I searched high and low for the definition of “mother’s guilt” and I really couldn’t find one. I read countless articles from reputable journalists and bloggers (like myself) and I came to the conclusion that “mother’s guilt” can be best described as: working women who constantly feel that they are not doing a good-enough job as a mother because they are trying to get ahead professionally.
Since returning to work, not once have I felt guilty. Not one bit. I feel horrible writing that – but it’s true. I have always wanted to be a wife, mother and a professional and becoming a mother was not going to stop my professional aspirations.
I felt strongly about this until I started preparing for my first overnight trip away from baby and hubby. I was heading interstate for one day and night. It’s like baby-girl sensed something – that I was leaving her. Yes – she was watching me pack my clothes, make up and shoes so she was able to put two and two together. As my over night bag filled she cried and cried and cried. She was inconsolable – the only thing that would stop her from crying was when I would hold her. Which was impossible to do because I desperately needed to pack and time was against us. My heart was sinking to my stomach as I fought back my own tears.
Her cries, her tears, her look of absolute devastation had me feeling all types of way. It’s then that for the first time ever mother’s guilt entered my life. This was a new feeling for me. Such an inconvenient time to pop up too, I was hours away from leaving them alone for the first time.
This feeling really threw me – for a moment I even contemplated cancelling the trip. I thought to myself “What if I just got a mind numbing job that would allow me to be a at my daughters beck and call?”
Deep down, though, I knew that by doing that I wouldn’t be true to myself. Once upon a time my job was my life. Even now as a mother my professional life fulfils me and allows me to make use of the qualifications, skills and experience I spent a decade amassing.
With that I pulled myself out of my feelings. I knew that sooner or later baby girl and I would have to spend a night apart, it just happens to be right at this moment. I mean, it’s not like I am leaving her with a stranger. She will be with her father. I imagined many different scenarios, but whatever happens when mommy is away they will work it out.
If we were to flip the coin to see the other side – I won’t lie – I am excited about my first chance to sleep through the whole night with zero interruptions. I’m certain that when I wake up I won’t even know myself.
Thank god for FaceTime! I will be checking in on my babies to make sure things are running smoothly.
I wrote this blog post as a reminder to myself and other women feeling the same way, so that they can learn to recognize mother’s guilt when it pops up. At the same time, I refuse to entertain it. Personally speaking, my mother worked when we were growing up. My grandmother worked whilst my mum was growing up and we are all fine. I want my daughter to see her mother working so she too can aspire to follow her dreams.