Merriam-Webster defines guilt as a feeling of culpability for offenses. This week I define guilt as a quivering lip and watery eyes of a sick child you leave as you head out the door to work as well as the utterly crappy feeling you have as you sit at your desk. At the first sniffle or cough, I will be the first one to call out sick and take care of my daughter. Unfortunately, the year got off to a rough start for my family health-wise, so I’ve used the majority of my sick time within just the first three months of the year. That’s lead me to ration the remainder of my days and feel like the worst mother of the year in the process. Even though I know she’s in Grandma’s loving arms while I’m at work, I still feel like I should be the one home with her.
When I was growing up, I can’t remember a time when my mom didn’t stay home with me when I was sick. But, as we all know times were different thirty plus years ago. Moms have it tough today when it comes to the work-home balance. It’s an age-old debate, should moms stay at home or work? Can they do both successfully? Dr. Phil and Oprah have tried to dissect this issue like a high school lab rat, and even they can’t find the right answer! I can’t speak for the stay-at-home moms, but as a working mom, I can tell you there are days when it just plain old sucks, especially when your kid is sick. Some may say, it”s easy, just stay home.
Sometimes you can’t and other times you put so much pressure on yourself you feel like you can’t. I think the later is worse. Sometimes you worry about what your employer or co-workers will think. Those without kids may think, oh here she goes again taking another day off. Any parent with a sick kid will tell you, it’s not a “day off”. A day off is a day at the spa, not cleaning up snot or poop and trying to translate what your crying child needs at every second. But,it comes with the territory.
I think the guilt trip we put ourselves through as mothers is far worse than anything anyone else will do to us. At times, we try to be all things to all people and get wound up with obligations and what we think we should do. We forget to listen to our hearts and do what’s best for us. I know you would find me guilty of this one. Sometimes you just have to put down your keys and follow your heart and that runny nose for a day or two. But, sometimes following your heart isn’t so easy. What’s your take on it all?