Barrymore says working moms can turn their guilt into a positive for their kids
Look no further than a mom if you want a raw, unadulterated version of guilt on steroids. We’re set up to fail because of one primary assumption made of us — that we must participate constantly in our children’s lives. That’s an expectation. But many moms have other passions or work that takes us away from our kids, and that’s not a bad thing.
Drew Barrymore is one such mom — an actress, author, producer, director, she definitely keeps busy with non-kid pursuits. She’s also mother to two daughters, Olive, five, and Frankie, three, who she shares with ex-husband Will Kopelman. She often has to travel for work, something her daughters aren’t big fans of. So she came up with a way to make it easier on them and also, changed the way she talks about work to make sure her girls know work isn’t a bad thing. In fact it’s “good and necessary.”
Olive has a working mom. So, I came up with a couple of systems. One of which is “THE CALENDAR”. It has been very successful recently. I circle with sharpie every day I will be traveling. And I ask her to mark the day with an X once it’s done. That way she can see that I am gone at first, still away in the middle, and then coming back towards the end. She now has a good sense of my geographic place from the globe. She knows when I am leaving and coming home. I always explain to her that I love my Job. I don’t say “I have to go work” with a grimace on my face, because I fear it will make her feel negative about something a lot of moms must do to provide. My friend once said “never make your child feel like work is the bad thing taking you away from them” and I realized a lot of us tend to do that to try to make our kids feel better and that work is the yucky thing taking us away. It’s a good intention, but I am convinced I need to take a different approach. I want to empower my daughters to think work is good and necessary. And can even lead them to road of their dreams. I feel guilty as hell for being away (and what mother doesn’t?!) But i try a way to empower me and my kids into something more positive. I don't blame work, i own the responsibility. I will be patient when she is upset if i am away. But i wanted to give her a tool, so she could understand and gage life when i am working. Like a hand made calendar. And watching my daughter follow through with as an exercise, is so rewarding. And calming to my concerns about teaching her to grasp life. I also send her a postcard everyday at Summer camp where she walks to a mailbox and pulls out my hand written card. She knows what stamps are. And snail mail. And then she carries them in her back pack. And has even started to write me back. And we save them all in a box. Like I said, I’m trying to balance life to make it as great as it can be, and we have to find ways that are authentic and true to who we are. I tried a few methods at first… and if you ever want to corespond with Olive, don’t face time with her. I learned that the hard way.
“Olive has a working mom. So, I came up with a couple of systems. One of which is ‘THE CALENDAR,'” Barrymore wrote on her Instagram page. “I circle with sharpie every day I will be traveling. And I ask her to mark the day with an X once it’s done. That way she can see that I am gone at first, still away in the middle, and then coming back towards the end.”
She said this is how her kids get a sense of time and when she will be home. But what’s more, Barrymore said she’s recently changed how she talks about her work so her kids know it’s something she loves, not something she has to do. “I don’t say ‘I have to go work’ with a grimace on my face, because I fear it will make her feel negative about something a lot of moms must do to provide,” she explained.
Before I left for Asia, I showed Olive where on the globe I was going. And now, at this moment, I came across an article by the great @anthonybourdain LINK IN BIO TO READ because it really moved me. It’s funny how we all arrange our travel. I came here for work, but on the off hours, I live for getting “local” and getting to know what a place is really like without the protection of the familiar. He has great tips and an even better philosophy. Take a moment to read his wisdom and style. It just might change your next life experience. #thailanddiaries
She says a friend helped her rethink the way she spoke about her work because, like many working moms, we “tend to do that to try to make our kids feel better and that work is the yucky thing taking us away.” Barrymore said of course she feels guilty being away but she wants to empower them to think of working as a positive. “I don’t blame work, i own the responsibility,” she wrote.
The mom of two also said parents need to get back to doing the small things to connect us no matter where we are. She sends postcards to Olive every day she’s at camp, so she can have written letters from her mom. “We have to find ways that are authentic and true to who we are. And if you ever want to correspond with Olive, don’t face time with her. I learned that the hard way.”