Mum Guilt isn’t something I usually buy into. Most of the time I just accept I’m doing the very best I can. The kids are happy and healthy and yes they could probably do with a better balance of vegetables vs Nutella but most of the time we’re doing ok.
However, there is one time where the Mum Guilt really does bite.
As a freelancer and someone who works from home, it can be really difficult to switch off from work. I need to get things done and for the most part I manage to fit this in around our family life – during the day when the kids are at school (presuming I’m not teaching myself), the evenings once the kids are in bed – but there’s plenty of times when I need to finish a blog post, reply to an email or take a phone call while the kids are there – the school holidays have been killer for this.
And then I feel the guilt.
They ask for a drink, a snack, for me to help them with something and I respond with;
“Just let me finish this message”
“Just let me send this email”
“I’ve just got to get this work done”
“In a minute . . . “
And then I think, they shouldn’t have to wait, I should be doing those things for them, concentrating on them and being present.
But . . . if I didn’t do it I’d be teaching full time and bringing school work home – so that would be even worse.
And so I make deals. I make deals with the kids that if they let me get my work done in the morning, we can go out to the park in the afternoon, or that if we got to the cinema first thing, I’ll need a couple of hours at my laptop after lunch. I make deals with myself, that I’ll only reply to emails during certain hours or that I’ll put my phone away in a drawer for the afternoon and catch up later. I remind them that if I don’t keep up with my work, they wouldn’t benefit from the lovely experiences that it brings. I remind myself that if I wasn’t working from home around our family life, I would be in the considerably less flexible position of teaching full time.
Working from home definitely does bring with it a heavy dose of Mum Guilt – but I know it’s the right choice for our family and I just have to try and maintain a balance that works for us.