On Working Through The Guilt In The Grey
If you’re reading this you may be anywhere on the spectrum of a full career pause or in the shades of grey in between a pause and fully working outside of the home.
I’m on that spectrum with probably a total of 16 hours working outside of the home on Mother Untitled. However I’ve been remarking off late that it doesn’t matter if you’re 60 hours or 16 outside of the home, at one point or another the guilt invades your sense of balance.
Bodie who is fully equipped with language can make it very known that Mummy is going to work and that he misses me when I’m gone. And it would be a completely ridiculous exercise to try and rationalize that Mummy reconstructed my worklife to be at home for the majority of his moments. And Lyla, the sweet thing, beams so widely when I return from my afternoons away that I still quickly calculate how many awake hours I missed with her.
Let me throw in the specifics on my particular strain of guilt - I choose to leave the home as I don’t work a traditional job for a significant income. Taking a cue from a very practical friend who said guilt is a waste of time I wrestled into a place a healthy mindset.
First, I’ll say I always admire the friends who are totally rational about the whole thing and guilt isn’t a factor. I am most definitely one of those fully rational humans. I love emotions, all of them, and I’m even ok with guilt. I think guilt has its place and the reason for which it exists. Instead of fighting it, I’ll take it as an occasional nudge to do the math on if it all still works for us or if I need to recalibrate on any particular day or week. I’ll hold the guilt as a reminder that I am a devoted mother who cares deeply about being a good mother. I always remember this - the fact that I worry about being a good mother means that I am one.
But the part two is as soon as I feel that twinge, I’ll look for my guilt’s counterpart - gratitude.
Because my strain of guilt comes from the feeling I do this for myself. But in motherhood when you give to yourself you give to everyone. So I remind myself to feel truly grateful that I get to walk through that door and see happy, engaged children and show up again as the best possible version of myself.
See, the guilt pales in comparison to the friction and frustration I was feeling when I didn’t have blocks to care for this business or my relationships and in turn care for myself. My patience was dwindling with everyone as I tried to get a post out while I rocked Lyla or when Bodie’s back was turned when we were playing trains. The exhaustion of no breaks to veg because I had a small window to churn out content or email was taking away from my enjoyment of the work.
The reverse is that for 16 hours I read again, I write again and I meet beautiful women when I can. I feel I create impact at home and in our community of women. And all of that gives me back an energy, a confidence and a gratitude that I bring home at 515pm.
On that note, got to go.
What’s your view on guilt? Your approach to holding it?