Monday, March 9, 2009
JD and I were having this conversation about the guilt that moms have about their work choices. It seems to skulk around the corner no matter which route you decide to take as a mom. (Except if you need to work; maybe less guilt there because its a necessity?) I was the stay-at-home version so it's the only one I can speak about from experience. I remember that I sometimes got horribly frustrated and wondered if I would be ever again be capable of an interesting thought. I had some wistful moments when I wondered what I might have accomplished if I had pursued a career instead. And what startling and wonderful contribution to mankind I hadn't made because I was too busy changing nappies! I often felt useless and guilty because I wasn't contributing to the family finances. I hated it when some slick chick asked me at one of DH's work functions what I "did", having to tell her, because I knew the silly cow would think that meant I did nothing but sit around and read women's mags and drink coffee with friends (I WISH!) Besides that, I hated that she looked so groomed and 'in touch' with the 'real' world of business and important stuff - I felt like an ignorant lump next to all that. Felt guilty that I earned no money of my own. And hated that so many of our conversations went around: the potty training or teething of our kids; how lazy and unreliable our servants were (in those days that was BIG); what our husbands did wrong. . . There were no TV programs to chew over; going to movies was still as much a treat as was chicken for lunch, so that was out as a topic; no one was in the slightest bit interested in politics, sport, or foreign affairs (personal maybe, but not foreign) I was no better than they were; we were all stuck in this mindless morass of the mundane. But looking back now, I see that that was the actual stuff of life: the day to day nitty gritty and we were (well, I was) too dumb to recognize it. One of the things I admire about this present generation is that they are so much more aware of the value of right now. So many are making a conscious effort to prize the everyday. Anyway, the upside: I loved that I could use my time (what was left of it with 4 kids in the mix!) as I wanted to: no boss shunting me around! I loved that I could see every bit of all my children's unfolding; that I could be there when things were exciting for them and they needed to tell of it; and when things were going badly and they need to unpack that. I loved sunbathing and swimming when others were at work. And gardening till I was dizzy and coming into the cool house and collapsing with an ice cold drink for as long as I liked I loved that I didn't have to catch a train in the dark and pouring rain in the winter to get to work. I loved lots of things about being an at-home mom - and they sound silly but - those are the important things to me now. Any working moms out there who want to tell the other side of the story? What you love; what you hate; and what makes you feel guilty - or not?