“You have to make a choice – it’s either your daughter or me.”
Fellow fans of The Office (U.S. version) might recognize that quote as one of Kelly Kapoor’s crazy approaches to relationship management. Spoiler: Daryl make the right choice. The second quote belongs to him.
Last week, I attended a conference where the closing speaker was none other than Kelly IRL, Mindy Kaling. Among her many accolades, Mindy’s a writer and a first-time mom, so she and I have lots in common (yes, I’m being intentionally absurd with that statement).
Another thing we have in common – along with virtually every other mother in the world? Mom guilt.
What is Mom Guilt?
Non-technically speaking, mom guilt is the phenomenon of moms feeling guilty about doing anything that doesn’t involve being a mom. Working mom guilt, workout mom guilt, dinner with your girlfriends mom guilt, going to the bathroom alone mom guilt – really, nothing’s off-limits here.
In a world where fathers are doing more to split parenting and household duties (or I’m just lucky and my husband kicks ass in this arena), along with the world shoving “self-care” down our throats, it’s kind of crazy that mom guilt still exists. But it’s real.
And it’s no longer just for moms. I know many fathers out there feel the dad guilt from time to time.
A Different Perspective
At the end of Mindy’s talk, she opened the floor to audience questions. One woman, another new mom, asked her how she deals with feelings of mom guilt for being such a badass working mother.
Her response was one I’d never heard before, yet it was obvious, while also being super real.
In not these exact words, Mindy basically said that she reminders herself that her mother worked and how much she admired her for doing that. There were nights she wouldn’t see her mom but she was proud of her for working.
That really resonated with me.
I have no idea what kinds of things my son will find cool when he grows up, but I hope that these things, these things that sometimes give me #momguilt, make him proud. I hope the fact that I pursue these other things in life, that I work hard to enjoy life and be happy, I hope he’s proud of his mom.
Of course, this will never erase the mom guilt. Hell, I sometimes even get wife guilt for many of these same things, even though I’ve learned that getting up early is the best way to fit it all in.
But I’m going to start viewing it through a different lens, one that reminds me the life I have outside of my family is one where they – hopefully – are proud of me.
Okay, moms and dads – spill it. Tell me what gives you the guilt, but now spin it and tell me how those things can be good examples for your children. The comments are all yours so please share.