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If there’s one emotion that working moms have most often, it’s guilt. I recently caught up with a colleague who just returned to work after a 3 ½-month maternity leave. I told her that I had been thrilled to get back to work after the birth of my son. Here’s what she replied:
“It makes me feel so good that you enjoyed going back to work, too. I was feeling guilty for not feeling guilty. It’s really nice to be able to do thing like go to the bathroom and eat a meal without another human attached to my body.”
We’re even guilty for not feeling guilty. Geesh.
So, what’s a working mom to do? Sure, we all know we shouldn’t feel guilty. A happy mom makes for a happy baby, so they say, and if working makes us happy, then so be it. But it’s tough to feel OK with your choice to be at work when you miss your 2-year-old’s hip-hop recital at preschool because it starts at 4 p.m. and you can’t get out early. Or, you miss bath time to with your son because you have an evening work event. Or you’re going to miss two nights of bedtime songs because you’re traveling for your job.
On the flip side, there are some things that I used to feel guilty about that don’t bother me in the least since having a baby. I don’t feel guilty when a full basket of dirty laundry sits in the hallway for a week. (It will get done eventually.) I don’t feel guilty for not catching up on work over the weekend. (Saturdays are for taking your son blueberry picking for the first time—not for checking a Blackberry umpteenth times.) And I don’t feel guilty for not writing thank-you notes in a timely fashion. (Well, maybe just a little.)
So, here’s to less guilt—and more Saturdays spent eating blueberries with my son.
How do you deal with working mom guilt?