There’s been a few studies bouncing around lately about the benefits of being a working mum. Filled with lines about how their girls are more educated and end up earning more money, while their sons do more housework.
I always read them; as if any working mum doesn’t clutch at stories like this in attempt to reduce the guilt. That indefinable working mum guilt, that even when things are good, is always hovering at the edges of my peripheral vision.
Sadly, I read them just as quickly as I read the ones about how mums shouldn’t work. How kids are far better off with their mothers at home, in the kitchen and probably baking something delicious, which of course only adds my (one of many) other guilts about not being a Nigella Lawson standard chef.
I know, I’m a click bait cliche.
These school holidays have been tough. With a new job to get my head around, I’ve been working long hours; leaving before she gets up, getting home not long before bed. I hear about her day in soundbites as I tuck her in at night.
We’ve been lucky that my mother in law, her Nanny was able to come and help out for the first two weeks, and tomorrow my mum will take over for the last week before she heads back to school.
So I know that in reality, she’s fine. She’s enjoyed spending time with her Nanny and she’s looking forward to spending time with her Grandma. I know they love spending time with her. On paper it all sounds fabulous and great.
Yet, I still find myself twisted up in guilty knots that it’s not me. Surely it should be me.
Yesterday I attempted to purge myself of some of this heavy guilt, as I’m just sick of carrying that fucker around. So we went shopping. Because if I’m going to be away from her, by god, she may as well be the best dressed tween around.
Not logical. Not even that smart. But the guy at the Nike store seemed to love the theory and I’m sure it had nothing to do with the commission dollar signs he saw flashing above my head.
We shopped till we dropped; there was ice-cream, there were new erasers (her new favourite obsession) and sushi. We splurged on shoes, new pjs and a visit to Smiggle. It was a day of lots of yes and cheeky smiles – two of my favourite things.
Tomorrow morning I’ll head back into the office. And I’ll know I’ve bought myself, literally, a break from the working mum guilt. Even if it’s just for as long as it takes for those new shoes to get their first scuff; it’s worth it.