Here I sit in bed with my sick boy, again, watching an excessive amount of children television programs, again, and I’m feeling pretty guilty. I’m missing another day of work to nurse my child back to health and all I can think about is how I’m not at work doing my job. Instead, I’m doing my other job – the more important job – but I guess that’s not good enough.
My guilt is encompassing a wide area. It doesn’t just touch down on one thing. Oh no. It likes to wraps itself around a variety of areas to ensure I get the full mom-guilt experience.
To start off, I’m not a fan of missing work, more so because if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. But also because I don’t like leaving my job for my coworkers to take care of. I feel guilty for not being there as promised and I feel like I’m leaving my class high and dry (which is totally not the case, but that’s something you can take up with my anxiety).
Next we have the guilt over money. Like I said, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Money is a stressor for me. We most certainly aren’t going to go hungry if I miss work, but I do feel guilty when I feel like I’m not pulling my weight. My mind starts to race and I think about all the things we could have done with those couple of day’s pay. It sounds a bit ridiculous, I know, but once again, my anxiety takes the reigns and puts all these irrational thoughts in my head. It convinces me that I’m letting my family down. Thankfully the rational side of my noggin defends me by explaining that I am in fact taking care of my family by taking care of my sick child. It’s called parenting, I rudely say to my irritating anxiety.
Finally, I have guilt over feeling guilty over missing work when my son is sick. He’s only three and a half so I don’t need to explain why he can’t be left at home on his own. To rub salt in the wound, my boss and my coworkers are completely okay with the fact that I need to stay home, as they too are parents. There is absolutely no one telling me I’m wrong or that I’m failing. Nope, no one but me.
The working-mom guilt is a real thing. It’s intrusive and unfair. It’s invasive and irrational. It pulls you in all directions, causing anxiety and frustration at every turn. You’re never satisfied.
My number one concern is and will always be my child, and I resent feeling guilty about missing work when my kid needs me.
So, to the anxiety and guilt that invade me like parasites, you can’t fool me. Not this time. This time I know I’m doing what I not only have to do, but want to do.