Over the last few weeks I’ve attended a number of work related weekend conferences, evening and morning events. In order for me to say yes to these things, Eric has to do a lot more at home. He doesn’t complain at all, but I notice this sinking feeling in my gut that is always there… I feel bad. I feel bad that he’s shouldering more than me at home and, even though I would gladly do the same for him, my instinct is to apologize. “Honey, I’m sorry I left you with everything to do last night and this morning so I could be on two back to back panel discussions…”
But as I drove to my early morning event last Thursday it struck me why this is unhelpful thinking. Or more specifically, unhelpful feeling.
Feeling bad firstly steals the joy and energy I have for the work that I do, which is not a great posture from which to show up as a speaker. But more importantly, feeling bad puts the focus on ME. It’s a place of analyzing what I’m doing or not doing. It’s an internal conversation that doesn’t really help anyone.
What if instead of feeling bad, I felt grateful? Instead of thinking about how I’m not home to make dinner or color with Aubrey, I think about how Eric is so good at engaging his two girls and will likely make stove-top s’mores and play soccer in the house while I’m gone. Eric affectionately refers to himself as “grandpa dad” when I’m away. Grandpa dad is loving, fun, and allows for dessert before dinner or Cheerios for an evening snack. What if instead of my mental narrative playing lies about how I’m slacking as a mom, it played a chorus of thank you’s out loud to my husband?
- Thank you for always saying yes to my work opportunities and covering the home front while I’m gone.
- Thank you for supporting my career and believing that there is value in my work. To that end, thank you for making adjustments so that I can show up for important work events.
- Thank you for letting me be a leader, even though that means I’m always “on” and sometimes distracted by work. Thanks for stepping in when I need help.
- Thank you for being a good dad, a present husband, and a man who demonstrates his support of women in how you love and parent.
From now on I’m not going to feel bad. I’m going to feel grateful.