Another interesting post caught my eye at the Work It Mom blog: A different shade of working mom guilt by Leah. Her post is all about feeling guilty as a working mom, for NOT feeling guilty when she goes off to an 8-hour work day at a job that she loves. Here is the part of the post though, that I am troubled by:
I think my situation is mitigated by three things: (1) I work outside the home only one day per week, (2) I leave my baby not with a nanny or daycare worker but with his father, and (3) I truly enjoy my job and find it fulfilling on a personal level (even more so than on a monetary one). I imagine that if even one of those factors were taken away, I’d be less enthusiastic about my role as a work-away-from-home mom, but still, I can’t be the only one who feels guilty for not feeling guilty about going to work, not even a little.
Why must Leah justify loving to work? Aren’t we allowed, as people and parents, and not just as women and moms, to do something productive in the working world, and actually like it? I felt so onboard with Leah’s post, until she threw in all her justifications. Because, of course, what she seems to be saying to all of us full-time working moms who do leave our kids with a nanny (as I am lucky to do) or at a great daycare everyday, is that we SHOULD feel guilty about leaving our kids. And while I don’t think there is a mom on this planet that doesn’t feel guilty about SOMETHING on a regular basis, I do think working moms struggle with “working mom” guilt. I know I do. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love my job, and love what I do professionally, and love that my boys will know that women can and should do ANYTHING. I love that they will grow up with a mom that is a leader in a technology firm. What better way for them to understand that being successful professionally is more about hard work, dedication, smarts, and passion, and not whether you are a man or a woman.
I have to say that I feel sad for women who are working because they HAVE to. Women who are either single moms, or working in a 2 income household just to make ends meet, but HATE their jobs, and want nothing more than to stay at home, are the unlucky ones. They are the ones who have it really tough, because the CHOICE has been taken away from them. They have not chosen to work, they HAVE to work. That to me is the worst situation a mom could find herself in. I count my lucky stars that I get that CHOICE. I choose to come to work everyday, and I choose to work extra hard on my work and family so that my family and I live the lives we want to lead. I am lucky to have an ultra supportive husband who truly does 50% of the work at home. I am lucky to be able to run a company in a small town, where there is no commute, and life is simpler than the lives my friends lead in San Francisco or New York. I know I am lucky. But the thing I feel luckiest about is the CHOICE I have had as a woman and a mother. The choice to work professionally in a job that I truly do love and which I feel makes me a better person. Does this all mean I don’t feel guilty about being a working mom? NO! There is always going to be working mommy guilt in my world. That is just who I am. But I mitigate that guilt because I know I have made the right choice for me and my family. If I could wave a magic wand to end all the “mommy wars” between working moms and stay at home moms, I think what I would do is give every mom the CHOICE that I have been blessed with.