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5 Ways Us Working Moms Get in Our Own Heads and How to Stop it

Working Mother logo Working Mother 9/6/2018 Reena Vokoun
a person sitting on a bed: I promise, you've got this, mom! © iStock I promise, you've got this, mom!

Don't let doubts and insecurities take over—working moms are pretty amazing.

Being a working mom is often complex, exhilarating, confusing, rewarding and a whole mix of other emotions. Not everyone can relate, but for those who can, it’s a special bond and one that connects us all and helps us to feel as if we’re not alone.

According to research on self-perception, conducted at the University of California at Santa Barbara, men consistently overestimate their abilities and subsequent performance and women routinely underestimate both, even though the actual performances between men and women do not differ in quality.

Let’s face it—we’re all capable women and we shouldn’t let our negative thoughts and perceptions get the best of us. We need to support ourselves and each other so we can confidently make a positive impact on the world, while also raising and nurturing our children.

As a working mom who often struggles with self-doubt myself, I want to share five ways we can often get in our own heads—and how we can change our mindset to stop it.

1. We doubt our value to our employers.

Sometimes we feel like our value to our employers is limited when we’re raising our children, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Working moms are often some of the most productive, efficient and results-oriented leaders in companies. It takes organization, grit and commitment to balance a career and motherhood every day. Hopefully society and more companies will continue to recognize these amazing traits and provide us with flexible opportunities to keep making contributions and shining at work.

2. We question our abilities as moms.

Even if we can’t pick our children up right after school every day or make it to every school play or field trip, it doesn’t mean we’re not good moms and our children don’t appreciate or love us. Children are more resilient than we give them credit for and have such a strong capacity for understanding and unconditional love—just like we do as moms. The times when we can be present for school events will be very special to them and us—and it’s the quality of those moments that matters most. We’re modeling for our children what it means to work hard, make choices and prioritize our loved ones even when our jobs get demanding.

3. We judge ourselves and others too harshly.

While working mom guilt is often considered a cliché, it truly is real for many moms. We often beat ourselves up if we’re not living up to certain standards and judge and criticize ourselves more harshly than anyone else. Is this really going to help us or our children in the long run? Probably not. We also may compare ourselves to or judge other moms for their choices as a result of our own fears and insecurities. These emotions are part of being human, but they don’t serve us well at all. The more we can be empathetic and supportive of ourselves and other moms, the better off we all will be.

4. We let a few setbacks or bad days at work or at home make us feel as if we’re doomed.

We all have bad days, and as working moms trying to juggle so many priorities, it’s inevitable that we’ll sometimes have setbacks, conflicts or mishaps. However, it doesn’t mean we’re doomed. It can often be helpful to think about the bigger picture of what we’re trying to accomplish, gain perspective, learn from these situations and remind ourselves that tomorrow is a new day to start fresh. Our own interpretations and attitudes can make a huge difference in how we deal with those tough days and come out successfully on the other side.

5. We forget to give ourselves credit for all the things we’re doing well as mothers and professionals.

In the midst of our doubts, insecurities, failures and bad days, it’s important for us all to think about all the amazing things we ARE doing. Raising empathetic, kind, responsible, hardworking and respectful children is hard work, especially when also managing a demanding career to support our families. We’re also paving the way for future generations of women to know they can also have a flourishing career and be loving, hands-on moms. When we actually stop to think about everything we’re capable of doing, it’s pretty remarkable—and it’s something to be proud of.

I hope we all can stand together as fellow moms and professionals and feel good about ourselves, individually and collectively. Let’s all get out of our heads and back into the world so we can keep doing our thing!

Reena Vokoun, founder of Passion Fit, graduated with a BBA in Marketing and Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MS in Advertising and Communications from Boston University. She spent several years in corporate America working in marketing, sales and business development roles for companies such as Google, Yahoo, Reebok, GE, CNET and Grokker. She has also served as a certified health and wellness professional through the American Council on Exercise and Athletics and Fitness Association of America and as an award-winning ESPN Fitness Champion.

Related video: ‘No one can do it all’: Kathie Lee and Hoda talk about Serena Williams’ emotional post (provided by TODAY)

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