Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Mommie Guilt" - The Working Mother Paradigm

"Mommie Guilt" - The Working Mother Paradigm 

So the other morning I had a mini-meltdown..... I had my day all planned out... gym, honor roll assembly for Elle, into the office, have work done and leave by 5.  BUT, as my fellow Mommies know, it DID NOT go according to plan.  The 2-year old was still warm to the touch, she was crying inconsolably, and pulling on her ear. (We all know what that means!!)  But we had already taken her to the doctor 2 days in a row for fever; I had to take days off of work, and they could not find the source of infection. The combination of my day evaporating into a puff of smoke, the child still hollering, and me not knowing what else to do caused me to burst into tears too, while talking to the nurse.  The one thing that was clear was that Mommie had to pull herself together, take time off (again) and find the solution.  There is not time for Mommie Meltdowns!

In that moment, like several others, I felt the "Mommie Guilt" of feeling bad because the child is sick and crying, yet work (and working out) even dared to cross my mind.  Even though my NUMBER ONE priority is absolutely her health, even the thought of what Mommie needs felt like Child Treason.  Not to mention the double scoop of guilt I was served for missing Elle's Honor Roll Assembly to take the little one to the Doctor, yet again.  (Where finally the ear infection manifested itself & she got some much needed meds)

How as mothers and human beings do we deal with the Mommie Guilt?  Or better yet, why do we experience so much internal conflict for those few moments when our joy does not center around our children?  (Even typing that felt like "Bad Mother!)
I feel bad if I go out or stay out late with friends,
when I take a trip out of town or even a business trip,
when I'm too tired to cook so I get fast food,
when their hair isn't freshly done,
when I don't read a bedtime story,
when I'm too busy to watch their favorite show with them (AGAIN),
or if I miss any little function at school.
When I want to go anywhere without them I get the sobbing at the door, the begging to go, the poked out lips, and frequent phone calls and Face Times while I'm out.  But when Daddie is leaving, if they even notice, they enthusiastically wave good bye, no questions asked!  If we are keeping it real, do Daddies experience the same guilt trip when their decisions are not centered around the children? I'm going to dare to say NO....   (or maybe that's just my house)  Let's take a look at some scenarios:

Go out with your friends for the evening:
Mommie: "I can't go.  Who is going to pick up the kids?  But the babie has been sick, and I have to be there to take care of her.  You know the girls have to stay on schedule....." OR "I can go, but I can't stay long."  "Is it kid friendly, can I bring them?"
Daddie:  "I'm going out with the boys to watch the game."

The school calls with the sick child on the phone:
Mommie:  (Because we always get the phone call) - After evaluating how serious this sickness is- "Let me wrap this up and let my boss know, an I'll be there in 30 mins."  OR if it's not an immediate concern, we find a way to stay at work, but feel like the worse parent on Earth every minute that we are there & call the nurse frequently to check up on them.
Daddie: "Oh, you said the child is sick?  Is she okay?  I'll see ya'll when I get home?"

I could go on and on with scenarios that push Mommie Guilt into overdrive; however, the outcome remains the same, that Mommie has to always choose between career/ social life/ simple pleasures (ie. time alone in the bathroom, spa day, etc.) or having to feel like a "Bad Mommie."  And the kids are so conditioned to expect Mommie to do it all, that they learn to add on that extra layer of guilt. But how can we build our empires and compete with the men in the office when we are constantly having to make a choice between personal or professional, or suffer the stabbing, guilt pains?  But what you don't want to feel is RESENTMENT, which happens when you constantly put others' needs before yours then realize that life has passed you by.

My New Years Resolution for 2015 was to learn to CHOOSE ME.  It first sounded selfish, but I realized that a happy, sane, and composed Mommie has the mental capacity to take care of the family. As evidenced in the scenario above, I have not perfected this balancing act; however, I have learned to:
* Take time out for myself (for me that means a few hrs @ the spa, biweekly)
* To give Daddie some of the load without worrying (even Superheroes have sidekicks)
* Unapologetically make time to go places that I want to go. (near and far)
"Mommie Guilt" almost prevented me from taking trips to France, Rome, and Dubai, which I'm grateful I did not pass up!!  I felt so bad, and anxious the entire flight, but you know what, everyone was ok when I got back and I felt so rejuvenated.  This is not selfishness & that I have to constantly remind myself of!!  I'M AN AWESOME MOMMIE, but I'm also Human.... Everyone needs some time to themselves and should do some things that they enjoy.  We do that for our kids, so why not ourselves?

How do you handle "Mommie Guilt" and the Mommie/Work Balance?