“Why is there a luggage in your room mommy? Are we going on holidays?” Joshie, who doesn’t miss a thing, asked
“No darling, Mommy is going on a business trip.”
“Oh….” Joshie replied in a somewhat disappointed tone “Why do you have to go on business trip? How long are you going?”
Now that the boys are growing up and being more articulate and observant, these are the questions I often get asked.
“Why do you need to go to work?”
“Mommy, can you play with me?!” (asked frequently when I’m on my way out the door to go to work)
“Ahhh….business trip again!?!”
“Mommy, you don’t play with us!”
Whether intentionally or not, these questions inevitably lead me to feel a little guilty and question myself. Am I not spending enough time with my boys? Am I not engaged or hands on enough when we are playing? Am I missing out on watching them grow up?
The rational me knows that I’m not a stay-at-home type (and I love my job), but the emotional me often emerges ready to give me the guilt trip. And those moments are all too hard to swallow.
On a daily basis, millions of working mommies probably go through the same thoughts as I – it is innate in us to worry and allow this guilty feeling to penetrate our minds.
For business trips, the guilt follows with the bad feeling that I’m also not pulling my weight as a mommy and wife – as I’m leaving my husband to look after the kids by himself while I’m away. Even though such trips are tiring, being on business trip means uninterrupted nights of sleep, some quiet “me” time and in some destinations, catching up with friends and doing some shopping or sightseeing after a full day of meetings.
To mitigate the guilt factor, I make sure that everything is well planned while I’m away. The school schedule is set, the groceries are bought, the menu plans are written up, the playdates/babysitting are arranged and the necessary instructions are given. But honestly, they would be fine without it, but it is more my own peace of mind than theirs to make sure they are well looked after in my absence.
We mommies are our own toughest critics, and we give ourselves so much pressure to balance our guilt of not spending enough time with our kids, with trying to establish a career and support our own families.
On this one week business trip, the guilt is more magnified and pronounced as I miss my 3 boys terribly as well (hubby being my biggest boy!).
How to shake off this guilty feeling? I’m not sure I can – as a working mommy, I just have to live with it and suck it up.