guilt and the working parent

Parent GuiltI could do a detailed breakdown of my schedule right now but it is pointless. Really all you need to know is that I work and I parent and many times I am working while I am parenting. (or is it parenting while working?) While I accept that this is the way it is right now, this bizarre overlay of ME modes is really great at bringing up the parent guilt.

There is an especially grey area in the hours between picking W up from school and making supper. This is roughly just over three hours of working while parenting.

Yes, I am the parent at the playground checking email on her phone. I am also the parent going down the slide with my kid. I take up to five minutes in the school parking lot before we leave the playground to check in on work projects. I swipe through tasks while W screams from his car seat behind my head, “Let’s GO, Mama!!” But once we leave the parking lot my phone is put away and I lead a rowdy sing-a-long of Yellow Submarine.

Once we are home W and I horse around and play but I am always aware of a clock ticking. Soon I am at my computer working and W is building blocks or creating traffic in the den with his cars.

I am not complaining about working, nor am I complaining about parenting. I love them both. I love that I am, for the most part, in charge of my own schedule.

My problem is guilt.

Would I rather be building with blocks with W on the floor of the living room? Some days. And some days I would rather work until midnight without any interruptions. I feel guilty for enjoying work some days. (and guilty for not always being an enthusiastic, get down on the floor, parent)

Still, the hardest moments of my day are when I have to ask W to settle down or be quieter because, “Mama has to work right now”.