So here you are. According to the OECD, you've arrived at the halfway point of life. Without doubt, most days, your cup is half full, other days, less so.
Most days, you wake up, excited to face the world. You love your family and they love you back, your new job is that potent combination of fun, challenging and meaningful, and you are generally of good health and sound mind. You've grown out your hair, and have finally figured out how to style it in minimum time for maximum effect. It only took you 40 years, but better late than never!
You walk out of the house to an inner soundtrack, usually along the lines of this:
Then comes a moment, usually when you're hangry, or waiting for the bus, or when an app on your laptop suddenly gives you the spinning circle of death, and you think, "I wonder what the kids are doing now."
And that's when it happens, in little increments, you start feeling guilty. Guilty for not being there to pick them up at the school gates along with (what you think, perhaps mistakenly) 99% of the other mums at school. Guilty that you're baking less, and that their go-to snacks these days come out of a packet. Guilty that (and this is a big one), you left it a little too late this year to buy tickets for the Cadbury Crunchie Bar Train ride that your 3-year-old has been waiting an ENTIRE YEAR for.
At this point, you usually turn to trusted friend Google, and do a search for solidarity. It usually works. Type in "working mum" and these are the top searches:
It makes you feel a little better that you're not the only working mum in the world to feel this way, but rather sad that there are so many women struggling with this burden.
Working dad, bless them all, do feel guilt - it's there in the top five searches after all. Right after memes Tweets, and blogs.
So that's what you did this past weekend. After missing out on tickets for a long-awaited train ride for you younger son, you eventually forgave yourself, bought tickets for another "ordinary" train ride that wasn't chocolate-themed, and realised, "if this is your major pain point in life, then babe, you really have it good."
You read a ton of blogs and articles, cried over the heartbreaking paediatric cancer stories featured on the HONY page, and pulled yourself out of the mini-spiral.
So I'm here to hug you and tell you to not be so harsh on yourself. To yell out "ENOUGH!" when your Type A personality threatens to kick-in. To remind you that, hey, you were (are?) the child of a full-time working mum, who had a stellar career yet was there for all the things that mattered, and always made time to talk to you and hear you out. And you turned out just fine.
So when those moments creep up again, and I know they will, it's just human nature, I'll be there to do a Rebel Wilson slap down. I've got your back.
Big hugs, and all that.