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.