Monday, March 9, 2009

Mom-Guilt

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?

4 comments:

Frank J said...

Interesting post...

I wonder how I'd cope if I ever became a SAHD.. not contributing financially would kill me most for sure... I'd probably run a home office instead.

ah well - I look forward to seeing what other comments come through

allie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirsty said...

Allie - your days as a SAHM sound idyllic! Nowadays - being a SAHM is a fulltime job in itself! (As you would have gathered from my last post - trying to keep up with the yummy mummy's)

I think a moms guilt is universal - regardless of whether she stays at home to raise the kids, or goes to work to earn a crust! We.Always.Feel.Guilty!! About something. Even though we shouldn't!
From a personal point of view - the
part-time work thing works for me! I couldn't be a full time mom, because I think I would become a bad mommy and just shout at my kids all day out of pure frustration! I need the mental stimulation and adult conversation that my job as a physio provides!
BUT - I could NOT work full time! Because then the guilt would just consume me and I would be a pathetic physio and a bad mommy!
Dare I say I think I have the perfect balance for me?? I drop my oldest off at school in the morning, then drop my middle one off at nursery school (baby stays at home) - then I nip into the practice, see 3-4 patients, then I pick up Madam from nursery, Little lord from school, dash home to see baby - and then moms taxi round for the afternoon begins... and at night: I fall into bed exhausted!
Sorry - got carried away here, you probably didn't want sooo much info!!! xx

Lynette said...

That is the most important job in the world...if I look at Mel you did a great job!