I don’t feel guilty for not feeling guilty.

So I was browsing Facebook in bed last week (bad habit I know) and I found myself feeling really angry at something I saw.  Now it is not unusual for me to disagree with something I’ve seen on social media, particularly book face, but this really pissed me off.  And it was the quote below …

“The obligation for working mothers is a very precise one: the feeling that one ought to work as if one did not have children, while raising one’s children as if one did not have a job.”

My anger was two fold, firstly, I’m so over this kind of crap that gets peddled on social media to make woman feel like the job that they are doing, whether it be at home or in business, is not good enough.  I’ve just started back at work after being on maternity leave, and boy was I ready to go back.  As with my first maternity leave, I felt like I’d lost myself, I’d stopped being productive and creative and interesting.  Don’t get me wrong, I know how lucky I am that I can take for granted the opportunity to bond with my baby and give him the start in life of my choosing, I know that not all mothers, across the world get this chance.  Having the hindsight of already having one maternity leave under my belt, I knew that it wasn’t my ‘real life’, for me real life is juggling the logistics of school and nursery runs, packing bags, drop off and getting to an office at a reasonable hour, and I really missed it.  Being faced with this first thing in the morning puts unnecessary pressure on women, making them feel like they should feel guilty all of the time, whatever they chose to do.  And if you don’t feel guilty about how you spend you day, should you feel guilty about that?  No you effing shouldn’t.  I don’t feel guilty at all.  I go to work to provide for my family but I want to work because it makes me feel productive and interesting.  Like any parent, I just want the absolute best for my family, but I’m confident enough to know that that doesn’t always mean that I have to be the person to give it to them. Sometimes I have to be away from them, but this means that they get the best version of me when I’m with them.  I want to be a positive role model, I want to show them how important it is that they can provide for themselves without having to rely on another person.  All of this takes a bit of work and, to be frank, I just don’t have the time to feel guilty about my choices.

The second reason that I was enraged was that this quote, written by a woman, most probably taken out of context, has been made into an image purely to be shared on social media.  It I s not inspirational, it is not motivational, it is not empathetic, so for me it serves no purpose other than to make people feel bad.  Yeah a lot of people will identify with it but rather than reiterate the negativity of the situation many women find themselves in, it should feel like a warm hug from a friend who whispers in your ear “Don’t worry, we are all winging it” or “Don’t compare yourself to people who look like they have their shit together, they’re lying”

So in conclusion I’m going to leave you with my own quote …

“You don’t have to do everything, what you do is enough.  What you do, you do to the best of your ability.  Accepting help, makes the machine that is family life, work. Your kids are happy when you are happy.  This does not apply exclusively to mothers!”

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