Today is a day for revisiting the spectre of the guilt of the working mother. Which is completely different from the guilt of the stay at home mother, or the guilt of the trying-to-have-it-all mother. Because I know my particular flavour of guilt is only one of many, and if I arranged my life differently, I'd find different ways to feel deficient, less-than, and guilty.
This evening, at 9:30pm, I finished making Christmas-themed cupcakes for the PTA cake sale. I could have done what any sensible, right-thinking, normal human being would do. I could have just bought some. It's really not going to make any difference to the children, or the other parents, or the teachers, or the amount of money the PTA raise at the Christmas Fair tomorrow. I don't need to prove anything. Except to myself.
Every week there's an email or a Facebook request, or a letter in the school bag - asking for volunteers to help in the garden, or to man a stall at a fair, or to walk the children round the village, or to help out at the film night, or to wrap presents, or to do a host of other helpful things to raise money or enable activities to take place. And I never sign up. I feel I ought to. I know LittleBear would love me to. He wants me to come and help in the garden next term, but I can't. I work. If I take time off for term-time activities, then what will happen in the holidays?
So instead, I need to prove that I care. Need to prove that I am a good enough mother, that I too can devote time and energy to the extra activities at school. Even though nobody else cares, it salves my conscience. And it's a bloody ridiculous thing to do. Because I'm already tired, and I have a list of Things To Do that actually need doing, but instead of doing them, I've devoted an evening to a pointless exercise in maternal guilt management.
I think I need my head examining...