The “mom guilt” you feel when working full-time is real, and I feel it too everyday. You are not alone! I still struggle with guilt leaving my son, and this has always been something I have struggled with since Parker was born.
Before becoming a parent, you really have no idea the worry and guilt that comes in to play when you have to figure out your childcare situation. We are BEYOND lucky that our family is so helpful, and we have had the luxury of having lots of helping hands during the first three years of his life. While we have been lucky to save money, that reality of going back to work was still a serious struggle and the mom guilt is TOUGH to deal with.
I had a c-section and was out on Maternity leave for 12 weeks, and I have no words for the feelings that I encountered having to leave him every day when going back to work. I questioned to myself-will I lose that bond that a mother is supposed to have with him? What if I don’t know everything he ate? Is he not going to want to breast feed if he is on the bottle all day? What if a miss a major milestone? Will he want someone, before he wants me? There is such a pressure through society to do all, BE ALL. Those first few years of life are so important for your baby, and who wouldn’t want to be with their baby for every one of those moments?
I know that working isn’t always a choice. For some of you it is and I respect that. Women should be allowed to have a career and a family. No shame in that at all. But, I also know many of you working moms did not choose to work but have to work, and this makes you feel stuck. You wish for something different – for some way to pay your bills, see your kids, and be more content. This post is also not to discredit stay at home moms, because I know that this is BEYOND HARD as well, and I respect you mamas too for ALL that you do! It’s hard to balance your life while working, needing to clean your house, grocery shopping, attend birthday parties and visit three houses on holidays to see all of the family, but you are not alone!
4 years later, and I currently work 3 jobs, 1 being full-time. I also own my own Etsy shop and handle social media accounts for different businesses. Sometimes I am putting 60-70 hours in a week. Now that Parker is four, he goes to school three half days per week, and he spends the remainder of the day with family. To this day it is mentally draining being away from my son, and I miss him everyday, but as he gets older I’m learning to accept it in a different way.
Instead of filling your head with disappointment, acknowledge the wonderful things that you do as a mom! This was difficult for me to do at times, but instead of looking at the glass half empty, look at the positive things you are doing in your life to better yourself as a parent and care for your child. For example, there are times I used to beat myself up when I had to go into work early and my husband would have to bring my son to school. Instead look at the times you are spending time together, and look for those little joys even when your dressing him for school.
Remember, we are building the best life we can for our kids.
They say these are the best days of our lives, but they are also the hardest. As moms, we need to stick together and keep reminding each other of those things. Remember to look at the positives! Take every moment of having to leave your babies as giving yourself a breather and enjoy interaction with other adults! Put your phone away with your babes as soon as you get home, and then soak up every moment you have with them!
Taking Care of yourself is taking care of your kids.
I once felt guilt from someone who commented on my social life and I almost felt like I had to defend being able to have one while being a mother, which gave me a whole different feeling of “mom guilt”. Whether it’s getting your nails done, or going out to lunch with the girls, once in a while moms-you also need to live a little! I think it’s important for every mom to have a life and be able to be social and step out of that “mom role” for a night once in a while. You don’t die when you become a parent, and a night out on the town sometimes can make you feel refreshed. I didn’t go out much at all during the first two years Parker was born, but as he has gotten older I have began to let myself have more of a life. I cherish every moment I have with my son, and you should never feel pressured to not have a life once you have children. And sometimes yes, it’s very difficult, to balance life, work full-time, be a mom and have a social life, but I promise you, once in a while its GOOD for you. Trust me when I tell ya…the kids will not notice while they are getting spoiled with grandma!
My mom always taught me that if I was feeling any kind of mom guilt that it meant that I cared, and if I cared I was doing something right. Its hard not to look at and images you see on pinterest and social media and not compare yourself to them, and the truth is when you can accept that you are an imperfect mom, you can get down to the important business of being an imperfect mom! And I can teach my son that life is not perfect, and we do not live in a perfect world, but we can try our best to be good people.