Have you ever bumped into it? You know, the wall? The one between the mothers who work and the mothers who, well, work…. what can’t see tell the difference? Well, let me just point it out to you. One has a whole lot of guilt, and well, the other one has a whole lot of guilt. Yeh, a little tricky to spot at first I admit, but on closer inspection a painful awkwardness trips her up.
“So what do you do?” One mother asks another mother at a party.
”Oh I’m a lawyer/sales rep/teacher/yoga instructor, and what do you do?”
“Oh I’m a stay at home mother.” (Also known as “CEO of the family business”)
Silence, then guilt. ”Well nice meeting you.” Quickly, they both look around for a non-mother type, the one without the guilt dripping off her and leaving a messy trail for others to slip in.
From the moment of conception, mother and guilt become fast friends. You will not find one without the other. While pregnant we will drink in the bitter taste of guilt in a cup of caffeine and spit it out as we send our toddler to their room, and take away the car keys from our teenager. We invite guilt over after every decision we make to help us second guess our way through the next one. We all have guilt’s number on speed dial.
But I say enough! Whether we choose to shop at the local farmers market or Wal-Mart, whether we clean our own homes or get help, if we choose full fat triple swirl fudge ice-cream over organic sorbet, and certainly whether we work within or outside the home: enough!
I have this sneaking suspicion that mothers are our own worst enemies. Not only do we flounder away in our own muddy guilt, but also we prefer to drag a few others in with us (just threw that image of mud-wrestling for my male readers). We cake it all over ourselves, then sling a little more “her” way.
But today I ask all mothers (from whichever side of the wall we ourselves have built) to be kind, be gentle, be forgiving, to let it go, and for the sake of our families -go have a shower; that guilt really stinks!