Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Guilt from not meeting the ideal

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 6:20 AM
It becomes obvious when you talk to enough moms who are willing to be honest that not one of us “has it all.” This is an idea that causes many women to feel guilty and like they don’t measure up. Women who work outside of the home are often made to feel guilty because they don’t feel like they are spending enough time with their family. When they arrange things to spend more time with their family they are often made to feel guilty about not being dedicated enough at work. Or because they are letting housework slip. Or because they are not able to make healthier food choices due to a lack of time. I haven’t talked to many moms who work outside of the home who don’t feel somewhat torn because of how many directions they are being pulled.
Moms who stay at home, however, often suffer from their own guilt. They often are made to feel guilty because “all they do” is stay home. It is often expected that moms who stay at home are always available for whatever. They can sign up for this activity and that meal because they “don’t work.” They are made to feel guilty because they are not contributing to society or putting a financial burden on their family or not setting a good example for their children. They are often accused of giving up the privileges that women have worked so hard to get.
When moms talk about their choice to work outside of the home or stay at home things are often said that make the other feel guilty. I don’t think it’s done intentionally, but because there has been a debate about what moms “should” do, the reasons for making a particular choice have become arguments for everyone to make that same choice. When moms who work outside of the home say things like they chose to work in order to have an impact on the world, they don’t mean to imply that a stay-at-home mom can’t have a positive impact on the world, but she does. When moms who stay at home say things like they chose to stay at home because their child is their top priority, they don’t mean to imply that a working mom doesn’t make her child a priority, but she does.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Guilt from not meeting the ideal

It becomes obvious when you talk to enough moms who are willing to be honest that not one of us “has it all.” This is an idea that causes many women to feel guilty and like they don’t measure up. Women who work outside of the home are often made to feel guilty because they don’t feel like they are spending enough time with their family. When they arrange things to spend more time with their family they are often made to feel guilty about not being dedicated enough at work. Or because they are letting housework slip. Or because they are not able to make healthier food choices due to a lack of time. I haven’t talked to many moms who work outside of the home who don’t feel somewhat torn because of how many directions they are being pulled.
Moms who stay at home, however, often suffer from their own guilt. They often are made to feel guilty because “all they do” is stay home. It is often expected that moms who stay at home are always available for whatever. They can sign up for this activity and that meal because they “don’t work.” They are made to feel guilty because they are not contributing to society or putting a financial burden on their family or not setting a good example for their children. They are often accused of giving up the privileges that women have worked so hard to get.
When moms talk about their choice to work outside of the home or stay at home things are often said that make the other feel guilty. I don’t think it’s done intentionally, but because there has been a debate about what moms “should” do, the reasons for making a particular choice have become arguments for everyone to make that same choice. When moms who work outside of the home say things like they chose to work in order to have an impact on the world, they don’t mean to imply that a stay-at-home mom can’t have a positive impact on the world, but she does. When moms who stay at home say things like they chose to stay at home because their child is their top priority, they don’t mean to imply that a working mom doesn’t make her child a priority, but she does.

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