For the first time in 11 years I am rid of the mommy guilt associated with being a working mom. For years I was constantly fighting my inner demons between wanting to advance my career and wanting to be home with the kids. I remember many times rushing home after putting in a long day at the firm. Later when I started teaching law, I made sure my classes ended early so that I could pick up the kids from school. This meant I had to leave the school usually by 2:30. Hardly enough time to get any work done at the office. I’d be home by 3:30 with a house full of kids and plenty more work to do. Of course I got little done between homework, making dinner, and getting the kids in bed. This meant I was usually up late getting my second work shift in.
It was an ugly cycle that caused me to question everything including whether my work-life balance scenario was really balancing anything at all. Some days I wished work was none issue, other days I wished I could stay at work. Even thinking about full-time employment caused me to feel that dreaded mommy guilt. I had to remind myself that my responsibility was to my home and my family first. Everything else came second.
Fast forward to now. My youngest is almost seven and my oldest almost 12. My kids are becoming more independent and I’m ready to put myself back in the working game 100%. When I applied for my new job with an ad agency, I knew that I would be working a regular work schedule and sometimes even more. This would mean a huge shift in our family dynamic. The Hubs would be responsible for picking up the kids and our 5:30 dinner time would be much later on days that I cooked.
When I got the job I worried only a little but I was secretly excited to be back in the game. No more half-days or days “working” from home.
My first week turned out to be so liberating. When 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00 p.m. came around I was actually excited knowing I was still working through my to-do list. I was focused, efficient, and loving working. I left the office with my work done, for once. I didn’t have to worry about getting it done at 1 a.m. in the morning. The mom guilt I once felt didn’t even surface.
I’ve had my share of crying at my desk thinking about my babies at home. Today, those days are gone. In the morning, I grab my work bag, head to the car and almost kick my heels knowing I can spend the day focusing on myself. I love being a working mom now and have no regrets about it. I had my time at home with the kids the last seven years. Now it’s my turn to work and pursue my career. This little piece of freedom I’ve found is liberating and definitely refreshing.