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Raise your hand if when on a business trip someone has asked   you “Who’s taking care of your son/daughter/children?” Feminist  views  aside, do men ever get asked that question? Real talk? NO.

Working while raising children is complex for anyone alive and breathing, regardless of gender. Managing a full-time job and a full-time life requires a lot of dexterity, even if you’re lucky enough to have help. Add to that the expectation to give 100%, 100% of the time, a very real part of the Gen X culture.

Whether you’re hands on or behind-the-scenes, micro-managing the minutiae is always a balancing act.

We spoke to some GlitteratiMoms to get the lowdown on mom guilt. A lot of things came up, the common thread being presence; physical, mental and emotional.

“When you’re a mom, your kids are always on your mind no matter how close or far they are from you. It’s hard being in one place 100% You’re supposed to be with your kids on Wednesday afternoons but you’re thinking about work. You’re at work but you’re thinking about how tired your daughter is and keep forgetting to make a doctor’s appointment. You’re distracted and rushing out of work to get home and forget your groceries, another night of pasta for the kids.”

Presence and lack thereof; The major breeding ground for mom guilt.

Something all parents go through at some point is not wanting to repeat the errors of their own parents. Let’s put a pin in that and read a little bit of history on the dynamics of generations….

Preceding Gen Xers ( born early 1965-1980) are Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) - also known as the “Me Generation” – a generation whose cultural aspirations were self-realisation and self-fulfillment, largely in contrast to their own parents (Silent Generation born 1928-1945) who grew up during the depression and World War II, learning values through hard work, family and community, loyalty, religious faith and most importantly to earn money and be conservative. It’s no surprise that the modus vivendi of the Baby Boomer generation was “finding yourself”, when your parents grew up during the depression or have the emotional scars of World War II, you pretty much run towards the light, and light there was! The 1970’s were an era of new-age spirituality, self-help and self-discovery. And… the beginning of women striving for professional independence and competing with men in the workplae. The second wave of feminism was soaring and Momma’s started doing their thing, because they finally could !

Bottom line: a lot of those moms went to work, duked it out for work-place equality and let the nannies do the

heavy lifting.

“Having been raised by parents who outsourced all parental obligations to nannies, I knew I didn’t want to be that kind of mother. I am fortunate to have a husband who is very involved and values being hands-on. I work full time and travel. I have missed countless school events, sleep-away camp drop off and even Kindergarten graduation. Missing the milestones is heartbreaking. I try to take comfort in knowing that everything I do is teaching my child the importance of going to work, following through with obligations and what it is to have responsibilities. The trickiest thing is fitting in time for myself. Ten years into it, I have learned that it’s ok to make myself a priority from time to time. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary.”

And sometimes things are more complicated...

“My mother had a high-school education and went back to school when I was about 8, she worked really hard and went as far as getting her PhD. When I was young, I resented her, but as I got older, I respected her for wanting to be her own person and having a career. What I begrudged her was that there was no organisation. I rarely knew who was picking me up from school and often came home to an empty house, left to my own devices. It was very important to me do it differently when I became a mother. And I do. I work full time and travel for my job. I am fortunate to not only have a very involved husband but to be able to rely on a nanny who has been with us since our baby came home from the hospital and like a second mother. I make it a priority that my child never feels the anxiety and uncertainty I felt growing up and that she knows she can count on people to be there for her."

And then there are the privileged few who don’t have mom guilt, just regular old mom sadness. The moms that love going to work and relish in a 12-hour flight just for the peace and quiet (Ahem… Glitterati Founders). We almost feel guilty for not feeling guilty. Ridiculous right? Don’t misunderstand… We miss all the same things the other moms miss, the milestones, the moments. But we feel sad, not guilty.

“Once I’m in airplane mode, no stress, no worries. I feel free. The morning before my first meeting, all I have to worry about is myself, my only concerns are my breakfast, my dress, my shoes. I don’t have to call anyone about what time I’ll be home for dinner. I can focus on my work with nothing on the back burner. After two days, I’m still feeling perfectly fine. On the 3rd day I start missing him but still feel don’t feel guilty. This trip, my son took his first steps and I missed it. That stung. “

Sometimes becoming a mom when you're a little older puts the guilt in a different perspective...

“I’m not going to lie; I love a long trip. I was on this earth almost 4 decades before becoming a mother, it’s hard to break certain molds. I know that makes me sound selfish and like a terrible mom, but you know that saying “Happy Wife Happy Life”? the same goes for parenting. Happy parents, Happy Kid. What example am I setting for my daughter by being frustrated or unhappy? I talk about my work with passion and interest, not as an obligation. When I go away, I start telling her about a week in advance and we count the number of sleeps I’ll be gone. When she asks me why I have to go, I explain that I get to do what I love and sometimes that takes me far away. I’m extremely lucky to have a husband who takes over like nothing changed. We FaceTime every day if we can and it’s all good! I think it’s important for children to have privileged moments with both parents and create different bonds. I’ve missed some things, her first steps. I was sad, I cried, but never have I felt guilty. I’m trying to teach her that with a lot of hard work and a little organisation we can have it all!"

GUILT /ɡɪlt/

noun: 1. the fact of having committed a specified or implied offence or crime.

verb: 2. make someone feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something

We literally grow children in our bodies, put them into the world and then spend at least two decades working to ensure that they turn out as decent as humanly possible. Even then, the work isn’t done. We will never have a job requiring a bigger commitment than this one. Do your less than perfect parenting moments really make you feel how the dictionary defines guilt? Doesn’t that seem counterproductive?

Give yourselves a break GlitteratiMoms, do the best you can with what you’ve got and open a bank account for therapy, heirs, not yours!

Kids are more compassionate, more resilant and smarter than we imagine.

They love eating pasta when you forget the groceries.

They won’t remember who was there when they walked for the first time.

They probably won’t become serial killers because you missed a sports day.

They feel when people around them are happy and fulfilled.

They will remember the example you set and the person you taught them to be; quality, not quantity!

They remember joy and the love.

Most importantly, the next time a man asks you who’s taking care of your kids when you’re on a trip, tell them you left a box of cereal, an open window and a prayer!

#GlitteratiMom #MomGuilt #WorkingMom #TheGlitteratiEditorial

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