A good friend of mine graduated from med school last year and is currently on her residency, working morning to night. I hadn’t seen her for months and finally asked her to have dinner with me. It was great, as always, catching up with her. I enjoy listening to what is in her heart and mind, routines, priorities, and stress points.
It came as a surprise to me to hear the word “guilt” thrown out multiple times from her, a woman with no children.
She felt guilty for not spending more time with her husband. I don’t anymore.
She felt guilty for not giving enough attention to her pets. Please, I can barely keep my kids alive.
She felt guilty for not being available to listen to her husband. Hahaha!
She felt guilty for not spending enough time with her mom. We are happy when we get a 10-minute conversation going.
She felt guilty for not making time for her friends. They left a long time ago.
Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.
2 “aha” moments left my mind blown
- Guilt is ingrained in women, parents or not, working or not. No matter, what choice we make, we will always feel guilt for the sacrifices that come with that choice.
- Maybe there’s a guilt free pass for working moms—kind of like Monopoly’s “get out of jail free” card—for some things other women feel guilty if they don’t do.
People automatically expect less and judge less because I am a working mom. We are given a break because there are many women who are struggling with one or the other alone: working outside of the home or mothering. We are given a societal break for doing both. Here are a few things I get away with because I am a working mom.
1. Mom doesn’t give me a hard a time for not calling.
Even if she does, I can get away with, “Kids kept me so busy.” She understands and even offers help.
2. In general, friends and family ask for fewer favors.
Favors like can I borrow your car while I drop mine off to the mechanic. Will you give me a ride to work today? Can you come earlier to help me set up or stay later to help clean up? Can you pick me up from the airport?
3. I am not volunteered to do “extras” after-hours.
Or due to the nature of my job, I can get away with leaving a meeting before it ends to pick up kids from school. Or take few hours off to go to school events. This is especially true because my boss is also a working parent.
4. Not calling back.
“Sorry, rough day with kids and a long day at work.” Is it just me, or do we just forget to look at our phones until kids go to bed? Also true during meetings. And it happens that when I forget to switch the sound back from silent after work is exactly when I get important calls and text messages.
5. Not having sex… again.
“Sorry, rough day with kids.” He understands because he can’t even survive 30 minutes with the kids.
6. Leaving parties early.
We often have get-togethers, especially with the family. I am usually the first to leave, because managing kids outside of the house is more work. And I can’t keep my eyes open past 10 p.m., since the kids wake up at 6 a.m. whether they go to bed at 8 p.m. or midnight.
7. Having unshaven legs.
You know the days you didn’t think about your legs before putting on a slit dress. Or even bushy eye brows on the days you go out with friends where close face-to-face interactions over dinner are warranted.
8. Overgrown gray roots.
I totally, although I am ashamed of it now, judged my med school friend for having overgrown gray roots. But I can confidently say, she wouldn’t have judged me if I was the one with the grays… because I am a working mom.
Have you ever benefited from a guilt free pass for working moms?