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Saturday

Working Mom Tip: Don't Be Guilty, Be Grateful

Enjoying the summer
Enjoying the summer
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”--Charles R. Swindoll
Everyone who's read this blog knows that I like to comment on articles that speak to me. One recently published in Slate did just that. It was an article about working mom guilt in summertime. There have been a lot of articles about working mom guilt in general. Indeed, some of my girls publish a blog called, "Working Moms Against Guilt". and, anybody who has been a working mom longer than a day understands that working mom guilt is an actual thing--no BS.


Summertime Generally Means Guilt for Working Moms


In the summer working mom guilt goes into overdrive for those of us with school aged children. The summer is when they have more free time; and therefore there more opportunities to make memories. And for most modern working moms, like me, we simply do not have the time to make as many deposits into their memory banks as we'd like. Truthfully, often in the summer we are working as hard at work as we are in the Spring, Fall and Winter.  


In Culpepper, Virginia at a chicken farm

In contrast, most of us have memories of spending our summers with our own mothers, even if they worked full time. Indeed, my mother was a teacher. So, during the summer she was there--except when she did some other things when I got older. My experience was not atypical.  Most women of my generation who had working moms had moms who were teachers. So, our summers were full of adventures--or at least supervision. Us modern working moms, we outsource our mothering duties to others in the summertime. We find camps and activities that commit to keeping our kids safe and engaged. The camps are great.


Still, outsourcing causes guilt, a lot of it... 

We Feel Guilty Because We Work And Others Make Memories With Our Kids


To compensate, working moms try to make the most of our weekends. We have managed to make some special memories this summer even though I have been busy. We took a family trip the first week my daughter was out of school. However, that week included my attending the United State of Women Summit sponsored by the White House in Washington, DC and going to New York City to give a speech. While I spent time with my daughter that week, the majority of her time was spent with my mother and sister. Even though I felt guilty, my daughter didn't seem to care that I wasn't with her. Indeed, she LOVED having auntie and GG time!

Since then, she has been at camp where she will be until the Friday before school starts.


Children at the beach enjoying the summer 

Other special summer memories include going to Presque Isle, swimming in my parents pool, attending the Three Rivers Arts Festival... We have had fun, but we have not had those endless summer days spent figuring out what to do like I did as a kid.

You may be wondering why we haven't taken a summer vacation. Well, the summer is my husband's busy season at work. For me, it's a bit different. I like to take advantage of available childcare opportunities. The summer is full of them. During the school year, there are fewer places to send your kid for school holidays and illnesses, so I am saving up my PTO days for the school year. 

Although my strategy is practical, I do wonder whether I am depriving my daughter of something.  I also see photos of other moms with their kids on vacations simply experiencing life and realize school will start soon and we have not had any extended family time. And possibly because I attended four years of Catholic school, I am inclined to feel guilty. 

Working Moms Shouldn't Feel Guilty They Should Feel Grateful


Although I am inclined to feel guilty, I rebuke that emotion and decide to be grateful instead. I am grateful for the memories we have made this summer. I am grateful to have this first world problem where I can spend time wondering whether the camps I have chosen for my daughter are good enough. I am grateful that my concerns surround whether she has ha enough beach time, pool time and leisure, and not whether I can pay my bills. I am grateful that despite my time constraints, my daughter and I have breakfast together most days, have enjoyed our weekends, and the longer days of summer have allowed us to spend more time enjoying one another than we do during the school year. I am grateful that we have the means to provide our children with a vacation at other times of the year. And honestly, I am kinda grateful that the summer is coming to an end and we can go back to "normal" where all moms with school aged children are running around trying to make the schedule work! 


Fortunately, Slate magazine heard my unspoken cry for help and published an article entitled, "Working Moms Should Ditch Their Summer Guilt".
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