It’s hard, isn’t it? This ‘mum’ thing. I mean, the sleepless nights are enough, without throwing in the hormones and the fact that everything changes. And then there’s the guilt. Mum guilt. I’m sorry to say, you’ll need to get used to it because it’s here to stay.
Every decision you make, you will second guess. Even the ones you KNOW are right. This week you tweeted your sorrow that you missed your daughter’s first steps because you were training. You were doing your job. Like thousands, no millions, of women before and no doubt after you, you missed a milestone because you were away from your daughter when she did something momentous.
The mum guilt will never leave you, but don’t let this be the thing that you beat yourself up over. I returned to work when my children were 10 months and 8 months old. I know I have missed many moments with them, large and small. I also know that no one can be there all the time. Your daughter could have taken her first steps while you were in the kitchen making her lunch, or you stepped out of the room to answer the door or a call.
Instead, she took her steps while you were working. While you were showing her all the things in the world she could be, or do. Showing her the kind of ethic and temperament it takes to succeed in the competitive world of sport. And showing her that you will do what is necessary to ensure you provide for your family. Like so many other women who are striving to support their families and miss moments like these.
I write this as I’m flying over 3,000 miles across the world for my job. The job that helps me support and provide for my family. I know the guilt. I feel the guilt. It is a constant companion, knowing that whatever I do, I am not there for my children all of the time. And that is OK. I may not be there for them physically every moment of every day, but I am there for them whenever they need me emotionally. Whether I am at home, or halfway across the world; I am only ever a phone call/FaceTime/Skype/text message away. The wonders of modern technology mean we can reach people in an instant and be there, even when we are not. We can record special moments for others to experience when they aren’t there.
So Serena, take a moment to feel sad for the times you miss while you are working, but do not feel guilty for them. Our lives are full of guilt as it is, without heaping it upon ourselves further.
From one mother to another