Giving up the guilt

Since I have started my search for the perfect job I have been considering how our lives will change once I am working. One of the specifications for the perfect job is flexibility as my husband and I want to share child care responsibilities. This has led to lots of metaphorical discussions along the lines of ‘if I started work early two days a week could you go in later and do drop off’. Obviously until I get a job and know what days/hours I am working no decisions need to be made so we are just exploring what might be possible at this stage. Interestingly though I feel like I am asking a favour, that the responsibility of looking after the kids is solely mine. I even thought that I would make the packed lunches the night before so that hubby wouldn’t have that task in the mornings!

I have read lots of articles and blog posts about the curse of the working mum, not just the practical task of juggling responsibilities but the sense of guilt that accompanies it.I have read Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’ recently and she says we have to stop beating ourselves up and feeling that we have to aim for perfection. I have been guilty of falling into the guilt trap recently and worrying about the impact of me going back to work especially on the children. When faced with an opportunity recently I even caught myself thinking about all the ways it wouldn’t work, why I couldn’t do it and why I wouldn’t be very good at it. I know this stems from fear and a slight lack of confidence about returning to work rather than reality. Anyway I have given myself a strong talking to and I am giving up the guilt.

Going back to work will mean changes all round – some of these will be tough but others will be great (like being able to go on great holidays!). I am lucky in that my husband is very supportive and is willing to pull his weight with the kids and house stuff. The kids have coped brilliantly with the changes that moving to a new country required and I am sure they will take this change in their stride to. The house might not be as tidy in the future and we may not always be able to sit down to a meal together but life will still go on.

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