It has been 20 seconds since I last “guilted.” I know I’m not the only one out there with this problem. Right now, a lot of you are feeling the same way.
For our daughter, she has a dad that stays home with her and a mom that “brings home the bacon.” I have to make sure I stand back and not critique the fact that some days they watch Baby Einstein seven times in a row. Or that she ate animal crackers for breakfast. And lunch. Their uninterrupted time together gives me the ability to have my own time together. After dinner, he does the dishes, and we go upstairs and play. So here’s the pact that I made with myself (and like a good diet/exercise program, I constantly tweak it)—when I’m home, I give her my undivided attention—we sit on the floor together, we giggle, play puzzles. If for only an hour, my daughter and I completely are with each other.
I remember reading an article soon after my daughter was born—it was an interview with actress Amy Brenneman and she was discussing her working mom’s guilt. Actress Tyne Daly told her, “You are teaching your daughter what it means to be a strong, independent woman. Never feel guilty about that.”
The minute I open the door in the evening, I hear the floppy running footsteps of a toddler, and a sweet “mama!” that melts my heart—she doesn’t resent me for not being there during the day.
My name is Heather Bartos. And I am recovering from working mom’s guilt.
Dr. Heather Bartos is an OB/GYN on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton.