Are you a parent dealing with “reverse guilt”? That’s the new term psychologists are using for the pang of guilt some parents feel when they enjoy being away from their kids! Like when you’re happy to go to work, because it means you won’t have to be a slave to your kids for eight hours. Or, when your spouse takes the kids camping, and you look forward to having a weekend of uninterrupted “me” time.
Some parents say they feel guilty about feeling that way, because they think “good” parents are supposed to love being with their kids non-stop. So, the thinking is that if you spend even a minute wishing you were free from them, then you must be a bad parent! Dr. Lindsay Heller is a psychologist who says feeling reverse guilt is a common phenomenon today, especially in women. That’s because there are more women in the workforce than ever before, and the hard work they put into their careers is rewarding.
Here’s the good news: Dr. Heller says feeling reverse guilt does not make you a bad parent! That’s because many studies show that having a purpose outside of being a parent – whether it’s work, working out, or enjoying a hobby – is a proven way to boost happiness and well-being. And Dr. Heller says that if you feel happier after a few hours away from your kids, it doesn’t make you a selfish, neglectful parent. It makes you HUMAN – and a better parent!