This one is for all the full-time work away from home mommies…. I know I am not alone.
Behind every great kid is a Mom who’s pretty sure she is screwing it up.
Ok, so I didn’t come up with those pearls of wisdom neither do I know who to give credit to, but it is really so true for all of us mothers especially myself whom I place 100% right upfront in the queue where these feelings of self-doubt as a Mother are concerned.
Before we have our children or even become pregnant for that matter, we as humans and Woman are super self doubting as a general rule of thumb, and that just filters over into our role as wife, mother multiplied and amplified by double.
This for me has been a constant since I have had children, because mine for the most part have been in some form of Creche or school from a very early age, and there are always concerts and fund-raisers,outings,sports events or bake sales that I am not able to either attend, or get involved in because I work a full day.
I have no or little flexibility where these things are concerned, and this really does irk me.
Why does it irk me you ask?
Not because I have to work no, it irks me because, mainly it would seem, I am one of a very small hand-full of mothers with school going children (Well in our school anyway) that actually have to go out and work, and for lack of a better description I often feel, by way of silent glares or odd statements from the other portion of ladies, that I am failing my role as a mother by not getting stuck in and “being there for my child”.
I don’t think anybody that doesn’t work full-time away from home will have any concept or appreciation of the huge amount of mommy guilt attached to the school concert for instance!
Whenever there are events that need parent contribution or co-ordination or say for instance when the class representative is being selected, I can never put my hand up, because all those tasks that involve such a person always need to happen in morning hours during the week. I can’t count money on a Monday morning at 9 am after a big sport weekend or a Friday Bake sale, I can’t drive my daughter to her various sports matches at other schools during weekdays and I rely on other moms to take her and bring her home just so that she can take part and actually be a part of the A/B team of the sports she really does excel in.
I can however contribute to the school bake sale but I find myself baking cupcakes at 10pm on a Thursday night and trying to make them look decent or bagging popcorn with ribbon, because those are the easiest things to make that I had found on the list of options the school sent, and that I knew I would probably be able to get done without having to go and buy it at woolies. Also then I don’t need to run into the school kitchen like a rogue spy and place it in a not so precarious position so as not to be noticed as being shop-bought by me.
Mommy guilt much?
There is a beautiful movie that came out some time ago which really had me rolling around on the floor in tears and fits of laughter and it is called “I don’t know how she does it” It stars Sarah Jessica Parker as the working mother and it is just an entire recount of the plight of the Full Time working mom. If you are a working mother you should watch it and if you are a stay at home or work from home mother you really should be watching it too because it says so poignantly what the full-time working mother is dealing with.
We love our children no less or want no less for them just because they are not with us 24/7 and we either are forced to or choose to work a full day away from the home. So please try be a little more considerate in your remarks or requests. Could there not possibly be more scope to include the working mother, things they could take home and do in the evenings perhaps? #justsayin
Case in point: Bi-Annual school Revue show.
So this my daughter’s very first revue and she is just so excited to be in it. She has a dance part in the class portion, but was also selected as one of the singers on the music recording for the pieces her grade is doing. This is a really big thing for her and she beams from ear to ear when she talks about it. Thing is I am not involved in any of it. All the “behind the scenes” arrangements are happening in times when I just am not able to be a part of it. So besides sending money for the costumes that’s about it.
Can you say GUILT?
There is a WhatsApp group of all the moms in the grade and besides one other person on there who also works it seems I have nothing to offer besides a financial contribution and a word of praise and thanks to the moms who are “doing so much”. I really feel for my daughter on this, she keeps coming back to me asking me if I know how the costumes look, or if I am going to the costume meeting… again on a weekday morning, and also if I will be able to come and watch the dress rehearsals. Then I have to say I can’t and that makes me feel so guilty.
The WhatsApp messages look a little something like this.
Each time I am added to a communication group like this I really just want to shrivel up and die. I guess I should be thankful they are still adding my name at all.
This post is not a dig at Stay at home or Work from home moms. We all have different ways to parent. And I am sure there are plenty of moms on the opposite side of the spectrum that are saying us working moms make them feel guilty for various things. I am not naive, I know this is often the case.
All I am really trying to do is affirm to myself and other working moms that we do not need to feel guilty at all, and that we are doing our very best where we can with what we have.
I truly hope that one day my daughter will look back and not think “My mother was never there for me” or feel embarrassed that I couldn’t do the donut or tea/coffee sales that time they played away for a sports match, or that my contribution to the bake sale was stale popcorn in jiffy bags, because it was made the night before, and didn’t get a chance to breathe before being tied up in a bag….
I apologise on behalf of working mothers everywhere to the children out there that are handing over their R2.50 for our stale popcorn. I promise, it was made with love.
I don’t have any benchmark to go by really. My own mother stayed home with us for the most part but sometimes she did need to out to work, and unfortunately I remember those times the most because I really resented her for it. I do also remember her being there for us always no matter what and she still is and I hope this is the case with my children rather than resentment.
At the same time as all of this I also would like to say how I do admire the mother that chooses to stay at home with her children, even more so the homeschooling mother and work from home mother. My husband is a Work from home Dad so trust me when I say I know how hard that can be. It is in a league all of its own where patience is concerned.
So what are your thoughts on this. How do you deal with Mommy guilt? Is it as real for you as it is for me? I would love to talk to you about it. Please leave a comment so that I can engage with you and share this postto working mothers all over so that they know they aren’t alone. You can do this by clicking one of the social network icons at the bottom of the post.