Friday, 15 March 2013
Don't worry, be happy
Hello everyone! When was the last time today that you felt guilty as a parent? Or should I say how many times today you felt guilty?
For me, the last time was when I left the house an hour ago to go and get my haircut. Accomplishing such a task with a seven-weeks old baby is not straightforward. My husband, who is a saint, took the afternoon off to come with me and facilitate the situation (read: stroll the baby around until I was done, to hopefully keep him asleep and not screaming for mommy's milk right in the middle of the hairdresser's job). My older son had to stay home with my housekeeper because he is still recovering from a bad cold. Do I need to tell you why I felt guilty? I mean: strolling around for an hour a seven-weeks old baby in the frigid weather? Leaving home my older son rather than playing with him? Never mind that the hairdresser is around the corner, that I had not gotten an haircut in almost three months, and that my housekeeper can make real-looking roses out of Play-doh when she plays with my son. As my older son was waving kisses from the window to us leaving, I felt awful.
While getting my haircut I read Sarah's post. It evoked other posts, articles and discussions about parenting that I have read in the last few years (remember Tiger mom vs Chic Mom?). I then thought of my mom and my grandmother, and I wondered how and why guilt was not much in their vocabulary. Then I got it. Because nowadays talking about it does not mean whispering your daily frustration to your best friend, and hearing about her low moments. It is about reading and comparing ourselves to what millions of other moms are doing thanks to the Internet, and the easiness in information-sharing we now enjoy.
This is why I had a thought. Maybe we should stop talking about it. About how guilty we feel. About whether we should have used that half an hour of free time to help out at our children's school. About how Jane works 18 hours a day and still finds time to read her kids a bedtime story. About blogging rather than taking our kids to yet another after-school activity. It is not just about doing what we can, as Sarah suggests. It is going further, and being happy about what we do and who we are. Who knows? Maybe we'll start a revolution.
Photo: Note to Self.