Cry baby - are you damaging your kids if they see you cry?

This is a real worry that many working mothers have. As one woman said to me:

"I try not to cry. I hold it all inside myself. I don't want my babies to see me cry."

As working parents we feel so responsible for... well ... everything. We feel responsible for getting healthy food on the table, for teaching our kids their colours, letters, numbers, capital cities of Europe (well, maybe not that last one) before they even start kindergarten.

We feel responsible for working harder than anyone else on our team at work so that we can justify taking a morning off occasionally to attend school assembly.

We feel responsible for keeping fit and looking polished; about having something to say about current events and about keeping family and friends happy.

It's so exhausting !!

And - I don't know about you, but - being exhausted physically and emotionally makes me much more prone to cry and just drop my bundle when one last little thing sneaks up on me.

When we: tread on a lego piece, burn the rice, lose the school excursion paperwork, have to do our taxes.

When our toddler: smears yoghurt on the tv screen, vomits over our work clothes, cries when we leave her at day care.

We just want to sit on the floor and wail because we feel trapped and stuck and hopeless and inadequate.

And then we beat ourselves up for crying in front of the kids. Or: we push down all those feelings and put a fake smile on our faces and deal with the kids.

Only: the kids don't buy it. They know something's wrong.

Believe me, it's much healthier in the long run to have that cry, sit on the kitchen floor and use a box of tissues and let your children see you do it.


- They will learn from you (the centre of their world) that big feelings come and go and don't damage us;

- They will see you get up after your cry and make a plan to get on top of some of the overwhelm - whether that is picking up the lego/getting them to pick up the lego; putting a load into the machine; showing them how to wipe yoghurt off the tv screen; throw away the burnt rice and have toast for dinner instead.

- They will come to you and offer comfort which is excellent for their empathy and interpersonal skills.

So go ahead and have that cry. Learn to be with your feelings and comfort yourself in the process. Your children and your family life will be so much richer as a result.

Come and talk to me if you would like to know more about being with your big feelings so taht they don't overwhelm you.

By phone for an old fashioned chat: 0492 918 646

By email at

You could keep it anonymous and visit the website

Or you could join the facebook group Working Parent Wins.

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