I listened to my Dad today, as he and my Mom were reminiscing about the years that my Mom “raised us by herself,” as my Dad described. I do remember a few years growing up, where he would teach high school all day, then head out after dinner to present programs in the evenings. I immediately asked him, “Did you feel guilty?” Because in my mind, I would bet that if a Mom had to do that, she would be ridden with guilt, not seeing her kids all day and night. And he immediately replied, “Why would I feel guilty about working two jobs to provide for my family?”
Now I will say this, my Dad has always been a hands on Dad. He cleans, cooks, and did spend summers at home with us, when he had off all summer as a teacher and my Mom would work. But after his comment, it hit me. Why are women plagued with such guilt and most men- it has escaped? (Disclaimer…I am generalizing here and I do realize that not all women have guilt and not all men are free from it! But if we can learn one thing from this discussion, maybe it’s worth generalizing for a moment!)
I am left to wonder if societal pressures did this to us, if we do it to each other, ourselves? I am sure to be busy researching the ‘why’ behind this, but for today, I want to ask you….just for one day….compare any of your guilty feelings and discuss them with your husband. Does he feel guilt? How does it compare to your feelings of guilt? Are you surprised? Is there something we can learn from our husbands? I have learned from my Dad today, that he did not feel guilty because he looked at parenting as a team, while Mom was home, Dad was providing for the family. No guilt there.
I see that being a Guilt Free Mom is a much hotter topic than Guilt Free Dad….. and it gets me thinking!