If you find yourself worrying and riddled with guilt over time spent focussing on your career and not your children, the time has come to stop - just ask Connie Schultz.
The US columnist, novelist and mother suffered from working mum guilt in the 1980s while raising her daughter Cait. Now she has proudly posted two photos to Twitter as proof that, not only was that guilt unnecessary, but having a working mum was good for her daughter.
In the first photo Cait is shown as a toddler emulating her working mother on a toy phone, with a pen and notebook. In the second, Cait - now 32 - is shown on television with three-month old son Milo strapped to her body as she fights for rights to paid sick leave for families.
Posting to Twitter, the proud grandmother wrote, "In '89, I'm doing phone interview & see toddler Cait imitating me. 1st thought: Oh, no. 2nd thought: Oh, wow. In '16, Cait wears 3-mo-old Milo as she testifies before RI leg committee on need for paid sick leave for all families. My working-mum guilt was a such a waste of time."
In ‘89, I’m doing phone interview & see toddler Cait imitating me. 1st thought: Oh, no. 2nd thought: Oh, wow. In ‘16, Cait wears 3-mo-old Milo as she testifies before RI leg committee on need for paid sick leave for all families. My working-mom guilt was a such a waste of time. pic.twitter.com/DESyoRxyp1— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) September 12, 2019
It's a moment of revelation for Schultz as the photos reveal the little girl who copied her hard-working mother has grown up into a woman who is an active participant in changing the fabric of society, even with a new baby attached to her.
Working women responded in support.
The hardest part of campaigning is being away from my 2 girls. They’re 5 and 3. The best part of campaigning is fighting to build a better world for them & seeing them realize that this is a space open to them. Thank you for this.— Kim Nelson For Congress (@KimforSC) September 12, 2019
I started law school when my daughter was 2. She used to open a book and announce, “I’m studying contracts!”— Shannon Dunn (@skploughdunn) September 12, 2019
Raising socially and politically conscious children are what will save our country and indeed our world. You should be proud to set such a wonderful example for your daughter.— Sue Poling (@sueapoling) September 12, 2019
For some mums struggling with the guilt, it was the message they really needed in their lives right now.
Needed this. Thank you 💖— emery lord (@emerylord) September 12, 2019
This letter from a daughter to her working mother in 1998 shows just how much children understand that their mums need to work.
This letter from my now 32-year-Old daughter is hanging on the wall above my desk. I worked from the time she was two months old and knew a sane working mama was better than a cray mama who stayed home. Moms have to do what’s best for them. pic.twitter.com/ON8MNs8urW— Lady adopted another pup ❤️🐶 (@tchayes27) September 12, 2019
To all the working mums out there, keep your eye on the prize and know that you're setting an example for our children on your own terms, just as women who stay at home (some of whom might feel guilty for not working outside the home) are doing for theirs.
Your future self will thank you for putting the mother guilt in its place.
In April Connie again proved herself to be a advocate for working mothers, posting on Facebook about working mothers feeling judged for packing "store-bought pastries" in lunchboxes, "rushing off to a job" after school drop off and being unaware of "pyjama Friday."
After recounting her own story of feeling judged, then being supported by those who understood, Connie wrote, "It's so easy to doubt ourselves as mothers. I am forever grateful to that other group of mothers who knew that supporting one another made each of us stronger.