The Guilt Monster



I've thought about this post, searching for the right words, for a while now. I'm not sure if I have them yet, but I'm ready to share. 

For those of you who follow me on various forms of social media, you likely already know that my small family and I traveled to the west coast last week. Not an easy feat with a seven month old, but we prevailed. The purpose of our trip was for me to attend a think-tank conference, of sorts, surrounding the effectiveness and implementation of a successful senior capstone project; nerdy school stuff, really. But we decided to tack a few days on either end of the trip to explore the greater LA area and all of her jewels. 

But the nature of this post isn't about our tourism, rather it rests in the balancing act of mommy vs. professional that took place during the conference. Chad and I arranged for me to attend the conference while he watched over Nora. It was understood, accepted, the "plan".  And then in snuck the horrid face of guilt. I was the only participant with family in tow. Every time there was an opportunity for socialization with collaborating professionals, a formal meal, recreational opportunities that took me away from my family, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt because wasn't the one caring for Nora. After all, I am her mother. 

This made me frustrated with the inability to understand why I couldn't compartmentalize these two very important areas of my life. My mind reeled with thoughts of starting a new, modern resurgence of a feminist wave that challenged the stigma around "working moms". (We don't, however, refer to our counterparts as "working dads", do we?) 

Traditionally speaking, decades ago, a mother working outside the home was going against the norm. While this may not necessarily be the case today, so much has changed, but, then again, not really. Mothers, no matter where their work takes them, still regularly make mind-boggling sacrifices and achieve amazing multitasking feats for one purpose: to give their family the best. This purpose doesn't change with a woman's 9-5 location. This desire of motherhood, and corresponding actions, is no cause for guilt. Rather, it is cause for celebration. I am entrusted with the life of this beautiful babe as well as given the opportunity to help financially support my family. It took me a whole week to reach this realization. Clear thinking has a way of taking its sweet time to arrive, doesn't it? 

So, my next step won't involve organized poster making or picket lines, but rather a plea to the community of mothers. A plea to rally around every mom, no matter her location of work (home, classroom, office), and encourage her. Remind her of the great work she is doing and pray with her for strength and peace of mind. 

How sweet will that day be?