I was recently interviewed by wamc, a radio station located in the Northeast. The host contacted me after reading one of my blogs and the subject he wanted to discuss was sleep deprivation in women. As we know, women don’t get enough sleep. We don’t need studies to tell us this, though they do. He had great questions: does sleep deprivation affect you on an everyday basis, does it affect you physically, are there things that you do to try to get to sleep and/or sleep longer.
Then he asked the one question that many people have been asking since the birth of my second daughter, who turned six months old last week. Why do you work?
I answered quickly: Because I love what I do. I know that you all understand this response, particularly if you want to be working and are working in a field in which you love. We work because doing what we love to do makes us happy.
I know that many people do not get this, though, and so I always feel a twinge of guilt when I answer this question. I’m not sure why. I don’t feel guilty that I work. I love to work. I don’t feel guilty that my kids see me working. I love that they know that I am doing something that I enjoy. My oldest daughter, who is now three, finally understands that sometimes mommy has to work, and that she works on the computer or on the phone writing stories or creating pictures, and that this is what happens in our home. She isn’t angry about it, and honestly I hope that in the future she will think about me and say that she is proud that I worked doing something that I loved. I hope that it inspires her to follow something that she truly loves, be it art, medicine, or some other field.
Yet there is always that flicker of guilt when I say that I love what I do. One day I hope that all working mothers can replace that flicker of guilt with a flicker of pride. We’re doing what we love while raising beautiful, healthy children who see us enjoy both our work and our personal life, and that is the most important thing.
Happy Saturday, mommies. Spend some time on yourself today.