I had lunch with a few fellow mom co-workers the other day. After some chit chat on schedules, sleep training, transition to “big girl bed” we got deep. One just said how guilty she feels being at work. She just openly said it. Not fearful that it might get back to her boss, or of any repercussions of it getting out within the office. I don’t know why I feel this is taboo to talk about. Maybe I don’t want my boss or higher ups to think if I have had a slow few weeks of deal productivity it is because I am dealing with things on the homefront (truth: that no matter how many cold calls I make or how many house visits, newly sourced deals take a while to come to fruition #keeptrying). (second truth: I am always dealing with the homefront, I’m a mother).
Anyways, we all have days where we struggle with this balance, this guilt. Some days it weighs more heavily on our hearts and minds than others. This has been an ongoing discussion in our house lately. I feel guilty for not getting to work some days until 9:30 because I choose to spend that time taking Olivia to school, where the drop off battle is just that, a battle. The death grip of my finger or sometimes leg, screaming “mom, don’t go.” (cue tears, by both of us). Other days I feel guilty leaving at 4:50 to beat the traffic to relieve my nanny, knowing I still have unfinished work, that, let’s be honest, is not going to get done that day even though I could plug back in after the kids go to bed, but won’t because I need those 2 hours to mentally recharge for the next day (and tidy the house / pump / scroll insta / order groceries / pay bills / do whatever necessary to keep our house afloat).
So what do I do on these days where I sometimes can’t concentrate because of the guilt? I let it happen. I don’t beat myself up. I take a few minutes to get my coffee in peace, let the feelings consume me, think about them and then move on. I do this periodically, as I run out to get lunch, or previously during my pump sessions throughout the day, I think about my homestead, my family. Reminisce through photos (thank you 256gb and icloud!). I find if I give myself permission to think about it, I use my time more effectively at work to crush it.
I also do what I do best which is plan. I plan fun things for us to do as a family - when we’re going to visit Santa, volunteer at a soup kitchen, go to the zoo, plan a vacation, visit a farmer’s market. And then, when I’m with my family, I’m truly present. Soaking it up. Sure I might miss some fun things throughout the day while I’m at work, and the way Liv is really learning to negotiate and turn on the water works. But I make up for it by being present, listening and trying my hardest to ensure my kids grow up with compassion, empathy, self-awareness, laughter and kindness.
Oh and I use a personal day every now and then to chillax. Oh, and did I mention I like wine? That tends to help me chill out too.