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Wife: Trapping guilt

I like to think that I live through trial and error not by failure and success, the difference being that failure is too harsh to justify the wrong decisions we make in life: we are not perfect, only human and we can not possibly choose the right path every time.

As a woman, a mother and a wife feeling satisfied in everything we do is even less possible. They say “a woman’s work is never done” and I’d have to agree fully with this, therefore I ask: should we measure our successes against our failures and move on or should we strive to achieve as much as possible even if it means putting ourselves in the frontline of everything that is thrown at us?

As a result of the latter there is always that guilt factor which creeps into my mind, embodying my soul and eating away at my confidence and spirit.

Trapping guilt 1For me, guilt comes in the form of those I love: my husband and children, parents and grandparents, the latter I perhaps didn’t see enough of before they passed away and now feel as though I should make more effort with my parents who remind me all too often that they too won’t be around forever.

Yet still I am faced with whether or not I am doing enough to satisfy all parties and fulfilling my roles as mother, wife and daughter. Will I ever be content with how much I am giving and where exactly I fit into this complicated equation?

Admittedly I’ve never been good at solving problems, however for what it’s worth I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps we, as women, mothers and wives aim way too high most of the time leaving us disheartened when things don’t go according to social norms and expectations. Time and again we find ourselves asking: How much is enough? Or how far should we go to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others?

My own experience has led me to such a dilemma: I recently made the difficult decision to quit my teaching job. The truth is I’ve been finding this whole working and being a mum thing incredibly stressful and potentially damaging to my marital life, for instance when my husband would come home from work he’d play with the kids, have dinner alone and I’d start planning lessons for the next day, continuing through the best part of the night after the children had gone to sleep.

I’ve read countless articles and comments from women who are currently balancing work and family life. Many appear content doing what they do, working to make enough money to enjoy a decent life. Others claim to get some much needed head space (which I can fully relate with), some want to get ahead in their careers and others just want to pay the bills.

I sometimes wonder if any of these women ever feel guilt like I do – guilt about deciding to return to work after having kids and consequently not spending enough time with their children or their other half. On the other hand how do stay at home mums feel about withdrawing from a society where opportunity and equality is being recognised and fought for?

Many women would argue their point of view till they’ve convinced others that their decision is the right one, however are they really trying to convince themselves of their situation as a sort of blanket over the pain they feel inside?

More than likely they are just like me, in search of the right path to take but, will we ever find it?

What I discovered in attempting to resolve this question of right or wrong is the importance of time which is constantly working against us, like a large clock mercilessly pushing us forward against our will and constantly reminding us that “there’s no going back”.

Trapping guilt 2For this reason I’ve decided to challenge myself in the fight to buy some time, to focus on my family and give to them as much of myself as possible in order to cherish the memories while the children are still so young.

Both my husband and I agree that the present is not the right time to be taking on more stress through reaching for goals that will most likely interfere with home and family life. There will come a time in the not so distant future when the children will be at school and I will again decide whether to go back to work or not, the former being more likely to occur.

I’m sure most of us are aware that the time we have with our children is precious, it waits for no one and will one day be lost forever leaving behind only traces of our younger days.

For this reason  I’m reverting back to my previous role as cook, cleaner, caretaker, organiser and whatever else (of which there are many) that encompasses being a typical housewife living in modern day society. Of course there are always other goals that can be slotted in AFTER my family such as blogging (my creative outlet) and getting back into my fitness where I’ve recently signed up for three times weekly personal training sessions starting at 6am!

Since making the changes I am pleased to report that our home is a lot more organised, there is food in the fridge and my family can expect to find a home cooked meal at the end of the day. My stress levels are also lower much to my husband’s delight and I am enjoying playing a vital part in my children’s lives as well as my husband’s.

As the last trickle of heart felt thought pours in, I’d like to thank my parents for allowing and supporting me to assess my priorities and for giving me the strength to do what I most feel comfortable with. Last but not least and as a special tribute for Valentine’s day I’d like to thank my husband who’s stood by me throughout our emotional journey and has once again brought me to my senses even though I’ll undoubtedly need rescuing again at some point!

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About Julia Perry

Julia Perry
Julia Perry was our second Wife (columnist). As an English ex-pat living in Malta we loved sharing her sunny life (and pictures!) We separated on good terms and she still pops in from time to time with news and ideas... To find out more about our contributors, visit our Community page.

3 comments

  1. Thank you ladies for your kind support and words of wisdom it’s comforting to know your thoughts and that you are backing up my decision. Best of luck to both of you in your own lives too, may you all of us as women and parents find the love and happiness we deserve!

  2. Wewsy Afternoons

    :o Don’t be so hard on yourself. I don’t know how anyone manages to work when they have young children. I could barely get through most days at home with the kids. If I had to fit work in to the mix as well I definitely wouldn’t have coped. Well done for trying but now you’ve made this decision, get on with enjoying being at home and don’t feel bad about it.

  3. Cristiana Tsolkos

    Dear Julia
    Don’t feel guilty, it sounds like you had to make a difficult choice and you chose whats best for your husband and children, putting yourself aside and sacrificing something you really want for yourself. You should feel proud, not guilty, sweetheart.
    Love to you and your precious ones, CT

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