Reverse Your Thinking On Guilt.

By Tracy Evans

 

I have a confession to make. As a working mom I don’t feel one bit of guilt. Another business trip away from my daughter? Good, a vacation! Glued to the computer working on a script? Yeah, grown- up words! A television contract for a new show? Money, money, money! Working does not make me feel guilty. But not working does.

 

That’s right, I admit it. I have guilt. There I said it. Hate feeling this way, but it’s true. I have guilt, just not the regular old kind everyone expects moms to have. You know, that sinking feeling that makes some woman give up their careers and causes others so much anxiety they wish they could throw in the towel. No, my mind has come up with a different form of punishment. I don’t feel guilty when I’m working I feel guilty when I am not working. How messed up is that?

 

Before my daughter Natalia came along 19-months ago I was working at a good clip. As a freelance television producer I was usually swamped but every now and then projects would dry up. Back then, those moments didn’t bother me much but now that I am a mom any gap in my work schedule makes me want to pull my hair out. Just the possibility of a lull drives me nuts. And the more I fret about it the nuttier I get. I call it “reverse mommy guilt”. And right now I am in the middle of an attack. In a few weeks I will wrap up an episode of Forensic Files – you know the show that makes you want to play armchair detective – think CSI – but real life murders not make believe. Now, I’m sure I’ll line something up after I’m done but until then my husband better watch out because I am feeling a bit pissy. Don’t worry my daughter is safe. I don’t take my problems out on her - at least I don’t think I do. Actually, when I’m like this she wins because I am on my best behavior, “Okay, honey, you want me to read Miss Mary Mack for the tenth time today? Sure, come sit on my lap.”

 

Why does my good mood rely on a packed work schedule? Hmm…good question. Some days I think I know the answer. Other days I think I’m just making stuff up so I don’t feel like a basket case. Sometimes I feel like I’m playing “catch up”. Trying to make up for work I lost when I was pregnant, the additional projects I passed up when I was at home the first six months post-baby, and all those months it took me to get my career going again after moving from Philadelphia to

Miami . That could be the reason.

 

Or maybe I have too much testorone pumping through my veins. No, I’m not hairy or thinking about switching teams but I definitely think more like a man than I do as a women. I feel as responsible for putting money in the bank as my husband does. And now that we have a kid I want to have plenty of it for whatever we need. Plus, I like to make at least as much as my husband does – okay, I really like making more than him – but that hasn’t happened in a while. So the thought of missing a paycheck – makes me want to - well, I don’t even want to think about that.

 

deceo
03.25.09

Great piece! I too feel the need to contribute to the family income. I'd have a hard time taking an allowance from my spouse.

cjstaub
09.23.08

This was the perfect day for me to read this. I've been doing family/school stuff all day, and feeling guilty that I didn't use the time for my paid consulting work, which is sadly somewhat scarce. Thanks for the chuckle. Tomorrow is another day, and I am going to work. For pay. Really.