Last night I was exhausted by 8pm, which was annoying, since that’s when the second half of my working day begins. It was a more stressful Monday than usual because my grandmother had surgery in the morning — all is OK for now, fingers crossed — and I’d spent a lot of time on the phone talking with various members of my family, calming them down and pretending to be calm myself. Pretending takes a lot of energy.
I had a bunch of work to get done but he first thing I did was to make dinner for the next two days. I cook several times a week for the days ahead — our schedule isn’t conducive to cooking-right-before-eating, at least not during the week. As I was stirring the tomato soup and making sure the turkey-tofu meatloaf wasn’t burning in the oven (it has this soy glaze on it that I swear, burns half the time I make it), my husband asked why our daughter can’t just have a grilled cheese for dinner tomorrow. His point was that I had a tough day and a lot of work, and the world wasn’t going to crumble if there wasn’t a fresh, nutritionally balanced meal on the table.
The world wasn’t going to crumble. But I would feel worse. Because something I’ve realized this year is that for me, cooking fresh meals for our family is a way to cover up my working mom guilt. It’s the one thing I always find time to do and I love knowing that my family can count on it. Sure, we have our share of pizza/Indian/Chinese/random food from the fridge nights, but most of the time, there is a freshly cooked meal for my daughter and at least some part of it for us.
I know I am not supposed to feel any kind of working mom guilt, but I do. It’s the reality and I honestly think most moms, working or stay-at-home, feel some sense of guilt. (If you are someone who doesn’t, I envy you, but I’ve not met you.) I’m learning to accept it, instead of trying to fight it or eliminate it, because frankly, that was exhausting. And accepting it involves doing a few things that make me feel it less acutely — like cooking.
Does this sound just totally odd to you or do you do things to cover up your working mom guilt?