Oh JoyOh Joy

let's all have less mom guilt, shall we?

Oh Joy for Target - Behind the Scenes

I've recently spoken at a few conferences, and I always get asked about how to deal with feeling guilty about being away from your child as a working mom. Now, let me preface this by saying that "mom guilt" is an epidemic that every mother I know seems to feel often—whether they're stay-at-home-moms, working moms, or any kind of mom—we (unfortunately) feel bad for something. While I certainly struggle with it too, here's something that recently helped me feel a little less guilty...

As a mom who runs my own business, my work never really ends and sometimes my work crosses into personal time. Even though I try my best to keep the two worlds separate, it's not always possible. Earlier this year, we were shooting images for the Oh Joy for Target Fall and Holiday collections coming out this year. I try not to schedule any meetings or really important work things on Wednesdays (because that's the one day a week that I don't go into the office and I stay home with Ruby), but one morning, I had to bring her to the Target shoot location on one of our special Wednesdays.

Oh Joy for Target - Behind the Scenes

When she woke up that morning, I told her that she was coming with mama to a photo shoot for Target. She knows what photos are and she knows the store Target, but she didn't really understand where we were going. Once there, she got to see beautiful displays being set up with Oh Joy product, and she got to meet the talented stylists, art directors, photographers, and all the creative and interesting people that help make these images come together. The best part was showing her how once a scene was set up, the photographer would take a picture of it, and the image would come onto the computer screen, and then we would decide which one was the best one. For a two year old, she got to see a process in action that she wouldn't have understood with words alone. We left and went on her usual day, and I didn't think much about it until the next morning...

Oh Joy for Target - Behind the Scenes

She woke up and said, "Mama, are we going to the Target photo shoot today?! That was so fun!" At first, I thought maybe I had exposed her too much to a world that wasn't a typical day for anyone—let alone a kid—to experience. But then I thought to myself, how cool is it that my daughter gets to see her mom living out one of her dreams? And she gets to experience how parts of the process occur. While she's not old enough to understand it completely, whenever we go to Target now, she sees my photo on the display, and she says, "That's you, mama!" and gets excited to find "the stuff Oh Joy made". It's a pretty cool feeling to get to show Ruby that even though I don't get to be with her all day, everyday because I am working, the work that I do is something I truly love, and I want it to be inspiration for her to find that for herself someday.

So if you're a working parent, please remember that working doesn't have to have a negative connotation to kids and represent the times that their parents are away from them, but it can represent something exciting—accomplishing goals, building dreams, having a life outside being a parent, and lots of other things that none of us should feel guilty for. You're showing them what's possible in the world and at the end of the day, you're bringing home a more nourished and more fulfilled version of yourself.

P.S. Here's my keynote speech at Alt Summit last month where I mention this example if you would like to see.

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}