Last week I posted about this idea that we are feeling so guilty all the time – for working, for date night, for going out with our friends – and I posed this question: Do you think we can ever totally let go of the guilt? It seems in France moms can – so why can’t we?
I believe this is an important area we need to address, particularly now as more and more women have to go back into the workforce due to the economy. We are feeling guilty that we have to leave our children in daycare – or that we have to work all night at dishes and laundry and we can’t spend quality time with our children even when we are home in the evenings.
I asked some experts this week what they felt about the guilt that most mothers feel, and if it were possible to let it go – and if so, how. Can working mothers and fathers step back, take a deep breath, and really let go of the guilt that we feel for wearing so many hats?
This is my goal for the next few months – to share with you ways in which you can let go of some of your guilt. And I would love your ideas and thoughts as well, so please comment on posts if you can.
Let’s be honest – we are tired at the end of the day! Sometimes we say we want to spend quality time with the kids and then we have dinner, dishes, bathtime, homework, and bedtime to contend with – and then the day is over.
I received numerous tips and ideas about relieving some of the guilt, but the number one tip found in almost every single email I opened boiled down to this:
When you are with family, be with family.
I’m sure you know what this means. It means:
- Don’t check your email every five minutes
- Put down the Blackberry and stop the texts
- Don’t answer the phone for work when you have family time
- Don’t escape to the computer for ‘just a minute’ – you’ll be gone for hours (if not physically, at least mentally)
- Don’t talk about work when you are having family time
- Allow yourself to enjoy family time freely – play dress up, use your imagination, shed the ‘work’ aura you have to hang on to every working day
Family time is FAMILY time. We call it that for a reason: Because this is the time we designate to spend with our families. Not with work matters, not on the phone, not sending an email, but with our children and our spouses/significant others.
Says Dr. Susan Bartell, “When you are with your child at night and on the weekends turn off your cell/PDA and commit your full attention to your child—be really present. As long as you do that, you are entitled to also have time for yourself, without your child(ren).”