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Shining A Light On ‘Working Parent Guilt’

  Raising a family in the modern world is no easy task. Unfortunately in today’s day and age, dual incomes are almost always needed to support the expenses of schooling and daycare. And that means that parents are spending more and more time away from their children, which can lead to very real feelings of shame. In fact, Working Parent Guilt is now a common phenomena and one that was recently explored on the Forbes website.   Forbes’ article touched on newly working moms and the emotional struggles they deal with going back to their jobs after an extended maternity leave. In these scenarios, women have been able to significantly bond with their children; only to be ripped away after seven or eight months. Fathers now experience the same thing via paternity leave, which can leave feelings of emptiness and depression when they return to their workplaces.   Interestingly enough, Forbes also highlighted the fact that many of these parents feel guilt about their careers as well. Coming back to their jobs, they often wonder if they are now giving their company their all. There are also fears that senior management may be less likely to promote them because of their new commitments to their family (meaning less commitment to the job).   Forbes writer Mary Beth Ferrante made a point to single out company reps, encouraging them to make the workplace a safe and accommodating place for new parents.   “Some moms feel guilty for not being with their children while others feel as though they aren’t giving work, their all. And many fluctuate between both,” Ferrante wrote. “The best thing any manager can do is promote an empathetic work environment that recognizes that every working parent is different and their goals and needs will also be different. For every mom that wants to scale back their responsibilities, there is another mom who is ready to take on more. Making assumptions about all working mothers is harmful to the progress of all women in the workplace.”   We wholeheartedly agree that every scenario is unique and parents who return from leave should be treated with sensitivity and respect. Nevertheless, the guilty feelings that accompany this transition should most certainly be explored and therapeutically discussed. At Inneractions, we have workshops and group sessions that focus just on this topic. If it’s impacting you or someone you are close to, please do not hesitate to reach out.  

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