GUILTY MOM

An Ode to Moms on Mother’s Day

It was 1pm and I was half way to Charlotte, NC when I got the call from Production.

I was on my way to shoot another Ford commercial, a campaign I had booked early last year that turned into about a dozen commercials, voiceovers and print jobs. (I’m crazy grateful guys!)

I moved to the Southeast just after giving birth because it was closer to family so they could visit and help with the baby. But also, the opportunities in the film business here had really grown over the years and as a nomadic actor, I had to go where the work was.

This was my 12th commercial shoot with Ford but in the previous year, I had always figured out a way to bring my son with me so I could breastfeed him or pump when I wasn’t shooting. This was the very first time that I was leaving him. And not only was Mamma leaving him, but Daddy wasn’t there either. I was dropping him off with my mom and sister at her house for 4 long days.

“Hey Megan, we’ve moved your fitting that was scheduled today to tomorrow.”

Shit.

I pulled off the highway. SHIT. What am I gonna do?????

This may seem like a no brainer to some of you…but let me break it down:

I had two options.

  1. I could turn around and drive one hour back to Raleigh, NC, where my son was napping.
  2. I could drive one more hour and arrive in Charlotte to an empty hotel where I could flip open this laptop and start writing.

I’m a planner people. That’s why I make a good producer.

The PLANNNNNN was to say goodbye to baby, drive to Charlotte, have a fitting, order room service, open this computer and start working on the 200+ emails that had accumulated as well as work on some much needed website maintenance and acting career goals.

What did my gut, my spirit, my inner voice tell me to do??

…keep going!

And then it hit me….GUILT.

GUILT GUILT GUILT GUILT MOTHA FUCKING GUILT.

Like a punch to the stomach. Like a brick hitting my chest. Like pounds of sand falling onto my shoulders, clouding my judgement, blinding my brain.

I could spend one more night with my son and he’d be away from me for one less night. He needs me. I could be visiting with my sister and my mom whom I only get to see 3 times a year. It’s only an hour away! Why is this even a question to you?

SHITTTTTTTTTTTTT

I called my husband. “Babe – what do I do?”

He went through the options with me, which of course, I already knew…but sometimes…it helps to talk them through out loud again to hear yourself. What does my body really want to do?

He said – “You have a choice.” Duh Duh DUHHHHH I wanted to scream!

The Guilt Monster barreled in and finished the sentence for him…

(in a very monster-like voice) “You choose your family or yourself. You are selfish or your not.”

FUUUUUCK.

When you put it that way…

FUCK

FUCK

FUCK

And then…

Fuck you Guilt Monster!!!!!!!!!!!!

What is this blistering festering horrible gut wrenching feeling of guilt that women go through?

Do men feel the same way? Do they put these pressures on themselves the way I am, the way women do?

Does my husband feel the same gut wrenching feeling when he leaves his son for work each morning?

Has he ever been paralyzed with the guilt of missing his next school event or big growing milestones?

Why do I??????

I wanted to go. But I wanted to cry. I wanted to be with myself and work. I had a budget to change, a schedule to make, reading and writing to do. I had hundreds of emails to delete. I had been gearing up for this work time for “me” time for two weeks.

This guilt is new to me – but sadly, and also refreshingly – I’m not alone. There are women in the top levels of business talking about it. And I’m telling you…it needs to be talked about more. It needs to be questioned, discussed, and talked through. Sheryl Sandberg spoke about it here.

For the next two months I am shooting a movie in Puerto Rico. I will be on location in Puerto Rico for two months. This is definitely the longest I’ve been away, even from my husband. Two precious months of those special growing “they’re only young once” years.

How am I going to do it????????

Well…I just am.

Do I feel guilty sometimes, yes.

But I’m going to Skype with my son every night. I’m going to tell him I love him. I’m going to cry from missing him. I’m going to thank my husband and his grandparents for taking care of him.

I will be ok.

And so will he.

And I hope one day he will be proud of me.

I didn’t turn back to Raleigh that day. I went to Charlotte. I sat down at my laptop and I wrote this blog. I was missing my boy, but feeling alright.