“Mommy, why do you have to work all the time?”
I was both proud and heartbroken at the same time. There I was sitting on the couch, laptop open and typing away. Both boys were fed and bathed. It was long before bedtime and most of my mommy chores were done. I thought I was winning. That was until my son looked over at me and asked why I have to work all the time.
Is that all my kids see? A mom that works all of the time? I don’t have a job that ends when I come home. If things have to get done, I have a laptop. There are no excuses. On the other hand, I have two young boys. A husband to build a life with. A home to maintain. And the age old mommy guilt is real. It creeps into my thoughts often. So, when my kids say and/or do something to highlight it, like ask me why I have to work all the time…I’m done! Cue the tears.
I’m proud of my career. I’m proud to be a living example of what hard work looks like. They need to know that the life they have is not by accident. It is afforded to them by the hard work and sacrifices we make for them. So, if I know the answer to the question, why is it a tough one. Why is my reaction laced with guilt.
Do I really have to work all the time?
Yes, I do. Even when I’m not working…I’m working. It is important for me to work hard for my family, it is equally important for them to not only know me as working all the time.
Here’s how I know they don’t.
Children have selective memory. They seem to only remember what happened 5 minutes ago. Then, when you least expect it they recall a conversation you had with them ages ago. In that moment, sitting on the couch with my laptop, not watching TV or engaging in conversation, my son saw a mommy that works all the time. Just like on Saturday and Sunday morning when I cook breakfast he sees a mommy that is “the best cook ever”. He doesn’t remember that I definitely did not cook breakfast for him Monday-Friday.
Enjoy the moments with your kids. Be present. But don’t let their words make you feel guilty about working hard. The next time your kids ask why you have to work all the time simply reply
“Because I love you”.