Susan Keogh is a radio personality in Dublin, Ireland. She’s also the mother to a 4-year-old girl, and recently her ability to juggle her role as a mother while also working came into question in the most unwelcome way.
Keogh summed up one man’s tweet to her as basically saying that if she missed her child so much at work, then perhaps she should reconsider working in the first place. Keogh said that tweet stuck with her so much that she actually lost sleep over it, so she decided to write a letter in response to his criticism.
“Dear Brave Man,” the letter begins, “I got your message. The one where you pointed out that if I missed my 4-year-old girl while I’m in work, then I should just give up my job. Or stop posting pictures of her, at the very least. How had I not thought of that before? So helpful.”
She goes on to say that her job is important to her. She says that her job makes her happy and content and, as a result, a better mom. She states that she feels guilty every day, sometimes 10 times a day, but that she works to provide a better future for her daughter.
I was trolled earlier this week by a guy who thinks I shouldn't have a baby AND a job.
Here's what I think – pic.twitter.com/8SKBtsHhNy
— Susan Keogh (@susankeoghnews) January 29, 2016
Since Keogh blocked the man on Twitter, she said that her letter wasn’t actually meant to shame him, but rather just to get her thoughts off her chest. And we’re so glad she did. It’s like she’s inside our heads, saying exactly what every working mom is thinking.
Women are trained from a very early age to feel guilty for aspects of ourselves that merit no real repentance. Among the lengthy list of the so-called remorseful acts we commit is leaving our children in the care of someone else so we can carry a career. It seems as though when we choose to enter the workforce, we’re flooded with guilt and apologize relentlessly because of it.
We’re sorry that we’re missing story times and bedtimes. Sorry that we’re not at home building blanket forts and playing in finger paint. And we go as far as to carry that remorse with us to our jobs, apologizing for missing our children, or getting distracted, or — God forbid — being human. But why?
Women can’t simply clock out of motherhood. We carry our kids, whether physically or emotionally, with us everywhere. Just because working moms leave the house long enough to provide financially or participate in careers that are important to us for whatever the reason may be, that doesn’t mean we’re robots incapable of feeling basic human emotion. Of course we feel things. We feel everything.
Our hearts ache when we give those goodbye kisses, and it feels like getting sucker punched in the gut if we miss those bedtime stories. Some days the guilt of being gone consumes us, and odd as it may be, there are days when we long to soothe the manic meltdowns of our children. We miss our kids, every aspect of them, because we love them.
Missing our kids shouldn’t provoke the dispute of whether or not we should remain in the workforce. Whether a woman works by choice or by necessity is really none of anyone else’s business, and clocking into a nine-to-five does not deduct from her credibility as a mother. But so long as women continue to be everything to everyone, so long as we continue to “do it all,” and so long as we continue to wear many capes, society will sadly continue to question why.