Guilt and the Spin Sisters

In Cookie magazine (May 2009) there's a feature on two Today show producers who have written a book about surviving the first year of motherhood. Personally, I find it comical that women who are absent for the majority of their children's waking hours would dispense any motherhood advice whatsoever. Nonetheless, Alicia Ybarco and Mary Ann Zoellner are the authors of the book Today's Moms; and they recently spoke with Cookie magazine about their lives.

"Being a producer [at the Today show] is extremely demanding. The hours can be crazy. There've been times I've come home to feed the baby and put her to sleep, then gone back to work until 4 a.m."

Why, oh why, do these women have children? Really. I'm not being sarcastic. I want to know.

Later in the article, the following: "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wonder, Could I have given more to the job? Could I have done more with my family? The guilt is there where ever you go -- it's just a matter of whether you choose to listen to it."

It's the quintessential trademark of modern motherhood: mommy guilt. Guilt and motherhood is a very new phenomenon; it just didn't exist 20 years ago. Is it unjustified? Yes and no. Certainly mothers need to relax more; they needn't worry that every little thing they do or say will cause their children great harm or send them to the psych ward. But when it comes to the idea of having babies, only to leave them each day and pop into their lives every once in a while for a quick hello -- then guilt is not unjustified. It's normal. It's natural. It's your conscience telling you something's very wrong here.

Notice it's the women in the media -- the spin sisters -- who perpetuate the notion of guilt. That these women need to ease their consciences by convincing Americans that guilt is overrated and an unnecessary emotion is criminal. Thankfully, most women in America do not live their kind of lifestyle. What a horrid existence these spin sisters live -- in having to fend off their consciences every single day.

Allow me to answer your questions, ladies: No, you could not have given more to the job -- and Yes, you could have done more with your family. Much more. But something tells me you already know that.

But it's this quote that should be of the most concern: "Guilt is a worthless emotion. We're great examples to our children because we're working moms -- and that's the reality of it. If I'm proud of what I produce, it makes me a better mom when I get home."

Yes, those babies of yours are so pleased that you're proud of your work. They wanted nothing more than to come into this world and see you do well in your profession -- even if they only get to see you for an hour each day. It's worth it to them -- as long as you're happy.

For those of you who want an alternative view to the bunk that's churned out in women's magazines, click on "Everything You've Been Taught about Guilt Is Wrong" in the June archive to your right.

1 Response to “Guilt and the Spin Sisters”:

  1. shevrae says:

    Sigh. I have a dear friend who is in year two of her pediatric residency. She just had her first (planned) baby and is leaving him with a combination of friends, family members, and daycares while she works 70+ hour weeks. I asked her why she didn't wait a little longer so she could be done with residency and spend more time with the baby (she's already complaining that she hardly sees him). She said she wanted to get started being a parent. I suggested she wasn't being a parent, she was being a baby factory and part-time sitter. That didn't go over too well.

    Another friend just had her first baby and went back to work after 6 weeks. I asked why they didn't look at finances to see if she could stay home a little longer (like she says she want to.) Response - "All the women at my company go back to work after six weeks." OK then.

    It can be hard sometimes - at my husband's work, I'm the only Mom who stays home with the kids. People are stunned at 4th of July and Christmas parties and I'm convinced that some of them think my husband MAKES me do it. And you should see the look on their face when I tell them I homeschool too. :)

    BTW, just found your blog and I love it! Keep up the good work, and congrats on syndication.