I’m a working mama, and I feel guilty every single day I get in my car and drive the 30 miles to work. It’s starting to get harder and harder as MC gets older since now she’s aware of her surroundings. This morning she held her arms out and started crying while repeating “mama, mama, mama” as I was trying to get out the door.
I was in tears taking the elevator down to the parking garage, and cried a little while sitting in my car before starting my commute.
I’m not quite sure when the guilt started creeping in. It was always there, but lately it’s been coming on in heavier and heavier waves. Today was a new low as it reduced me to tears.
It makes/doesn’t quite make sense, but I guess I feel guilty for leaving MC for different reasons as she gets older. When she was 12 weeks old, I went back to working full-time and I felt guilty because she was so tiny, I was still nursing, and we were still trying to figure each other out. But I felt as though she didn’t quite understand what was going on since she was so little,so the pros and cons were pretty even. But now that she calls out for me when I leave the house, she remembers things, and she’s just generally more situationally aware of her surroundings, the pros list keeps getting shorter and the cons list has almost tripled in size.
I think part of why I feel the way I do is just because I haven’t decided whether or not I want to have another baby. So it makes me act as though every single moment is going to be the last time I experience it, so when I miss out on what I’ve deemed as precious moments, that’s when the guilt creeps in. It also doesn’t help that parents constantly hear “Don’t blink! Cherish this moment. They don’t [act, do, talk, think, etc.] like this for long!”
I feel like there’s no way to win. I just don’t think I could ever be a stay at home mother because I love the stimulation, interactions, challenges, and motivation that work gives me. Also, I have grown accustomed to a specific lifestyle and without two full salaries, that would make that a bit more complicated. But sometimes I think about what it would be like for me to stay at home and changed my career trajectory entirely.
Now, before you helpfully suggest that I have postpartum depression, or say I should talk to a counselor about this, or whatever other two cents you’d like to contribute, I’ve done all that. I have my diagnoses and I have my support. Thank you. I’m being genuine! I’m just expressing myself through this forum because I wish I could have stumbled across a post like this when I was pregnant. It was so difficult to get a real balance of motherhood, not just one extreme or the other. I felt like either the blogs depicted a beautiful, perfect image of what a family was supposed to look like/how to act, or was the exact opposite and sometimes went to the extreme of husband bashing, fellow mother bashing, and felt like there was a sense of pride that someone’s kid was wearing the same outfit for the past 5 days.
I want to create this space so we can be raw, genuine, and be a good balance of pretty things that make us smile and laugh, and ugly things that make us uncomfortable and sad. I also want this to be a place free of judgment. Ok, a little bit of judgment because putting your kids in dangerous situations less than ok.
I also realize that I have it great. I have a husband who loves and supports our family, a roof over our heads, parents and grandparents who we don’t deserve, and a healthy, happy daughter. I know some of you will read this and scoff at the angst, and compare war stories. I would love to hear your story. I want to learn from you, become wiser through your experiences, and hope you can learn something from me as well.
I would love some advice on how you working mamas do it. How do you balance everything with such grace and poise? How do you work over 40 hours a week, and come home every day to be on duty for yet another full time job? How do you do dinner, laundry, wipe runny noses, change dirty diapers, and ultimately share your love with your husband and child[ren] without feeling like you’ve got nothing left in your tank?
Well, with that, I’m going back to work. I wrote this during my lunch break, so please excuse the run on sentences, terrible grammar, and excessive use of the oxford comma.