Before I’m 90, my part-time roles will yield only part-time guilt.
Posted on March 14, 2012
Forget about your Human Resources Department. The employer of tomorrow, in my bubble world, would have a GR department: Guilt Resources.
I’m approaching the one-month mark in my job share, and certain emotions are beginning to splotch up the euphoric work-life balance like angry chicken pox. I work for a large corporation, and this job share gig is semi unprecedented companywide and wholly unchartered in my department. My colleague and I are forging new ground, and naturally we’re determined to make it work. If I may, I’d like to consider us the Lewis and Clark of corporate employment, although sometimes we may feel like Lucy and Ethel. But then that makes us old and with hair nets. I’ll work on that analogy.
Where was I? Right. Guilt.
When I chose to participate in this job share, a huge driver was my belief that I’d be able to “be there” for my children – at least enough to refute therapists’ claims when the kids are older and convinced I ruined their childhood.
The job share also meant I could “be there” for my career, so I’d have a source of income when those same cherubs write tell-all books and sue me for their mental poor-being. After all, I’ve always thought that same fear drove my parents’ 90 mph work ethic. (Ah HAH! And here I am writing a blog!) <rubbing hands together with squinty eye glare>
In my Bubble World*, part-time Mommyhood plus part-time Career equals part-time Guilt. Right?
Wrong. Have you heard the saying, there are three types of people in this world? Those who are good at math and those who aren’t. Hello.
The truth has been nagging at my brain, way in the back where “file tax paperwork” and “start diet” battle regularly. Today, it leaned up and smacked me so hard, I got whiplash speed-walking down a hallway, kicking the week off by running late for the nanny.
Part-time Mommyhood does not exist.
Part-time Careers do not exist.
Part-time Guilt is an untapped minefield of bad jokes for a part-time comic who smokes smelly cigars as he flings out nightly monologues in smoky, grimy hole-in-the-wall bars lit only by neon beer signs.
Now, I’ve run my Guilt flag up several poles in Corporate America, the United Kingdom of My Family and East Overshoe Friend-with-No-Kids. The responses are not surprising. No one can make you feel guilty. Guilt? Well, that’s just something you’re going to have to get over! <Pat pat on my head>
Yeah. I know. During my next leisurely afternoon spent lollygagging through the aisles of Barnes and Noble, I’ll check out the self-help section and buy several copies of “Guilt Recycling for Dummies.” I’ll leave one by the bedside next to my bottle of Tylenol PM, one in my “to read” pile next to my stash of coffee at the office, and maybe another one in the car, next to all my half-full Diet Coke cans, on the off-chance I get stuck at a red light for an hour.
The truth is that for the next year, one of the biggest lessons I’m going to have to learn is how to transition between Mommyhood and Careerdom (and back again) with less angst and more joy.
I have to learn to look at the overflowing inbox with a sense of adventure, instead of seeing half a day dissolve into deletion overdrive. I must learn to feel empowered by the overwhelming sense of urgen… er, efficiency I am developing by spending half the amount of time in the office yet trying to accomplish quite a bit.
And on those occasions when the moon is full and planets are aligning to mess up everyone’s equilibrium, I will not question my good fortune when my amazing husband quietly gets up in the morning with our beautiful cherubs (who miraculously slept through the night on the same night).
I will not awake at 8 a.m. and feel guilty that the cherubs have been awake a whole hour without a diaper-swipe or Cheerio toss from their loving Mumma. I will rejoice in the existence of this legally binding Bart-Simpson-pajama-pant-wearing support arm who loves me enough to be tired for me. I will roll over and ignore the frantic screams and jubilant screeches of an infant with a wet diaper and a toddler with a fistful of cat hair.
I will crawl into my Bubble World and enjoy the weightless guiltlessness of it all.
* Bubble World: A bubble-shaped planet on which I (and those I choose to bubblify) live. We are protected by a spongelike yet invisible forcefield and everything happens exactly as I believe it should. (Those parties chosen to be bubblified may or may not have a vote.)
How do you repel Guilt in your Bubble World?