Written By Christine Kemper
Edited By Beth Zollars
2 – Minute Read
Our monthly features “Dear Young Mom Me” and “2 – Minute Mom” offers sage, topical advice from seasoned Moms to newer Moms or Moms going through unnavigable waters.
Think of it as your “Mom Mentor” or Mom on speed dial.
Kicking off the feature last month with my “Dear Young Mom Me” – read it here if you missed it. https://elizabethbythesea.com/dear-young-mom/
I’m over the moon to have my dear friend Christine Kemper offer her own mom experiences in this months post titled “Mommy Guilt”.
I believe most moms will resonate, as I did, with these shared feelings.
Christine is one of those friends if she weren’t so incredibly kind and warm you wouldn’t stand next to her witty, intelligent, beautiful, tenacious, authentic self at a party. Trust me, she raises everyone around her to her orbit – just the woman she is.
We first met while both pregnant in 1998 – chugging away at our careers and philanthropic endeavors, she had me at “I feel like crap” – loving her everyday since.
Talented in a multitude of professions, wife to Sandy and Mom to four amazing children/young adults, three still at home and one spreading her wings in Colorado.
Here is Christine’s 2 – Minute Mom Advice.
The two words are almost redundant.
There isn’t a mom out there who doesn’t feel guilty about getting it wrong. Something, anything. We’re just sure we’re getting it wrong.
For me, it was the classic “working mom’s guilt.”
I started having kids at 34, just as my husband decided to become a full-time entrepreneur. Craving steady income, I stayed in the workforce.
The truth is, I loved my work, but I used his new adventure as an excuse for continuing to hand my baby (and subsequent children) over to a care provider.
There were moments, hours, even days of guilt that stacked up in several short years.
We had four children by the time I was 40 and still, I kept my day job.
During the same period, my sister was a stay-at-home mom with two young girls. Our lifestyles couldn’t have been more different. While I was zipping around in the corporate world, she was going to Gymboree and canning vegetables.
However, we were both convinced the other was getting it “right” as a mom.
We turned to our own mother, Patty, who offered sage advice.
“Kids are only as happy with their moms’ life choices as the moms themselves.”
If a mom goes to work and feels insecure about her choice, the kids will sense it and be upset. Likewise, if a stay-at-home mom agonizes about her lifestyle, the kids will sense it and be upset.
However, a happy mom who embraces her choice (even if she sometimes has to fake it to make it) gives her children a sense of comfort and security.
Mommy Guilt serves no purpose, except to poison a young child’s outlook about his/her mother’s role in the world.
In the ensuing years, my sister and I have tried to embrace this position. Sure, we still try to convince each other that each of us is the inferior mom….but never in front of the children.
To them, we say “isn’t it great that mom gets to do exactly what she wants to do?!”
My kids have never wondered why I don’t stay home “like other moms” and hers have never asked why she doesn’t “have a real job.”
Those are just questions Guilty Moms plant in the heads of unsuspecting children.
Between us, we have raised six kids who seem to be mostly undamaged by our neuroses.
Whatever your choice – work outside the home, inside the home, or an ebb and flow of both, be confident in your choice, exemplify a positive outlook and never let the children suspect anything different.
Thank you Christine! I appreciate your insights and spot on advice.
Readers – Do you have any Mom Guilt? Do you have a piece of go-to sage advice?
Comment below and thanks for stopping by Elizabeth by the Sea.
Following her early career endeavors in government, politics, entertainment and communications, Christine founded Kemper & Company, LLC, a marketing and research consultancy that has advised local, national and global brands since 2002. She is co-founder of The Collectors Fund and The Kansas City Collection, two enterprises that invest in art and build markets for artists, as well as YEPKC, an internship and scholarship organization focused on nurturing entrepreneurship among high school students. She has served in leadership roles for dozens of regional nonprofit organizations, including the Women’s Foundation, Women’s Employment Network, WIN for KC, the WWI Museum and Memorial, DeLaSalle Education Center, the Symphony Foundation and University Academy Charter School. Her current passion is in her role as Founding Chair of Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy, an all-girls, college-bound public charter school in Kansas City, Missouri, set to open in August, 2019. (www.kcgpa.org) Kemper and her husband live on a farm and raise horses, sheep, goats, chickens and four children, in no particular order.