So many times a day I feel guilty for things out of my control…Bad for the things I cannot offer my girls often as a result of me needing to be at work.
As I go out the door this morning a little voice says, “No, don’t go to work! Just stay home?!”
Another little voice says, “Why can’t you work at my school? Or volunteer…every day, like so and so’s mom?”
The guilt sets in when there is a birthday party invite for a weekday right after school and my husband and I have to juggle our schedules to get our daughter there.
When I cannot sign my kids up for extracurricular activities because apparently the only times anything is available for younger kids is between the times of 9-5 and on a weekday-guilt.
The day I am too tired after work to do reading with my daughter-guilt.
The day we have sandwiches for supper because no one feels like cooking-guilt.
The night I work late and cannot tuck my girls into bed-guilt.
And it is not just my inner voice talking to me…
Let’s talk about all the people who may or may not be well meaning. I have lost track of how many times over the years I have been asked, “But don’t you miss your kids when you are at work?” (guilt again).
Ok now stop for a minute. At the end of the day (you know when you look at your kids sleeping in their beds and somehow they are just so much cuter and you love them a little bit more?) I think we as moms are really all doing the best we can. We are doing our best whether that is by working or by staying at home.We all love our children and want the world for them.
We all have to make choices about what is best (or often necessary) for our families. Instead of focusing on the guilt that comes with being a working mom, let’s focus on the positives. Instead of helping someone second doubt themselves, lift them up. And if no one will do that, do it for yourself!
As a working mom, my daughters know that I work hard and provide for our family. They believe in themselves that they can do anything they set their minds to. My 6 year old is considering what type of scientist she will be while planning her animal rescue shelter on the side. My 3 year old wishes she could fly but will settle on being a kitty princess.
As a working mom, I have learned to value my time with my girls. A friend told me something I will never forget one time as we were discussing how hard it can be to work and miss your kids. She told me as someone who had been a stay at home mom and also has had periods as a working mom, that at the end of the day it does not really matter whether you are working or at home. When you are keeping that relationship with your kids, she said it comes down to the quality of time. As a stay home mom she noticed that really a lot of the time they were together was not quality. When she was a working mom, she was much more deliberate about creating that quality time, because it became a priority. To an extent, when she was with her kids all the time, it gets taken for granted sometimes. I always think of this when I am planning my days and figuring out when I am going to spend some time with my girls that day-whether it is at breakfast and school drop off or an extra long bedtime with lots of books and cuddles. It might look different as a working mom but that’s ok.
As a working mom, my kids get to see a home with balance (at least the attempt, ok!) They get to see my husband and I share the roles of parenting, housekeeping, and working. We have managed to show them that relationships are about work, turn taking, and sharing responsibilities. No one is the “boss” lording over the household.
It is not always easy to be a working mom. Many days I wish I could stay in my pajamas and snuggle my kids all day. But that is not my reality. I choose to see the good that comes out of our family’s situation rather than letting myself be put down.
At the end of the day, I have to remind myself that I am the only one who walks in my shoes. I alone am the one who has to live with my choices. Parenting is hard enough as it is.
So no more guilt. All I can do is the best I can. And drink coffee…because that always helps;)