you don’t have to be a working mother (like me) to feel guilt.
for me, guilt appears when i’m at my desk (and not with my little one).
and for me, guilt appears when i’m with my little one and feel i’m not working hard enough, earning more or serving my clients better.
maybe yours shows up slightly differently. maybe you’re torn between work and working out. or self-care and caring for your beloved. or tending to your family and tending to your ailing mother.
i want to share my favorite (unlikely) tool to wrangle this powerful, debilitating emotion, GUILT.
it’s a tool that every human, and definitely every WOMAN should know and use, and it’s one i got from my husband (who’s a great human and a great MAN).
the tool is simple. it’s one question. love that.
as an example, let’s use my guilt-laden query of time spent with my little one vs with my little biz.
in trying to find that ever-elusive “balance,” we could
:: scrutinize how many hours i devote to work vs kiddo (good first step).
:: check if my little one is happy, healthy and thriving (very good idea).
:: ask with my family or my husband’s family for their advice (hmmm… not usually a good idea ;-P).
:: do some online research what other working mothers are doing (definitely the wrong direction).
:: post a poem about guilt on Facebook and get lost in the comments from friends (creative, but there have to be better direction).
my husband is a maverick in these areas. aside from making sure our little guy is absolutely happy, healthy and thriving, he’s only got one tracking tool he uses. he asks,
“how lit-up and turned on do you feel?”
he assumes that the amount of life-force coursing through my body (and his body) is an appropriate litmus test and wrangler of guilt.
meaning, if, for example, i spend 5 hours on biz and 8 with babe and i’m feeling alive and fit in my body, if i have humor at my fingertips and if i’m wanting to have great sex with said hubby – in other words, if i’m feeling turned on and lit up then the 5:8 hour ratio is probably working, regardless of what my mind, my mom or Facebook says.
so, shoo, guilt, shoo.
and for example if i spend 16 hours with babe and 6 with biz and i’m feeling run down and out of sorts, if i’m surly and mean and if a root canal feels preferable to intimacy – in other words, if i’m feeling i’m turned-off and dimmed down – then the 16:6 hour ratio is definitely not working (regardless of what the latest scientific study reports).
so, the first question is, “how lit-up and turned on do you feel?”
and the second is, “what might need to be adjusted to bring back my turn-on and light?”
your vibrancy matters.
how shot-through with life-juice you feel, matters.
how happy you are to be you, matters.
there’s a personal signature cocktail of wellness, work, family and service that’s right for you and your body will let you know.
chances are it may not be popular with popular sources or popular science, but regardless, it’s a trustable tool to guide you out of guilt’s grasp.
PS: thanks again, husband. thanks for looking after my radiance when i often can’t or don’t. thanks for chauffeuring our relationship into better and better and better and better.