In episode 17 I talked about how us working mothers need to say "Shut up mom guilt." Well, the same is true today, but an encounter with my daughter Lorianne left me thinking that the mom-guilt could actually serve a greater purpose in our life if we'll let it.
In this episode, we'll talk about...
How mom guilt can be a warning sign for us
How hearing directly from your kids may be a catalyst for changing your activity
How to stay sane through guilt
We went to a Christmas festival yesterday, just something local in town and when we were on our way back, the girl said to me, "Hey mom, can we watch that thing we were watching? That magic thing? Can we finish watching it? See, earlier in the day, I had got the girls hooked on the show that came out some years ago called Magician's Secrets Revealed. I got them hooked on watching that after Lorianne kept trying to do these magic tricks and she's like, "Look, check this out, check this out." So I thought it might be fun to introduce her to kind of the secrets behind the magic and let her see what was really going on.
So anyway, we went out to the Christmas festival and we were on our way back. The girls wanted to finish the show and I told them, sure we can finish it when I get finished doing my recording. And so when we had walked into the house, they started to scatter a little bit. Actually Laurie was kinda like, she had amnesia and she came back up to me and said, "So mom, are you going to turn on the show?' And I said, "Lorianne, just give me a few minutes. I had my laptop in hand, I need to go and do some podcast recording." And so they said, "Okay, okay, okay." They went off and did their thing. I went off into the basement and started to do some recording and my recording kept getting interrupted by just thunderous footsteps coming up and down the stairs and tiny girl voices yelling in like this muffled tone that I couldn't completely hear, but it was loud. So I must have opened the door and yelled at the steps a few times. "Please be quiet. I am trying to record. I go all the way upstairs so that I can't hear you."
And so anyway, the time had passed I think 30 minutes past, maybe 45 minutes or so had passed and I had walked upstairs, I could hear that Darick had walked in the door and I walked upstairs cause I had to grab something from my recording, grab some water, whatever it was. And as I walked up there, it was Lori who said to me, "Okay, are we ready to watch the show?" And at this point in time, I feel guilty. I feel guilty because 45 minutes have passed and when I told them it was going to be a few minutes, even though I wasn't really descriptive on how much time it was going to take, I felt like I was holding them up like I was cheating them of some time and they really wanted to watch the show with me and I still wasn't ready. And then on the other side, I was thinking, "Okay, I feel guilty about this but I haven't got through my recording session and if I don't get through my recording session, there'll be more that I have to do tomorrow." I was having this tug of war between, A. Getting your work done while you have the time, but B. Your kids are waiting on you, they're really waiting on you. And so I had decided, and I think I gave her like just 10 or 15 more minutes and I'll be done. I had run downstairs and I really just sort of rushed through some of the other recordings that I had and I decided to leave some of the touches that I needed to put on the recording. I decided to leave it for the end and just head upstairs and get it on, turn the TV on and get settled with the girls to finish watching the show.
I think what it all underscores for me is I've thought about mom guilt and even on episode 17, we really do have to tell mom guilt to just shut up and go away, especially when we're trying to do things, we're trying to move forward on a journey of bigger impact. We've got to figure out how these things work together. Being a mom, being a business owner, being a participant in the community displaying leadership, all these other things, they worked together and so we can't let guilt just sort of wipe us out from one thing or keep us from moving forward on very important actions because we feel guilty, but I think it's important that we work with it. Just this whole experience with the girls watching this magic show made me think about mom guilt and another light and more positive light.
I think we can treat mom guilt as really a warning sign for us and kind of think like on your car when you're running low on oil, your oil light is going to come on or when your tire has lost some pressure that's going to come on. We can treat that mom guilt in that sense that we get as a warning for us that maybe something is out of balance and it's an opportunity for us to stop and check what's going on. So, in this case, Lori saying, "Hey mom, how much longer or are we going to watch this show yet?" Things like that can be the catalyst for us to say, "Wait a second, am I keeping everything in balance? Am I giving the right level of time and attention to my children? Am I giving too much time to building my business or doing X, Y, Z? Have I gotten out of whack somehow?" We can really look at that as positive signals for us.
I think we can treat mom guilt as really a warning sign for us. (Click to tweet)
Now when it comes to staying sane though, throughout all of this, I mean in my case yesterday with the podcast recording, some of the frustration that was starting to rise up for me is I wasn't finished with what I wanted to accomplish. I was trying to get those recordings done so I didn't have to spend all day Sunday in the studio trying to get everything done and that would free me up for other time to be with my family.
Having that, that sense of balance of "How do you give the children or whoever the attention that they need cause you may be a little bit out of balance, how do you reconcile within your own mind you are consciously not spending the time so that you can later spend the time?" I think we really have to give ourselves some grace and just treat that guilty feeling as nothing more than a warning sign and an opportunity for us to do some checks and self-reflection. It doesn't always mean that we have to spring into action to resolve, but it can mean warning check and see what's going on. What are your balance levels looking like? Where are you giving your time and attention and is it the right thing?
It doesn't always mean that we have to spring into action to resolve, but it can mean warning check and see what's going on. (Click to tweet)