Gimme a kiss. I’m goin’ to work(!)

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‘Embracing Working Momhood without (too much) guilt’

It’s been ages since I felt guilty about working. Nowadays, I’m much more likely to feel guilty about not working. You know, whiling away my afternoons on a chaise longue (which Google, for some reason wants to correct to chaise ‘lounge’) in a filmy peignoir, flipping through trashy magazines while nibbling on chocolates bought with The Dude’s hard-earned money. (Actually, my non-working afternoons are more likely to be spent in the company of SoftScrub.)

But, back when The Child was an actual child, I used to feel guilty about working. My guilty feelings weren’t so much about leaving her adorable self in the care of others (though she was pretty darned adorable, as you can see):

Super-adorable Baby Child, about to be left by Heartless Selfish Mother (Me)

Super-adorable Baby Child, about to be left in the care of Another Person, not her Heartless Selfish Mother (Me)

Nope. My guilty feelings arose because I, um, actually preferred going to an actual workplace and interacting with other adults to hanging around all day with a pre-verbal non-ambulatory person, adorable though she might be. As you may already know from reading some of my other stories, like ‘Gone Baby Gone’, I used to say ‘Hey, if didn’t enjoy getting down on the floor to scribble with crayons before I had a child, what makes anyone think I’d enjoy it now?’

But even I, a Mom Who Basically Preferred Adults, felt pretty bad when I thought about Someone Else being there when The Child took her First Steps or spoke her First Words. (Though I didn’t feel too bad about taking a pass on the First Tantrum.)

The Dude on Dad Duty. Decidedly not feeling guilty

Do Dudes feel Dad Guilt? Not if they’re not working, it would seem

But guilt is guilt. And I guess Working Moms are just hardwired to feel it. But here’s the deal. (And now I’m going to share something wise and wonderful I read somewhere when my Personal Child was small): Whether you’re feeling guilty because you don’t want to go to work, or feeling guilty because you do — you don’t want your child to feel it.

How many times have you heard a Mom say (usually while her kid is clinging to her leg and weeping), ‘Mommy would love to stay here with you, but she has to go to work so she can earn money to buy you food and toys.’

Sheesh. Think how that makes a kid feel. Like Mom could stay home and relax if he or she did not exist. Talk about guilt.

Instead, here’s the advice I read (and tried to follow): Every morning on your way out the door, grab your kid, give her a big squeeze and say ‘Gimme a kiss. I’m going to Work!’ — and say that last word the same way you’d say ‘DisneyLand!‘ (Dads can profit by this advice, too, as you can see by the happy leave-taking photo at the top of this post.)

Try your darnedest to make Work seem like the most delightful place any grownup can possibly go. Because, unless your child grows up to be the Fourth Mrs. Donald Trump, someday she’ll be going to work too. And, trust me, as the parent of a fully-grown gainfully-employed Child (whose birthday is tomorrow), that’s a truly wonderful thing.

New York City. March 2016

 

 

20 thoughts on “Gimme a kiss. I’m goin’ to work(!)

  1. Your words are so true. My daughter is almost 11 and in her life I have been all versions of mother, from stay at home, to receiving benefits, to doing voluntary work, to doing paid work…and now I’m back to stay at home with a little bit at work at home too. And GAWD whatever I do I feel guilty! Why is that?

    • Oh, Em! I feel your pain! I think no matter what, Moms feel guilty. Comes with the territory (!) My daughter made it to 26 and, luckily, is doing more than fine. But I still find things to feel guilty about. Thanks for the comment, and hang in there — eleven can be a tough age, or at least it was in my house!

      • Awww, well thank you. She’s the apple of my eye, she’s a relatively easy going mini teen at the moment…at the moment 😉 her little brother is 2 on Monday though…so there’s that…😥😂

        • Wow! So jealous that you have two. We got a very late start, had our daughter the year we both turned 40, and couldn’t manage to produce another. Which is kinda sad since we both grew up in sibling-stuffed households. But hey — so grateful for the One We Got! Enjoy your family, and your weekend, Lovely Em!

  2. I’m not a mom, but I will file this advice away for someday! You’re so right–and please, dear Lord, do NOT let my child become the fourth Mrs. (or Mr., who knows, really?) Donald Trump.

    • Love this comment — so glad you spoke up, even tho you are not a mom! Funny, isn’t it, that I wrote this post a year ago. When any remarks about Trump were taken as jokes. Still are, I suppose, only now they are SCARY jokes.

  3. Ellen Fulton

    My comment was indeed memorable, but I can’t remember it. All to do with the Drama of Mommy Guilt. Times do change!

    • So sorry I lost your comment, Ellen. I bet it was indeed a good one! As for Mommy Guilt, whatever you did you did it wonderfully (and probably not too guiltily) because your kids turned out darned fabulous!

  4. Hi Alice,
    Your baby looks like you. Thank you for visiting my site today and attending my Meet and Greet. I have them every other Saturday as well as eight additional networking events each month. If you are interested, I encourage you to subscribe to receive notifications of my blogging events.
    Janice

  5. Talk about guilt! Somehow I deleted all your juicy comments, O Juicy Commenters. They were really nice comments, too. There were several about the surprise of finding that a chaise longue isn’t — nope, not even if you’ve been calling it one forever — a chaise lounge. Anyway. I promise to be more careful in future, since I really enjoy getting comments (hint hint) from my readers (even more hinting) xoxoxo

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