If a girlfriend told you she was feeling guilty about not feeling guilty, the two of you would share a good laugh, wouldn’t you? Still, there are plenty of working moms falling into the same strange scenario - they’re not agnst-ridden, with hearts broken and hair pulled out, because of the time they spend away from their kids at work or on business trips - yet maternal guilt never fails to whispers in their ears, “don’t enjoy yourself too much!”
This nonesense is completely self-inflicted, but so subtle, and lightening fast, we don’t even realize it. Besides just staying alert to it, other effective ways to stop, or at least muffle, the mommy guilt are all rooted in a good amount of high quality alone time with yourself.
Most of us, myself included until three years ago, don’t really take the time to figure out what success means to us. For me, it was going to college, finding a good job, getting my MBA, landing another good job, and racing up the corporate ladder. That’s what everyone around me was doing - people I loved, admired, and trusted - and it made sense to me. I never gave it much more thought than that, nor was I particularly unhappy. Instead, I think I was pretty much asleep at the wheel. That is, until I started looking at the people at the top of that ladder and realizing I didn’t want the life they had. I didn’t want to be on my blackberry during every family vacation, or helping my kids with their home work over the phone, from my office late at night. I also didn’t want to have to pay attention to the office politics or not speak my truth for fear of losing my job - and my big paycheck. Once I defined what success meant to me, and only me, then I became 100% more comfortable with the choices I made about my career and family.
My choice is only mine. There are other women who want the career I was chasing, and who view it much differently than I do. I truly support them 100%, too. It doesn’t matter what I think, what our mothers or co-workers think, etc. We can put mommy guilt to rest, and get on that next plane with delight, when we know at a soul-level what we’re doing and why.
What’s your definition of success? What choices do you make to support it, or perhaps, not?
Posted by momprenuer Phaedra Cucina, author of the children’s book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip.