Sometimes I miss my girls so much during the day in work… Today was one of these days. I was reading the online papers and stumbled upon a picture of a very young baby, with its tiny head resting in the hand of its dad. It looked so fragile and hopeful, the exact representation of the future.
It made me think of my girls so much I actually ached to hold them in my arms. Smother them in kisses, telling them I love them and snuggling together for an afternoon nap. I felt that I was wasting my time in work and really would prefer to be with them. I envied our nanny who gets to spend all day with them and knows them perhaps even better than Lion and I do.
I think every working mother gets that feeling sometimes. That moment of “work cannot really be that important compared to caring for one’s children ?” and “Am I where I should be ?”. It is an intense moment of doubt on one’s life mission and distinguishing what are the important things and the futile things.
It’s a feeling of guilt above all else, especially when things aren’t going as they should in the office. Even though I am back to doing things I enjoy at work, I have experienced very dark moments in the past months. Added to the sometimes humiliation and feeling of inadequacy and failure, guilt was sometimes overwhelming.
I deeply admire women who have a prestigious career and children at the same time. I do believe role models are important to help both genders achieve more equality in the workplace and at home. But sometimes and despite my best efforts, reading those stories just add to the guilt and doubt. The hidden message is “yes, I don’t see my children much but I am accomplishing so much that it’s worth it”.
How about the rest of us, who don’t have brilliant career (yet) and still don’t see their kids as much as they want to ? What’s the point of leaving your children with a stranger everyday if you’re not even achieving anything special ?
Do men sometimes feel the same way ?
Those days are hard but they pass. And after them I usually get a series of good days, when I remember why I am doing all this. And that is what I want to share with you today to help you in those moments of guilt. Because you are doing a fantastic job working Mummy !
You are fulfilling your career ambitions and are showing your children that they can be anything they want if they work at it
Your salary helps protect your and your family financial security and offers opportunities to your children.
By working, you can strive to make the world a better place. Secure the future of your company so it keeps employing thousands of people. Provide money-saving products to more and more customers. Foster care, commitment and fairness in the way your workplace treats its staff.
Even though working-mum guilt is sometimes inevitable, it’s the main thing standing in our way. Keeping it at bay is hard, almost impossible. Admitting that we all feel it from times to times can help us all support one another. And sometimes, rush back home a bit earlier to give them that that big cuddle.
PS : Stay-at-home mums, you are making a different choice for your life, but equally valid, and we working-mums admire you so ! You’re doing a great job too !