I happen to have a propensity for guilt. Although I am not sure of the origins of this tendency to own every hiccup in life, I battle it daily. Add that I am a working mother of two small girls and this doesn’t help with my guilt ridden personality.
When it comes to being a working mom, I often cannot quite tell what exactly I feel so guilty about. Do I regret not having as much time as I would like with my girls? Or am I feeling badly about the fact that I like my job, that it satisfies a core part of my personality? If the latter, what kind of mother does that make me?
I would like to think that every mom feels just like I do but the fact is they don’t. I have some amazing women in my life who are strong and confident in their choices to excel at work and raise really likable children. These women are wonderful examples to me and their advice helps me curb the guilt.
Recently I had coffee with a girlfriend who is not only successful but is raising two adorable boys. I asked her to share insight on how she gets through the day without nagging bouts of self-reproach.
- Stop apologizing for your choices. Yes you work. Yes you like it. Yes you love your kids. All of these things can go together without competing (well most of the time-perhaps not when you have to call in sick because your 2 year old caught some awful version of the stomach bug). Change your perspective and focus on what a great example you can be to your children by modeling work ethic, passion, and drive. These are important traits to possess and who better to teach your children than you?
- Be true to who you are. Follow your own path and not a prescribed path you think is correct. There are so many ways to “mommy” children. Do it your way and you will feel better about it. I spent the first year of my oldest daughter’s life trying to prescribe to every sleep ritual out there. None of them felt right to me and none of them worked well for my daughter. Once I accepted the fact that the
I am not much of a soccer fan but I did watch the final match from the Euro Soccer 2012 championships between Italy and Spain. It was an amazing win for the Spanish side and a great loss for the Italian team.
Long after the match was over, and the dust had settled, what stayed with me, what lingered in my memory was the picture of the happy, smiling and extremely confident Spanish children brought into the pitch at the end of the game.
They wore with such pride, miniature versions of their father’s red jerseys and they pranced about in the open field and played in the confetti oblivious to the mammoth crowd on every side.
It was beautiful moment.
For the life of me, I could not tear my eyes away from these happy youngsters sharing in the victory and claiming their rightful share of the Glory. They practically took over the field with their ponytails and winning smiles. As I watched them, I wondered where the children of the other team were. What would they be thinking? Would they wonder why they were still in the stands and not on the pitch? Would they grasp the enormity of the loss and would they share in that loss to the same degree as their counterparts shared in the victory?
Daily occurrences mirror life and if we take note we can glean pearls of wisdom. . .
- What choices are we making?
- What are we passing down?
- What actions are we taking that might give future generation a heads up, an edge or an advantage?<
- What did you wish you had been given? Would you consider providing that gift?
- If we learned new skills and tried new activities, would it impact on those coming behind us positively? Would it encourage them to remain open to new knowledge and experiences?
- If we complained less and were more thankful in spite of present challenges, would we raise children with less of a sense of entitlement and more of a spirit of gratitude?
But I digress with all the rhetorical questions.
Bring your children to your field. Expose them as much as possible. Let them know and understand what it is that you do. Make them partakers of your victories and your losses. It will be an enriching experience for all concerned. Work and the home front do not have to be mutually exclusive . . . the Spanish team proved that.
Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it onto future generations. George Bernard Shaw
Photo credit: Eddie Keogh/Reuters
About the author: Tamkara Adun is proud to be a woman of HR. She has a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management from the University of London. You can connect with Tamkara on twitter @tamkara
It had taken several exchanges of emails over the course of a couple of weeks for the director-elect of MISHRM and I to agree on a date for a private Twitter-versity. We were going to spend a couple of hours together so she could learn Twitter from account creation to retweets to zany backgrounds. It was to be my first class since offering it to several people at an earlier MISHRM Leadership Conference.
The director was specific that she wanted to have the class before the monster SHRMAnnual Conference in Las Vegas so she would be fully prepared; we agreed on the Wednesday evening before the conference began.
About an hour before we were to meet I received an email from her canceling our class. Here’s what she wrote: “I’m so sorry. I admit defeat. I can’t do it all. Off to hospital to see my mom who has been in icu since Monday. I hope to see u in Vegas.”
Fortunately, I had taken the liberty of inviting some of my SHRM local colleagues to the Twitter-versityso the class went on.
It was only about 54 hours later when an ambulance took my husband to the emergency room and I was forced to cancel my trip to that very same SHRM conference in Las Vegas.
Later, reading the SHRM blogs and Twitter stream that I was supposed to be contributing to, I broke down and cried. I was reminded of two universal truths of being a working woman:
- There will be conflicts. When they are serious, family always comes first.
- Sometimes a girl just needs a good cry.
Then life will go on.
About the author: Joan Ginsberg, JD, SPHR, is an HR and Social Media consultant currently residing in the Detroit area. Her general blog is Just Joan and her blog for the over 50 crowd resides over here.