I was just telling a friend and colleague yesterday (who had sent her son to school with a stomach ache because she was pretty sure he was faking) that it's just accepted wisdom that working mothers feel guilty all the time. They often express that they feel like they aren't performing as well as they'd like at work or at home. Every time I read an article about the burden of housework cooking/cleaning/etc usually falls on a Mother, even when both parents work I whisper "bullshit" under my breath. It is so patently, absurdly, unfair.
I was lucky enough to have had a stay-at-home Mom until I was about 10 years old. Once my younger brother Ian (aka Ianovith) started school full-time my mother went back to work. I think the reasons were two-fold. The first is that my parents had just purchased their dreamhouse, only to have the company my father worked at go bankrupt less than a year later. The second was that, while she loves being a mother, she also loves having a career.
My Mother is a brilliant, sweet, intelligent woman who attended nursing college in Toronto, and went on to work in the field until she had her second child (ME!). She and my father met as team mates on the Ryerson swim team (my mother's nickname was "Tiger"). My father was working on his second area of study (he had already majored in one area of engineering and was now pursuing a second major). The story of their courtship is very sweet, albeit not very romantic, I believe my Father proposed between classes.
When reentering the workforce after a 10 year absence my Mother did lots of jobs that some would think were "beneath" her skills/education. She passed out samples at a local grocery store, she sold magazine subscriptions, she managed a restaurant (although now that I think of it, maybe these were all jobs that Roseanne had). Eventually she worked her way up from managing a single store (in the PepsiCo family) to developing training programs for managers, and then to a Personnel Manager for a retail giant where her skills as a great Mother makes her beloved by hundreds of employees. Watching the way my Mother dealt with conflict, the way that she mentored her employees, the way she approached set-backs as opportunities taught me so many of the skills I employ every day in my own working life.
Having a working Mother made us self-sufficient. It taught us how to settle arguments amongst ourselves instead of being able to run into the kitchen to tattle. She showed us that hard work is good work. I love my Mother for wanting to have it all. She raised three happy, well-adjusted children while building a successful career. Bottom line, having a working Mother made me a better man.
In the end, guilt will never get you the glory. You're doing a great job, working Moms, give yourselves a break.