Working Mother Guilt

 January 13, 2009

Yesterday was my first day back to work. Everyone kept asking how I was doing implying that I must be emotionally devastated to be away from Nina. I don’t know maybe I’ve been a working mom for too long but I don’t feel that way at all. There is nothing wrong with not being with your children 24/7. These people are well-intentioned, heck most of them were working moms themselves, but I think we unintentionally send the message that moms should feel bad about being away.

I am in a generation of women who were told we could have it all; “bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, never never let him forget he’s a man” and apparently, we could also clean the house, take care of the kids, volunteer at school, manage the hockey team, scrapbook and take a relaxing yoga class-right. My generation however had no role models for real life working moms. Instead, we had a bunch of “you can have it all” slogans and guilt-a whole lot of guilt.

Here is my reality... Yesterday I got up at 4:30am. I got dressed and was glad to wear makeup and heels and have my hair combed. I got Nina out of bed and we rocked and cuddled until she was ready to get down. I had breakfast with Nina and Nolan and at 8:15am I slipped out the door to work. On the way, I got my Dunkin Donuts coffee (my treat) and some donuts for my staff. I then jumped back into my work never once worrying that Nina was suffering.

At about 10am Dart sent me a picture of Nina from his cell phone showing me the outfit he dressed Nina in. Since I was at work dart finally had some alone time with his daughter and got to figure out the whole “tights and hair bows” thing, (OK truthfully he totally forgot to comb her hair but he did put on the tights!)

At 12:45pm I went home for lunch and peeked in on my sleeping baby. Back to work in the afternoon, again no worries. I went home at 5pm, a little early, and was thru the door at 5:10pm. Nina was just up from a long nap sitting in her high chair having juice and a slice of cheese. She greeted me with a squeal and we played the rest of the night

Personally, I think the whole experience is good for both of us. I am able to enjoy outside interests (not to mention earn a living) and Nina learns that Mommy always comes back.

I like my career and I have worked hard to be successful. I am proud of my accomplishments there. Clearly though I love my family and enjoy being a Mom. These things are not incompatible. What does not go together is happiness and guilt. The working mom/stay at home mom debate is entirely irrelevant for today’s woman. 

Perhaps it is due to my advanced age or my 18 years of parenting experience but from my vantage point, I think the secret is knowing your own priorities (notice “your own”) and letting everything else go.

No guilt necessary.

Picture for my Mom who needs her daily Nina fix...this is nina putting on her "lipstick" . She is sooooo girly. I love it!!!

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