Working Mom: You Shouldn't Apologize
It's something I do way too often, and I do it without even thinking. I find myself stressing about it for hours and feeling the guilt over it afterwards. I am a SAHM/Working Mama and I say "I'm sorry" all the time.
Had to miss a planned playdate because I didn't get all the work I planned for last night? "I'm sorry!"
Took a couple days off to spend time with my kids and husband without opening my laptop, and now I'm not able to make it to park day with friends? "I'm sorry!"
Got takeout on a weeknight even though I had all the ingredients for dinner because there were emails that needed responding to? "I'm sorry!"
I'm a working mom who apologizes all the time. And if you're a working mom who apologizes all the time, I'm here to tell you: you shouldn't have to.
If you find yourself apologizing for missing out on things you planned on attending, have to cancel on friends occasionally, or need to prioritize your job, you may feel like you need to apologize way too much. If you're over the stress and the guilt of saying "sorry", then here are a couple of things you could do or say instead!
Keep Commitments Light
Okay, this won't solve all your problems, and isn't always possible, but I do my best to not over-schedule our fam. When it comes to families with older kids who have school and sports and friends and activities going on, you may be rolling your eyes. But when it comes to our fam with two toddlers and a husband who works long hours, I need to do myself a favor by not committing to too many things. My ability to handle stressful situations is pretty much the worst, and I need to keep my mental health in mind before committing to all the things that I (or my kids) want to do. It's also okay to RSVP for things as a maybe, which allows you a little bit of wiggle room for getting things done without giving anyone a hard yes or no.
"I'm overwhelmed and can't make it."
I find that when things get too much and I do overbook our life, it's easier for me to explain to friends (or other commitments) that I tried to fit too much into one week/day/month, and that I have to take time to get things done with work. More often than not, people will only respond positively to you being honest, letting them know you had planned, but that things come up and that's life! I have yet to come across a situation where someone has given me a hard time about it, and luckily, I have amazing friends that are normally so understanding. I don't like to admit that I can't do it all, but that's the truth, and sometimes I need to own up to it and cancel so that I can take care of business.
Don't Dwell and Don't Bring it Up
This is something that I have to remind myself for my own sanity: No one else is going to let me let it go, so I have to do it for myself. Dwelling on the fact that I might have let someone down can replay in your head a lot if you let it, so I have to make the choice to not think about it after cancelling plans. I also think it's important not to bring up to people that you weren't able to make it, or the next time you see them that you're so sorry that you had to cancel, because I can almost guarantee you that they have not put any more thought into it. Just accept that you had to cancel, give yourself a break for having to place other things in the forefront of your priority list, and move on!
"Can we reschedule?"
When you have to cancel on friends it never feels good, but when you let someone know that you're bummed you missed seeing them/attending the girl's night/didn't make it to the birthday party, they are super appreciative. Hopefully setting another date will work for both of you. I hate the idea that I will cancel once, and then it will be months before I see them again. Send a quick text to let them know you still value their friendship and that you're not looking for excuses to ditch them. Setting up a time to hang out right away will take away that awkward air that can sometimes hang around after you cancel plans.
Plan for Unplanned
Since my natural inclination is to feel guilty after I feel like I let someone down, I do my best to make sure that I don't set myself up for failure and put myself into situations (like over-scheduling or making unrealistic plans) that I am bound to not follow through. If I know that I have a full work week, and that my kids have teeth cleaning appointments and soccer practice, I'm going to do everyone a solid and PLAN to have a few things UNPLANNED. I am going to plan a day or two every week where I don't have to plan for dinner, that means we're either getting takeout or we're eating leftovers. That way I'm not stuck feeling guilty when I don't follow through on my weekly meal plan. I am going to plan to have nothing planned for the weekend because I know that I'll have work to catch up on and I'm not sure what my energy levels will be like, so I would rather surprise my kids with a trip to the park than make promises and then back out. It's all about balance, but I try my best to allow myself some room to breathe to cut back on that ever-present mama guilt.