Is This Still a Thing?
When I entered the workforce in 1985, the concept of a full-time "working mother" was mostly untested. The suggestion that mothers who worked "too much" would experinece loads of guilt if they missed any of their children's firsts (e.g. steps, words, smiles) was widespread. In fact, it was suggested we'd experience guilt if we missed anything. I often wondered how men managed to weather these losses, but nobody ever seemed to write or talk about that subject.
Most of us who decided to take the risk and work full-time while raising our kids thought about the guilt consistently, if not constantly. Friends, relatives, the media, and even schools helped keep the concern alive with comments like "Thankfully I don't need to work", "I don't know how you do it", "Let us at least consider the possibility that many women, deliberately rejecting the values of male careerists, are discriminating against the job 'rat race' and in favor of their families", and/or "Can you be at the school at 10:30 am on Tuesday?" For me, that last comment was the worst.
It seemed like all of us dual-career couples ran ourselves ragged attempting to be sure that neither our kids nor our employers would be short-changed when it came to our time. We carved out time for the kids, we burned the midnight oil for our companies, and once in a while we took time to talk with each other about it. (It's probably worth mentioning that it wasn't always pretty either.)
Imagine my surprise when my kids left for college and I wasn't overcome with guilt (as I wrote in the story "Surprise Contentment"). I was also surprised when I read a recent New York Times article, "How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood" which stated, "Today's working mothers spend as much time doing hands-on activities with their children as stay-at-home mothers did in the 1970s."
This left me wondering: Is guilt still a thing for working parents? I'd seriously like to know. Please comment below.
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