being a mom

I’m Sorry I Made My Mom Feel Guilty For Having A Career

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baby boom diane keaton working mom

Growing up, there was one marked difference between my mom and the moms of most of my friends. While most of my friends moms stayed home, my mom worked full time. I basically gave her hell about it, because I was a selfish little twat. Looking back, I feel badly that I added to what was an existing internal struggle, and I’m glad that my mom had a career that made her happy. Too bad I was such an ungrateful idiot. I’m trying to be better.

In all of the important aspects, my life wasn’t particularly different from that of my peers with stay at home moms. It was the superficial things that caught my attention–I coveted the beautiful, highly organized lunches of my friends. My friends brought in perfect finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off, apples cut into fun shapes like stars, and each meal looked like it took over an hour to make. I don’t imagine they tasted any better than my regular sandwiches and whole apples, but those moms knew something about optics. I felt the same inadequacy that looking at Pinterest boards gives me nowadays–those kids has curated lunches. I just had lunch.

I envied my classmates whose moms functioned as “room moms,” volunteering at every event and coming into class once a week to help with some crafts project. They chaperoned every field trip and served cupcakes at our class parties, and I begged my mom to join them. She got away from work to chaperone the occasional field trip, but she didn’t have weekly free hours a week to come hang out in my elementary school class.

There were times when I was insufferable, and yelled “why can’t you be a normal mom?” To be fair, I was eight, but I wonder now how much that would have broken my mom’s heart to hear. I grew angry every time I was the last one to be picked up from school (which was often), and sat sullenly in her office when she had to take me back to work with her. I brewed with resentment over her job, and secretly wished the place would burn to the ground. I was an unpleasant kid.

Maybe my mom could have found a better work-life balance, but I’m pretty sure you could say the same thing about any human. You could say the same thing about me, and I don’t even have a kid to take care of. Even though she never considered the idea of not working, my mom has said that she wished she could have had a job at her experience level that allowed her to have more time at home, but there weren’t any options that would have allowed her to provide for us adequately. She feels like she missed out on time with us as kids, and it’s hard for her to think about. She wanted to be a class mom or spend more than five minutes on my lunches. It’s embarrassing to remember what a little shit I was about the whole thing.

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