I am worried. I am worried that my daughter's memories of me won't be of the crafts we've done together, the trips we've taken or the hours of cuddles; but that her main image of me stored away in her brain would be of a computer firmly placed on my lap. Will she remember a mother who had an extra appendage: a laptop that seems to be part of my body like an arm or a leg? I am, like many mothers before and after me, wracked with guilt. But the ironic part of my situation is that I am a "mommy blogger," and I worry that my parenting-focused career could actually be making me a worse mother.
Actually, I should be fair. It's not the content that is keeping me so busy. I could be writing about kittens, politics or rehashing trial transcripts. It's just the nature of blogging in general. A landscape that is, in many cases, based on a competitive, 24/7 news cycle. Mine is not a unique case. It is pretty much the plight of every working mother and the attached guilt. But I think my particular case of mom guilt stings just a little more.
I'm writing about parenting when I feel that I myself should be more actively parenting. I pack my emotional baggage and go on a great big self-induced guilt trip after writing about awesome parenting news. I truly want to deserve that "World's Best Mom" mug, too. But right now my awesomeness must be expressed by keeping a roof over our heads and food in the fridge. I can't afford to take a day off. I can't afford to take a non-working vacation. I can't afford to play dolls for hours on end.
But you know what? Misery loves company, and one thing that really helps is to know is that I am not alone.
Melissa Luke of WorkingMother.com defined this "growing epidemic," saying, "I am friends with moms of all walks of life. Sadly, the one common thread we all share (other than the fact that we all have children) is the guilt. The working mom feels guilty that she sends her kids to day care. The stay-at-home mom feels guilty that she is not down on the floor playing games or building castles with the kids all day long. The mom with one child feels guilty that her child may be lonely. The mom of four feels guilty that she is spread so thin. I won't even get started on the single-mom guilt."
I would much rather have my daughter in my lap instead of my laptop.
The life of a mommy blogger or any work-at-home-mom (WAHM) is a double-edged sword. You work from home so you can be there for your kids, but often you are just there in body, not spirit. I would much rather have my daughter in my lap instead of my laptop. I would much rather write about the amazing things I did with my daughter than report the amazing things someone else did with her daughter. I would much rather have guilt about working too little than too much. But that's just me basking in the sticky swill that is mom guilt.
Let me turn my frown upside down and look at the good side. Being a mommy blogger allows me to make my own hours so I can help at her school and occasionally tear myself away to play Jenga. This allows me to physically be with her (although not always mentally). I get to focus on parenting topics, which I learn from and I often get to share with her. Who wouldn't want to look at a slideshow of cute bunnies or Disney princesses? I have a job I truly love.
So what do I do now? I need to, like all of us working mothers, try to rearrange the plates in the air and get them more balanced before they all fall crashing to the ground. I've heard of "working smarter, not harder," which I'd like to figure out. And I need to incorporate my daughter even more into my world, so she perhaps will understand it better and will look back at her mom always being on a laptop as a good thing, not a bad thing. One way I'll be working on the last one is that my darling daughter will be blogging with me here on mom.me, tackling parenting issues. So not only will we be doing this blogging thing together but maybe we tackle some subject where we can both learn and grow. I know the mommy guilt will always be there in some form or another; I'm just hoping to push it a little further away from my home.