Grandma’s View on Working Mother’s Guilt

working-women-with-familiesAs a young mother, I worked full time.  This Grandma voluntarily chose to be a working professional at a time when it was not a popular choice for mothers.  There were many times when I came home from a long work day to see my daughters lost in the loving and nurturing arms of their caring nanny watching television and laughing together.  I felt jealous that I had not shared those moments.  But most of all I felt maternal guilt that I was a working mother.

Years past quickly, always too quickly, but I made it my business to be present at school and extracurricular events and chaperone field trips regularly.  This turned out to be an eye opening experience.  The other mother that regularly chaperoned with me was another working professional mother.  Yes, we were in a distinct minority.  We used to laugh and wonder where all the stay at home mothers were and answered our own question.  They did not have maternal guilt to catapult them to try to do everything, we thought.

However, this Grandma has learned from long years that every mother has maternal guilt over some aspect of child rearing.  Each mother wonders whether she has done enough to provide enough for her children.  Working mothers are not alone in maternal guilt.  Working mothers just kill themselves juggling multiple office and home jobs at one time, using every moment of every day to the fullest, leaving little time for themselves, because that is their only option.  Maternal Guilt!  Remember the saying to give a busy person a task and it will get done.  That is the definition of a working mother for me.

Today, my older professional working daughter told me that she went to my grandson’s school in the middle of her work day, upon his request and admonition that the event was very important and she should be there.  After his presentation was over at the beginning of the program, he sat with her and admitted that the program was very boring, but that she could not leave.  There were few parents there.  She said she had maternal guilt over being a working mother and stayed.  We laughed together over the issue of maternal guilt.  She said it never goes away for her.

Tonight, I realized that one should never say never about the end of maternal guilt.  I realized that I no longer have maternal guilt over having been a working mother.  I did enough to provide enough for my children to be the adults and mothers that I am proud of and respect.  I realize that I have been a role model, admittedly without intentionally trying, for my professional working mother daughters.  They have both chosen partners in life, like their father showed them during their childhood, who are nurturing and caring and loving to carry part of the load of child rearing.  They have both chosen nurturing and caring and loving child care professionals to carry part of the load of child rearing.  They are able to multi task and accomplish much at home and at work in the time they have.  Their children are loved and feel loved.  Their children are cherished and feel cherished.  Their children will too realize how much they have and have been given by their working professional mothers, as my children do.

The close relationship that this Grandma, a long working professional mother, has with her children was not hindered, harmed, or damaged by working full time.  It may be that it was enhanced.  It takes a village to raise a child is another saying well known.  We are learning that even very young children are thriving in the care of others while their mothers work.  Maybe when a village raises a child, the child is exposed to more varied love and more varied caring and more varied nurturing.  This cannot be a bad thing.

I look at my precious grandchildren and know that the maternal guilt their mothers harbor will also someday end when they too see the bountiful fruits of their labor as I do.   In the meantime, their maternal guilt is a good thing, not a bad thing, as it drives the mothers to use every moment of every day to the fullest to bring them and their children



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