Working Mama guilt- 1 night.

I am one of the tremendously lucky people who loves her job. It would be tremendously painful to be doing work I hated while also working evenings and being away from my kids.

But the thing is, I am one of the lucky people.  My take home pay, after childcare is essentially negligible, but the meaning I derive from my work, my contributions to my students, my engagement with the world outside of myself are all hugely important for me.

Most of the time I don't feel guilty about working. Most of the time my children get enough of me. Most of the time I feel balanced in it.  But then there are days like today, tonight I am not even going home (when you live a boat ride away it is complicated). I wouldn't be home until 10:45pm and would have to leave again at 7am.  Even if I saw my kids it would only be them sleeping.  So I am sleeping in Seattle.  I didn't see Miriam this morning.

So what is going on within me?  On one hand I just feel guilty.  I am not available to her. I will not be there for her. I will not meet her needs. I will not hold her if she cries.  I won't even be there to enjoy her.

Tonight or tomorrow.

But I will leave her (them) in great loving hands during the day.  Her wonderful Papa and my beloved partner and sister will be with her.  Her need will be met. She will be held if she cries. She will be enjoyed. She will know that she is loved.

So on the other hand, I think that there are many many many people who can love my daughter and make her feel loved.  And when I am with her on Thursday and Friday and Saturday and . . . I will hold her and meet her needs and enjoy her and all those things I am supposed to do.

But as you probably know Mommy-landia the talk is not about all the wonderful people who can care for our children in more than adequate ways.  It is not about how my child is going to thrive and succeed without my presence. It is about Mommy as the super hero, Mommy as the emotional support, Mommy as the phaux -God (except that I don't even think God operates that way) It is all about articles like this  (I saw it today which wasn't good) which make the parent seem like the sole source of stability for our kids.

So despite the guilt- which I feel- and despite the sadness which is perhaps the stronger feeling (cuz I just like my kids) I also feel happy, to be with students who want to talk about faith tonight.  To hear about their joys and their concerns, to know them.  And, tonight, indeed I believe that trusting the people who love my daughter who are not me and that being a good minister, both of these things make me a very fine parent.


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