work. If your situation makes you feel truly guilty, ask yourself why — and how can you rectify it?
Personally, I work from home and for myself. I often get emails and calls from clients when I’m at home, because that’s where my office is. No big whoop. But that doesn’t mean I feel like a bad mom when a client calls me just as I’m putting dinner on the table or giving my sweeties a bath. I don’t have to answer it. I can always call back later, after the kids have gone to bed, or email the client that I’ll be in touch in the morning. I’ve never had someone fire me for having a family life. My clients respect those boundaries. And if they didn’t, I wouldn’t want them as clients anyway.
Second, if your current work situation is causing angst at home (like say, your boss feels free to bug you at 10 p.m. and expects you to pick up the phone), I strongly encourage you to fix it. You don’t have to let work push you around and make you feel bad. I know the economy sucks and we “should be grateful” for whatever jobs we have. Still, everyone deserves to have a good work-life fit, which includes quality time with their families and the freedom to unplug from work once in a while. So do what it takes, whether that’s having an open conversation with your manager, re-setting expectations with your coworkers, looking for a new job or even rethinking your entire career. You owe it to yourself and your kids.
Got a good story about how you brilliantly fixed a work-home blurring problem? Please share. Or need help solving an issue? Ask in the comments. WMAG readers always seem to have great suggestions and support.