Oct 3, 2015

Embrace the Chocolate Cake and Celebrate

He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.”          

Embrace the Chocolate Cake and Celebrate, it is all a matter of perspective.  

As Moms, we are constantly told many messages.  We have a long list of “shoulds” told to us every day from the media and society.  Here is a short list: reading every night to our children, helping them fill out their reading logs, feed them healthy, homemade snacks in the shapes of cute animals we see on Pinterest, make adorable goody bags, volunteer untold hours at school, be active, caring members of our communities, help provide an income to our families, set a wonderful example of unending patience while we smile and say sweet words of support to our precious offspring.  All while maintaining a trim figure while wearing the most recent fashions.  Then, sadly we fall short of expectations.  Then when we fail to live up to our or other’s expectations, we feel guilt.  Why?  Because we are human.

Which brings us back to Chocolate Cake.  

For many moms, life as mom is a constant balancing act.  For me, I chose to reenter the work world after being home for a number of years.  Going back to work for me has been one huge new balancing act.  To be honest, I sometimes question, with guilt, the impact of my decisions to first stay home and then second to go back to work. So, having been fortunate enough to have walked on both of these paths, I have fortunately experienced much guilt.   

But,  I will never forget the day I was feeling guilty and remorseful about something and internally feeling horrible, when suddenly a voice (don't ask which kid they all talk A LOT) amid the chatter in the mini-van said "Mom, you know what is so cool?"

I replied half listening, due to being up to my eyeballs in the mud of guilt, "What?"

"That you blah blah blah with your job."

Then the other voices, chattering in the van, chimed in that it was “cool too” and they “think it is so neat”.

To be, again honest, I have absolutely no recollection what I was feeling guilty about. I have no recollection what they thought was so cool. I do recall looking up, whispering "Thank You" with tears in my eyes and the feeling of gratitude that washed over me that my children were rebalancing and still saw me as a great Mom. Here, I was looking at chocolate cake and thinking guilt, my children were seeing my re entry to the workforce as a celebration.  

Have I had to learn a new balance? Yes, absolutely. Would I trade the years I spent as a stay-at-home Mom? Would I trade the growth we have had as a family with me working? Not in a million years.

My wish for you is that we embrace life as a beautiful, glorious piece of Chocolate Cake and instead of feeling guilt we celebrate.  It is truly a matter of perspective.  The freedom from guilt is a wonderful gift we give ourselves and our families.

Have a piece of chocolate cake.  

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