Move to France and Lose the Working-Mom Guilt?

So I came across this article today on Huffington Post Parents,”Vive Le Differencé?”, by Debra Ollivier, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

In the article, Ollivier discusses the book Bringing Up Bebe, One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting and enlightens the reader on the differences between the way the French well, bring up baby.  She says that the author of this book “discovered that French women certainly do not suffer the same guilt about everything.”

Hold up. Hold up.  Hold up.

You mean to tell me, there is a place in this universe where mothers are not constantly second guessing themselves and their work-life choices?  Impossible.

I read the line again…“French women certainly do not suffer the same guilt about everything.”  Yep.  That’s what the article says.

You see I thought god gave you a baby and a big dose of, ‘I think I am already screwing this mini-human up’ guilt, at every delivery in the world.

I assumed that that just came with the territory.  That the guilt didn’t discriminate, and that if you were a stay-at-home mom anywhere, you would wonder what you were missing out on professionally.  If you were a working-mom, you would wonder if your were missing critical moments in your young one’s life. And if you worked part-time, you would always feel split in two.

I thought there was no refuge from this guilt.  It was all part of being a mother.

Once I found out this was not the case, I almost hopped back on the subway to pack my bags and take Ellie to France.

But then I realized I had a substantial amount of work to do, and an unsubstantial amount of money in my bank account.

So I continued on with my professional day with the steady hum of Ellie constantly running through my brain.  I have to say that is one of the most impressive things about motherhood…the fact that I am ALWAYS thinking about my daughter, even when I am totally concentrating on something else.

It’s just this hum, almost like white noise, underneath everything else…”ellie, ellie, ellie, ellie, ellie, ellie…”  (My poor mom, I can only imagine what it sounds like inside her head with four of us).

“I need graphics for that piece and sound effects that sound like a crowd cheering in a football stadium” in the foreground of my work-brain and “ellie, ellie, ellie, ellie, ellie, ellie…”  in the background.

And then I get a these photos sent to me via text and ELLIE comes rushing to the foreground of my mind.

Ellie on the playground, with mud up to her knees.

 

Ellie going down the slide, sent by the nanny while Mommy is at work. Which means Mommy is not at the playground.

Ellie on the swings. While Mommy is at work.

 

And the text message read: “PLAYING AT THE PARK.  HOPE IT’S OKAY THAT WE GOT A LITTLE WET AND DIRTY.”

I responded: “THAT’S WHAT SHE IS SUPPOSED TO DO!”

And then I followed up with: “JUST MAKE SURE HER FEET ARE WARM ENOUGH.”

Of course, I got all sad about the fact that I couldn’t be at the playground with her.  Checking to make sure her feet were warm enough myself.

And I got all excited about moving to France…or at the very least, buying the book, Bringing Up Bebe, One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, so I can gain a little insight into this guilt-free motherhood thing.