...because we all have our motley moments!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dumping the Working Mommy Guilt

I work. Not only at being a wife and mother. I work outside the home. I am a school teacher in my working life. Ever since the birth of my daughter three years ago, I have been consumed with guilt because of this. I don’t stay home with her. I go to work and she goes to childcare. We have a recent addition to our family, the King of the Jungle, and he will go to childcare next week with THE Princess, as school resumes for teachers.

I have heard or have been told all of following regarding working:

“Working moms aren’t willing to put their children first.”

“You must want too many worldly possessions.”

“You aren’t willing to sacrifice for the good of your children.”

“You are leaving your child to be raised by strangers.”

“Single moms have to work, but married mothers should be willing to stay home.”

“You can’t have great kids if you work, since you aren’t with them all the time.”

“How can you possibly do everything well? You are to busy for that.”

“Good mothers stay home with their children.”

“Oh, you won’t be able to do [insert activity] with us, you work.”

“What kind of children do you expect to raise?”

“Your child is so well behaved, you must stay at home.”

I could go on. Seriously.

Most of the time, I try to disregard the comments. I smile and don’t answer the questions. I change the subject. I suddenly remember that I have a phone call to make or an errand to run. I sometimes think of a very sarcastic response, but don’t have the nerve to say it or it’s later that evening and the opportunity has passed.

I work for many reasons. I work because as a family, we have goals, financial and otherwise. There are some circumstances beyond our control. And, it feels good to do something OTHER than mommying sometimes. I like being good at what I do. However, I know and my kids know that no matter where I am or what I am doing, I would rather be with them. They are my most important things.

I have had to give up things, too. I can’t do everything I want to do. I can’t do everything as perfectly as I would like. I can’t be part of everything I am interested in. All I can do it try. Give it my best shot. I decided that was okay about a year ago and dumped the mommy guilt. I love my kids and they know it.

And guess what? I would stack my kids up against any kids out there. They are as smart, as fun, as good natured, as polite, and as creative as many others with moms who stay home and moms that don’t. I have plenty of other things to feel guilty about, like, most recently, how often I slathered THE Princess in baby lotion or not sanitizing the paci after it hits the floor. Bring it on.


Devra and Aviva said...

We're cheering you on! GO! GO! GO!
Because at the end of the day, who do you live with? All of those judgemental people or your family? Who do they all go home to? Your family? No, of course not! So you are correct that people like that are just jonesing for a can of Shut Up Juice, but you are also correct that it is difficult for any parent who is interegated about their family decisions to feel strong enough to serve up that can with a smile and a side dish of understanding.

We are big fans of the phrase, "Thank you." Because when someone says something thoughtless why use our energy to be defensive? If the response is "Thank you." and that's it, where else is the conversation going to travel? We think it's a great dead end. ; )

Happy to see you've self-absolved yourself of the mommy guilt. This was an awesome post about how you got to your own realization that you are making decsions for yourself and your family that are perfectly appropriate! GO! GO! GO!

Donna said...


You amaze me with all of the things you do. Working mom is only one tiny part of who you are. Granted, it affects your life and the choices you make on a daily basis, in both positive and negative ways, but I hope you know how much I (and many others) respect you for the choices you make for your family.

And, coming from a teacher who has had the joy of working with your children, I can second the assertion that THEY'RE JUST PLAIN AWESOME KIDS!!! Working outside your home is working for your family, and you should NEVER have to defend that.

Unfortunately, I know it happens...I've been present when certain comments are made or have heard of it later, and it just makes me feel bad for those who think there is only one way to raise a great kid.

Just because a mom stays at home doesn't automatically make her a good parent. This parenting thing is hard work...what baffles me is how easy you make it all look!

Lots of love,

Bryssy said...

Thanks for the support! Devra and Aviva, I love the "jonesing for a can of Shut Up Juice." I am so going to have to use that, I'll be happy to give you credit!! LOL

Thanks for the compliments, too! Working sometimes tries my soul. Although, sometimes my kids try my soul, too.

Thanks for letting me put it out there!!!


Maria said...

Hi! I've been there, girlie! I know you are doing the best you can do everyday. That's all anyone can do, right? Hang tough and take one day at a time. Your kids are precious!

Cindy said...

Wow, I don't envy any mom who is making the decision to work or not, if there is even a choice involved. I'll admit I feel blessed that the decision was out of my hands as I was declared "disabled" after the effects of my auto accident in 2002, so I was already at home when the surprise of my life appeared. Being a teacher is an important job, just as being a mom is. Keep up the good work you are doing at both!!

Bryssy said...

Thanks Maria and Cindy!

Somedays are a real struggle but once we get into the swing of it, we all seem to do okay. I feel very strongly about homeschooling my kids so, my days of working outside the home are limited, if we can make it happen. It's our goal, we'll see if we can do it!!

Brystal :-)