My daughter started school last week. I was surprised about how emotional I felt. Seeing her in her uniform. So smart. So ready. Time to let go. On the third day she got a bit teary as I tried to leave. She looked at me and asked, “Mummy do you have to go to work? Can’t you stay here with me?” My autopilot kicked in and I was about to respond in the way that I expect most parents do … “Mummy has to go to work Tilly”. Of course her next question was, why?
In that split second I made a conscious decision to give a different answer. Normally I would say I needed to go to earn pennies or the like. Which is true. But it’s not the only, and most important reason. So I said something like this.
“I’m going to work because I love what I do” She looked at me and smiled. She asked, “will I love the job that I do Mummy?” “Abso fucking lutely you will baby. And that’s why it’s so important that you come to school. To learn stuff which means you can do whatever you want” Bingo!! It worked. I had changed the direction of the conversation into a really positive message. Go me!
Now I can understand why parents respond with the words- “I have to go to work”. There’s a bit of- I don’t want my child to think I enjoy leaving them and going to work. I’d always rather them think I prefer spending time with them. But for me that’s not true! There I said it. Call me a bad mother if you like. I don’t care. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them. I believe I’m a better one as a result of the work choices I make. I love what I do. I’m fulfilled personally. Therefore, I’m happy. My kids see a happy Mum. And contrary to popular belief, our kids don’t suffer as a result of us being way from them. It actually does them good. They cope. The biggest indicator of that being tilly skipping out of school on her first day claiming “it was the best day of my life!” I day I had figured very little in. Good for her!
The other reason we may say it is because we really don’t like what we do. If your job provides you with little or no fulfilment, you will always feel begrudged or indifferent towards it. You may never say that you hate it in front of your kids, but but don’t under estimate how clever the small people are. They see how your body looks when you talk about it. They hear your tone and the language you use to describe ‘the boss’. They know you begrudge going. Through that they start to form their perception of what ‘going to work’ really means.
I desperately want to be a good role model for my kids. I want them to see me work hard and how happy it makes me. That I am a better person for being fulfilled in what I do every day. I want them to have choices. I want them to find their true purpose and what I don’t want is for them to think that having a career, going to work, is a means to an end. A chore. I don’t want them to settle for a job that doesn’t provide them with that.
So guilt is an emotion I will no longer let myself indulge in. It’s pointless. No one benefits from it. And actually the overwhelming evidence tells me my daughter is a flaming superstar and I for one won’t allow my guilt to get in her way.
So if you’re a parent who feels the daily guilt, consider this:
• We are allowed to be people. Having kids does not change this
• It not about how much time we spend with them, rather what you do with the time that counts
• Absence makes the heart grow fonder- time spent way from them makes us realise how important they are to us
• Talk about work in a positive manner, even if you hate it
• Failing that find a career that provides you with meaning and go for it!
In essence. Love what you do. Choose to do something that makes you happy. It’s infectious. Your kids will thank you for it. If you’d like to find your true purpose and path to self fulfilment, join our members club www.ladieslifelounge.com