Last November, I visited Tanzania to meet all of the students of the Mom2Mom Africa program, a not for profit organization that I started a short while ago. I remember visiting and spending time with all of the students in the program, and they would refer to me as “Mama”. This is common, and initially I didn’t give it much thought. But, I vividly remember the school director telling me that all of these students are just like my “children”. He said, go back to Canada knowing that you have more than 40 children here in Tanzania! It was so touching, and brought tears to my eyes…yet at the same time, the responsibility of it all was so terrifying. Could I meet their expectations? Could I really be a “good” mama to all of these little ones?
You see, I have three little girls of my own back at home. My time is stretched thin providing for them. Could I really be a good mommy and mama? I struggle daily with how to balance both.
People often talk about mommy guilt. It is a concept I understand all too well, being a working mom. I have made many concessions in my career in order to balance work and family.
I work a reduced work week so that I can spend as much time with my girls as possible. So far, it works for us.
But now, I struggle to balance the pressures that come with my not for profit organization work, especially being a mama to these Tanzanian children who stole my heart last November. I am constantly worrying about them, working to secure funding to send them to school, and keeping tabs on their families, many of whom struggle with illness. I spend countless hours on this; late nights and weekends. And, I love every minute of it. But, it does take time away from my little girls…and that causes guilt…mommy guilt. Should I be spending less time working on Mom2Mom Africa and more time with my children…and then other times, I worry about the exact opposite. It seems like I am forever in guilt mode. When I am in Canada, I worry about the children in Tanzania. Yet, booking my next trip to Tanzania in July caused major guilt. I can’t win.
So, I talked to my daughters about this recently. I tried to explain how being a mama and mommy can be really difficult. Thankfully, all three of my girls were supportive beyond their years. My girls are my world. And my work in Tanzania, and the children there, are always in my heart, and mind. I just have to do the best I can at balancing both worlds and hope that I succeed.
I think mommy guilt is a common thread that all of us moms feel at one time or another. We are likely too hard on ourselves and most often are doing a better job than we actually give ourselves credit for. And in the end, I think I can be both a mommy and mama. I just have to be conscious of keeping a healthy balance between both! And I now know my girls will help me keep it all in check! Knowing I have their support eases the mommy guilt, and lets me instead channel that energy into being a good mommy and mama! Or at least the best one that I can be!
Mom2Mom Africa has just launched an indiegogo campaign to build a new school and implement a food program at one of the schools they send students to in the Mom2Mom Africa program. Click HERE if you would like to be a part of this exciting campaign.
Can you relate to the “Mommy Guilt” dilemma?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog By Mom2Mom Founder Alison Fraser.