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Mama guilt, writer guilt, is it all the same in the end?

standard October 7, 2008 5 responses

Every morning I get up and shower and get the kids ready. Three mornings a week C’s preschool start time is the impetus for getting us out the door on time, but the other two mornings I sometimes wonder what’s motivating us to get up and out. I load them in the car and head twenty minutes north to their daycare where I drop them off and wish them a fun day. Then I get back in my car and I head home where I sit on the couch and…

Wait. What is it exactly that I do?

I putter online, posting blog posts, writing articles I won’t be paid to publish, networking, answering emails and job postings. I always plan to go for a run, or at the very least a brisk walk, but more often than not the time slips away from me and before I know it I have to jump back into the car to go collect the kids. On a great day I have one or two things to show for my time, on an average one I couldn’t tell you what I was so busy doing all day even if you tortured me.

I pick up my grubby happy kids and feel a twinge of guilt. If I have nothing productive to show for my day why wasn’t I spending it with them? Wouldn’t my time be better spent going to the zoo to show them exotic animals or discovering some neat laws of physics at the children’s museum? But on the days that I ignore the computer and barely get a blog post written I feel guilty for squandering the time I’ve been given to launch my freelance writing career.

If I were to pull the kids out of daycare a day or two a week and just spend time playing with them, would I feel extra guilty for not trying to bring in more money? I sometimes feel like I need to constantly be trying to find gigs or at least network so that M doesn’t feel like he’s bearing the full burden of taking care of the family’s finances. Other times I wonder why I’m not taking advantage of the down time by spending more time working on personal projects, my kids, or even my house.

Is there no winning at this game? Is the goal to find the perfect balance between work and play, time with the kids and salary earned? Is that even a tangible goal or something that fluctuates weekly or even daily? What if the road to that perfection is actually the road that leads to complete and utter insanity?

Have you entered the ModMum baby sling giveaway yet? Have you told your friends about it? What are you waiting for?

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5 responses

  • what we found in our research is moms feel the same amount of guilt regardless of employment status. So the grass isnt’ any greener on the other side of the fence, nor is it more brown. So down with those fences, and let’s focus on lawn care for everyone! there isn’t a balance for any of this, guilt is normal, debilitating guilt isn’t. As long as you know what spikes your meter, and ways to decrease it when it’s too high, you’ve got all you need to survive those times when life feels out of whack. As far as feeling like you’ve got nothing to show your kids, they are too young to understand how productive you are, but some day, when they are older you can show them all the stuff you did and they will know! You’re probably doing a much better job of all of this than you credit yourself. Rock on sister!

  • You just described my day to a T, right down to the running shoes that are still on- but not used yet today.:) But keeping something that’s part of who I “used” to be when I worked outside the home does keep me from going insane, and I think our kids will be well off for having a mom who follows all of her passions, not just them. Some days are easier than others, I know. This week my writing to-do list does not shrink…but it makes me happy to know I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do.

  • I have been thinking a lot about this lately. I gave up on a freelance career because I haven’t found anyone around here who makes enough $$ for much of anything.

    In the current state of the economy you would probably be better to pull the girls out of daycare for those 2 days. It is just my opinion though. If you don’t have as much money coming in, you shouldn’t have as much going out as you had before. Maybe you wouldn’t feel so guilty?

    You might have said this before, but how long have you given yourself to get this off the ground? I think following your dream is great but you don’t want to put your family into crisis to do it. You don’t want to look back later and regret having burned through all your money.

  • I think that is one of the biggest challenges with freelancing is that part of your job is always seeking to find more jobs.

    I think devra and aviva said it best – moms feel the same amount of guilt regardless of employment status. I compensate for my guilt over working full time with always making sure I focus entirely on my kid when I am not working and not working more than 40 hours a week. But them, hard to fit in “me” time and then I feel guilty for wanting that too.

    I think it is really awesome that you are taking the leap to do something you love – and get paid for it.

  • Dreams can only come true if we try! I like your post. Thank you for sharing!

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