How I avoid guilt about being a working parent
As I read through parenting articles, blogs, Facebook posts and comic threads, it seems as though being a mom goes hand in hand with guilt. Guilt for working too much, for not working enough, for bottle feeding, for STILL breastfeeding, for spending too much time cleaning instead of playing, for not having a clean home, for every decision we make every day. Somehow in this ever changing world of female empowerment, we forgot to empower moms to feel good about the choices they are making for their families. We will fight for a woman’s right to choose, but we may also retain the right to judge her for those choices. I think that this needs to change.
I am a guilt-free, full-time working mom.
I said it. I spend 40 hours a week away from my daughter and I am proud of the choice I have made. Let’s be clear. I do not think my choice to work is better than those who have decided to stay home with their children or those who have found a different approach to work and life, but I have made a choice that works for my family and I refuse to feel guilty about it. Neither should you.
I have been blessed with a village that is a large part of my daughter’s life. She is cared for by her grandfather four days a week and he is not open to giving that up anytime soon. It is so amazing to see the bond the two of them have and to hear about all of things they are doing during the day. How lucky she is to truly know her grandfather and have someone to cover for her about just how many treats she ate in a day.
On the 5th day of my work week I have the special and unique opportunity of bringing my daughter to work with me. Not only do I get the opportunity to understand exactly what parents feel when they drop their children off here for the day and entrust us with the care and education of their little ones, but I also get to show my daughter where I am when I am not at home. She sees me working hard in my office (as she cannot walk down the hallway without at least saying hello) and watches as I interact with other children, parents and teachers in my role as the Director of the Kids & Company Edmonton Downtown. I have demonstrated commitment, passion and learning to be where I am and I am so lucky that my daughter gets to witness the impact I make on others and the achievements hard work can bring.
Most importantly, going back to work has made me a better mom. Not only do I keep up with best practices in the area of child care and development, but having a challenging job gives me a sense of accomplishment that I hadn’t felt since completing my last final exam in University. Most nights I go home ready to spend time with my family. I love to see my beautiful little girl running toward me or simply saying “Hi, mommy” if she is already sitting down to eat. I am ready to listen to what she has to tell me or to play with play dough or to read the same book 6 or 7 times in a row. I find I have more patience for her because I spend my day missing her and getting excited for our time together.
My loving husband is my partner in everything. We made this decision together and we have adjusted our expectations for one another to make it work. We work together to complete the weekly chores and errands, sometimes picking up where the other left off (unless it means I have to fill my own gas tank in freezing weather). We communicate our schedules every week to ensure we both get some time to socialize with our friends and are still together as a family most evenings.
My daughter is being raised to appreciate the unique choices we’ve made and the work we do for our family, in hopes she grows up feeling guilt-free about the choices she’ll make that are right for her. More importantly, I hope she grows up to accept everyone’s right to choose the path that works best for them free from the pressure of society to be or do something different.
Krystal is the site director of the Edmonton downtown location on 108 Street. She is happily married to her husband, Armando, and they are the very proud parents of a beautiful two-year-old girl, Carmen. Krystal and her family love to travel, especially in the United States to catch sporting events or to go to Disneyland 'just one more time.’