Monday, May 26, 2008


While in high school, I heard that some store managers were suspicious of teens due to shoplifting incidents. Afterwards, I felt guilty whenever just browsing a store with managers in view. I had no reason to feel guilty. I didn't have sticky fingers. But, somehow, I had already learned to internalize projected judgments of others onto myself.

I get the same slinking feeling whenever I'm leaving work on the early side, taking advantage of getting all of my work done early to get home to spend more time with my children while they're still awake. Even if I plan to continue doing work after they go to bed, I feel like a shadowy criminal trying to get away with something.

I dread running into people who may look at me with all of my bags and then glance down at their watch. I dread running into a supervisor.

It doesn't matter if I'm incredibly efficient and productive during my time at work. Or if I've worked through lunch scarfing down a sandwich in between keystrokes on the computer. It's what the hands on the clock read when I'm leaving the building that determine my innocence.


  1. I think that post speaks for mothers everywhere.

    Wouldn't it be nice if places of work weren't just family friendly in policy but in thoughts and feelings and attitudes as well?

  2. Right on, KC. You speak the truth. I see my male counterparts dally their way through their day, yet I have this complex that I can't leave before them without feeling guilty. Never mind that I cram my work into every spare second my day affords me, and accomplish 1.5 to 2 times as much, like you say...the hands on the clock when you leave. All I know is that I'd rather face most anything than my son if he's not fed by 6:15. Stand proud.

  3. What about being called to pick up a sick kid from daycare mid-way through the day? I feel guilty getting my colleague to cover my clnic, and then I feel guilty for feeling guilty for doing what a mother needs to do.


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