I swear, women can never win in any situation. If you’re a stay at home mom, you feel guilty or are judged/shamed because you chose to stay home instead of taking advantage of entering the professional realm. I can’t say that I feel that sense of guilt but I can imagine the judgement that comes with it. I however, keenly feel the guilt of the woman that has invested in her career, entered the professional workforce, had children and then returned to the workforce full-time. The guilt is two-fold to some extent:
- There is the guilt and sometimes the shame that you feel for actually going to work and leaving your child in daycare. I mean, I see my daughter an hour or two at most during the work-week (I see my son more because he can stay up a little bit later). And don’t get me wrong, we get judged a lot. I’ve been called selfish, abnormal, “not natural,” “bitch” and many other things because I’ve re-entered the workforce as a professional (I’m a lawyer). I’ve gotten called cold, hard and worse things by people that don’t live the lifestyle that I lead (which is in some ways traditional – I have two children, a house, a mortgage, am married and monogamous but is in many ways not – I am a lawyer, I have more education then my husband (7 years higher ed. vs. 4), I have my own bank account and earning capacity etc.).
- I often feel guilt for being pulled in two often competing and highly demanding ways – I feel that I have one foot in each world – the parenting world and the professional working world and am never fully in each. I feel guilty because I give as much attention as I can to each and, I think, do really well in each, but long to give 100% of my attention to one realm instead of 100% to one and then 100% to the other but never being able to give 100% to both at the same time.
- I inevitably end up having no time for Melissa. I barely have enough time to get up in the morning, shower, brush my teeth, get dressed and slurp down a half a cup of coffee before the baby gets up and needs to be dressed. I get to the office at around 7:15 in the morning and often don’t leave the office until 5:30 or 5:45 at night (I sometimes bring work home with me on weekends and evenings depending upon what I have going on and what deadlines I have coming up). I help either pick the kids up and play with them until we have dinner or pick them up and make dinner. Then we juggle either cleaning up and putting the kids to bed/doing chores. 3 days a week (or 4 depending on what is going on on the weekends), I’m working out at the gym at around 8:30 or 9 at night and then I roll home and am hopefully in bed by like 10:30 or 11, only to wake up the next day to do it all again. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! And I often feel really inadequate thinking about it because I often feel I’m not doing exceptionally well or even adequately mediocre in anything. I can’t be the only one can I?