Working Mom Guilt & Daily Lunch Duty
Last month, moms all over – particularly those of the school-age cohort – went crazy for the Baby Sideburns blog post about her comical attempts to compete with the Pinterest-perfect bento box lunches that you can can’t swing a heart-shaped cookie cutter around without hitting all over the interwebs. The post is super funny and I totally get why it resonated with the less-than-crafty and/or time-crunched parents among us. But to be honest, it didn’t resonate with me. The reason being, I don’t make Liam’s lunches. Never have. Brad leaves later in the morning than Liam and I so he has taken on morning duties – everything from waking Liam up to getting him dressed to feeding him breakfast and making his lunch. This gives me time to get myself ready for the day. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that when my husband was going out of town for business I had to have him instruct me on what went into Liam’s bento box each day because, quite frankly, I had absolutely no idea. That realization, and the realization that other moms did spend time putting together perfect or even less-than-perfect lunches for their child made me feel a little guilty. I feel like I’ve been pretty good lately about keeping the working mom guilt at bay but then something seemingly trivial like this pops up and I can’t help but feel a twinge.
At the same time that all of this was going down, I’ve been re-reading Lean In for a women’s leadership group I’m in right now. One of the things that struck me this time around was how much Sheryl Sandberg focuses on the importance of your partner in making the whole working mom thing actually work. She even gives an example of a mom who didn’t know what was in her children’s lunches because lunch duty fell squarely on her husband (so I’m not the only lunch-delinquent mom!). In the book, this wasn’t intended to be guilt-inducing but rather presented as the picture of how an equal partnership works. In that particular family, lunch was one of the many things on dad’s to-do list just as it is in mine. Whether that lunch is Pinterest perfect isn’t my concern because I know that it was prepared lovingly by his dad each day. The same goes for his outfits for school which are sometimes an interesting combination (sorry hun, but it’s true), but ultimately something I gladly relinquish control over in the name of my own morning sanity. The sanity that lets me go into our now very chatty mother-son commute, energized and ready to chat. The sanity that let’s me get to work feeling focused and ready to go after some alone time and then some car time with Liam. Every family has a rhythm that works for them, and this rhythm works for us. I’m not going to spend one more second feeling guilty for that.
How do you share the tasks in your working family household? Do you and your parenting partner split the duties?
- E-family news: Parental Guilt – What Should We Feel Guilty About?
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Menu Planning – Lunches for Kids
- Read more posts about working mothers and posts about parental guilt from the Family Room bloggers