MOM GUILT - The overwhelmingly crappy feeling working Moms have most days of the week when they’re not unconditionally available to their children and their children’s caregivers.
This definition should be adopted by Webster’s because it’s the real deal.
I was sure of it in the parking lot of school this morning while I stood consoling another working Mom who is convinced that our children’s teacher doesn’t like her because she’s always late. I’m not personally down with the late thing, but I also don’t have twins at home while I am trying to get out the door with a 5 year old. I get it. But more than that, I get how it feels to always think you’re one step behind the perky Moms in work out gear enjoying their coffee and chatting in the parking lot. The ones that will go run a mile or so and cruise home to shower and pick up fresh ingredients for dinner before they’re back at school for the midday pick up. My days don’t look like that. And if the truth be told, I know that theirs don’t either, but in comparison to our tearing out of the parking lot in 3 inch heels at 8:02 am on the dot, the shorts and ponytail look like bliss.
My friend Kellie first identified Mom Guilt for me when we were working together on a program. At the time she had one young son and a booming career. She has a sweet baby girl now, too and a career that still gets in the way sometimes. We commiserate over how ambition and professional contributions don’t mesh easily with scheduled vaccinations and play dates. It presents itself in myriad ways during the week and when we’re lying in bed at night wishing there was a way we could be at tomorrow’s performance. It hurts. It’s real. It’s life.
In the frenzy of updating ALL of our calendars this weekend I realized that I will miss The Princess’ “Bridging Ceremony” to Kindergarten and My Athlete’s First Reconciliation. I’m not happy. But I am resolute. I simply can’t change it. The freedom I have in my heart is knowing that when I am with my children I am present 100%. Having a career forces me to focus more on what’s important and less on what park we’re going to on Tuesday. It’s not right for everyone, but it works best for us. After being home with my babes for two weeks I was delighted to get dressed today and hug them tight at drop off. I will be more thrilled to see them tonight than for the last several days we’ve been together constantly. Call me selfish. I’m OK with that.
It broke my heart this morning when I hugged the other Mom and told her that I was sure said Teacher didn’t dislike her for her lack of punctuality. We had a brief conversation about how hard it is to work and be there for our little people and I told her the thing I tell myself a hundred times a week. The opinion that should matter the most to you is your children’s. The others will come and go and usually won’t be favorable, but the mark we’re leaving on our children is permanent. If you can feel good about what you’re doing there everything else will take care of itself.
Did I sound convincing? I sure hope so, because hours later I am still questioning myself.