We are great at making excuses.
- “I don’t have time to exercise.”
- “I can’t afford to pursue my hobbies.”
- “It stresses me out.”
- “This is too hard.”
- “I only live once.”
Usually, excuses lock people in a cage. But there’s a way excuses can set you free.
Let me explain: Many moms work, but not all struggle with same type or amount of guilt. Some work part-time and feel guilty for being away from their kids even for a few hours. Some work 60-hour-a-week jobs and feel guilty for missing family dinner most evenings.
The real difference is the ones who don’t feel guilty as much have the power of intention on their side. They’ve already set their priorities and accepted their sacrifices.
The ones who drown in guilt are unsettled and hiding from consenting to sacrifices that need to be made.
An amateur working mom is one that still believes she can do it all. In reality, even the ones who are “doing it all” are sacrificing something, although that thing may not be as squeaky a wheel now.
Putting the power of intention to work
You can start getting your priorities and sacrifices straight—and reducing your feelings of guilt—by putting the power of intention to work. Try this three-step process to create a contract with yourself.
1. Write down “good” reasons why you made the decision to work.
Make sure there is more than “I have to” on your list. Write down and highlight the benefits. How will working make you a better person? How will it positively affect your children? Your spouse? The quality of your life? The quality of your family’s life? Society? Your environment? Your opportunities? Your network? Your dreams? The dreams of your children?
2. Write down all the things you have to sacrifice or let go of because of your decision to be a working mom.
Every little thing, worthy or not. Every little thing that triggers guilt now and has triggered guilt at some point.
3. Fill out your contract.
I, your name, have decided to make a life decision to be a working mom because…
And I accept the consequences of this decision and not feel guilt because of them. I agree to sacrifice…
By signing this contract, I agree to accept the fact that I am human and am limited in time, energy and other resources. I promise to do the best I can to be a balanced person and to achieve that I accept that I must make sacrifices.
Decorate your contract however you like. And put it up somewhere you can see it on a regular basis.
With a personal contract in place, you live with intention. You make a choice to be a working mom instead of thinking you are being forced by circumstances. This way you have defense against senseless guilt. This way you focus on your priorities rather than all the things that are not getting accomplished.
Have you heard of Warren Buffet’s “2 List” strategy for maximizing focus? If not, here’s the gist: You make a list of 25 priorities. Then circle five priorities that are the most important. Now you have a list of 5 Most Important Priorities and a list with the other 20.
So what’s next? Well, of course, you focus on the top 5 list first. But what about the rest? And this might come as a surprise: the second list becomes your Avoid-At-All-Cost list.
Try applying Warren Buffet’s strategy to your priorities as a working mom. There are a million things you could do, want to do, should do, but let’s face it… it ain’t happening. Don’t wait until you will have “more time.” Cross it off… with intention.
Want to share your reasons for deciding to be a working mom? Please share in the comments below.