entrepreneur, guilt, leaving your children, motherhood guilt, mum setting up a business, mum working for herself, mumtrepreneur, on-line business, start-up, working for yourself, working mother, working mum
I have to admit that I have been trying to steer away from this topic as it seems such a cliché of ‘working mum’. That said I wanted this blog to reflect the ups and downs of my journey to entrepreneurhood and this is definitely a big one for me so it seems only fair to tackle it. So here we go………………..working (but not really) mother guilt!
I am pretty sure that there is not a working mother out there who hasn’t / isn’t struggling with this herself on at least a weekly basis. Until I had kids I held very strong views on how important it was to be a working Mum, to be a role model to your children, to have a life outside of them, to remain an interesting adult etc etc etc. Like most of my ‘pre children’ ideas on how to parent it was all much easier without the real thing in front of me (for the record, amongst other things I also believed that kids shouldn’t watch more than 30 minutes of TV a day, should have treats no more than once a week, should never go on aeroplanes and should be able to sit in a room of adults quietly colouring-in and not interrupting the flow of conversation! It is fair to say that I have failed on all of the above!).
Once I had my children I followed all of the usual emotional cycles of never believing I would ever be able to leave them, through to recognising that for everyone’s good I needed to go back to work even if it was just for a couple of days a week. I went through the trauma of ‘settling in’ at nursery where I cried my eyes out, my son cried his eyes out and then we both got on with our respective days and (in his case at least) had a whale of a time without each other. Since then I have come wholeheartedly to believe that our time apart benefits us all.
Why then do I feel so horribly guilty this time around? Leaving my daughter is no worse than leaving my son, the big difference however is that this time I’m not really going to work (am I?). All of the other nursery Mums turn up in the age old fashion, all dressed up for a day in the office, looking pretty harried as it’s taken the organisation of a military operation to get the 3 of them dressed, out the door and to the nursery gates. They drop off with (fake?) cheery, slightly distracted grins as they transition into uber career women and start the re-focus of ‘get on the train’, ‘get to the office’, ‘manage a day of corporate life’.
If I’m honest, I feel a bit of a fake. I turn up (usually in my running kit so I can go off afterwards), all a bit slummy (less of a worry – my personal appearance was one of the first things to slide since having 2 under 2 and I learnt long ago to live with that!) and as I drop my kids off I get ‘the guilt’. All I can think to myself is “why am I wasting my time with this business nonsense and not just staying with you, which would save us all the time, expense and heart ache”? Somehow without the ‘real job’ I just don’t feel as justified. My walk back home (pushing an empty buggy which I can confirm is one of the saddest feelings in the world!) is slow and guilty and usually involves a silent pep talk on the importance of what I am trying to do, on how my new ‘work’ is just as challenging and justified as what I did before and how I need to pull myself together.
So there it is, there’s the honest truth of it. I think I am getting there, maybe this post is a little AA like. Now I have admitted the feelings I will learn to cope with them and be a better person (or at least a better mumtrepreneur)? I will keep you posted…..