Just when I think I have my working mummy guilt under control, something happens that makes me realize that it is always there, just under the surface.
Last week I checked my calender for the week ahead, and noticed that a long scheduled dentist appointment for the kids now fell on a day that I was supposed to be in all day management training.
"I'll have to reschedule" was my first thought. This particular pediatric dental office, with its TV above the chair and big chest of toys to take home after a successful visit, is heavily used and very difficult to get an appointment with, too. Just before I picked up the phone I had an afterthought. Maybe Geekydaddy could take the kids. I checked and he could, but instead of feeling satisfied that I had successfully sorted out a scheduling conflict I felt conflicted. Guilty that I wasn't the one taking them to the dentist. Surprised that I had almost not even considered asking my husband to do it.
It is such an irrational feeling. When two parents work it makes sense for them to take turns with appointments and staying home when the kids are sick. Geekydaddy is perfectly amenable to sharing, the guilt is all internal. Where does it come from, this message that "good mummy's take their kids to the doctors/dentist/hairdresser"? I know that Geekydaddy, though he was quite happy to take the kids to their appointment, would have not have felt a whet of guilt had he been the one with a clashing work commitment.
As it happened the kids had a very successful visit to the dentist, but, like a knife twisting in the already deep stab of guilt, Geekygirl was found to have a small cavity.
At least my calender is clear next week, so I will be able to go with her for her first filling, and the fact that Geekydaddy took them to this first visit means that I do not look like a "slacker mum" at work for taking of two Tuesday mornings in a row.