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Mom Guilt vs Dad Guilt

Mom Guilt: The guilt that mothers experience when they work too much / work too little / have too much time for themselves / have too little time for themselves / spend a lot of time with their children / spend little time with children / too much attention to spend money at home / have a mess at home / tell them you are pregnant / don't tell them / go on leave...

In fact, all the women we speak to suffer from this in one way or another. It never seems right. The tendency is to work harder so that you get rid of your guilt. The result is usually the opposite: more guilt and stress.

But what we wonder: is there such a thing as 'Dad Guilt'?

American research shows that 17% of fathers experience something similar. Not nothing, but certainly not the same as the 90% from the mothers.

How come?

Is this a biological mechanism? Do women naturally want to care more? Do we pretend and become perfectionist part-time princesses? Or is there more going on?

Our society has many unconscious norms when it comes to women and motherhood. Rules that we all have stored somewhere. We all have an image of what a 'good mother' should be. And that image usually does not include a full-time job and mountains of time for yourself. But the caring woman who puts everything aside for her offspring.

On the other hand, we all have the image of the modern career woman, with endless ambition in her work, one who is taken seriously as a business woman. This was fought for. Women are not identified by a little motherly feeling. And that image barely fits a baby, let alone a part-time day, pumping or leaving early to pick up your baby.

These assumptions apply a lot less to paternity. Fathers usually get applause if they work one day less. Fathers also earn more on average, while women suffer significantly after having a baby. Fathers are also hardly asked whether they would like to work less. While 85% of the Dutch believes that young mothers should not work more than three days. We simply expect less from them in this area. And that is why there is less guilt among men.

What can we do about this?

By asking fathers more about their fatherhood and mothers less, we can change the picture together. This makes it much more normal for women to think about their own needs, without feeling guilty.

Research shows that 64% of fathers want more time with their children. Why isn't this happening yet?

Change starts at your kitchen table, but also how you address your (male) colleagues and of course how employers and the government set an example in this. If fathers are a little more fatherly, mothers can be a little less motherly.

Away with the guilt! Long live pride in work and parenthood!

PS: do you want to make progress at work, but also enjoy parenting? Another program will soon start in which you develop leadership in the combination of work and family.

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