When I was pregnant, I knew being a stay-at-home mom really wasn’t an option. I would imagine what a luxury it would be, but realized financially it most likely wouldn’t work for our family. The first day I dropped off my daughter, just a teeny tiny three-month old, at daycare was. hard. It felt so wrong to hand my infant to someone else and leave her for eight hours.
I felt guilty.
As time went on, drop offs were easier, and eventually the [unwelcomed] thought of work being a “break,” dare I say — a luxury, crept into my mind. And the mommy guilt ensued. No, I would think, I shouldn’t want to go to work! I know I’m not alone, am I, working mommies of the world? Don’t get me wrong, I miss my girl each and every day (like crazy!) and I still have plenty of SAHM daydreams, and occasionally even think that I’m taking the easy way out by being a working mom.
Sometimes it feels like there is no escaping, of quieting, the working mom guilt. Guilty for not being with our babies all day, not seeing them enough, guilty for [sometimes] thinking bedtime can’t come soon enough even though we only see our little ones for a couple hours in the evening after work, and guilty for feeling like it’s a relief to go to work some days! But these feelings are perfectly normal and we need to remind ourselves that it’s ok, that we are enough and we are doing our best. That we are doing what is best in our own unique situation. Just because six of your neighbors are stay-at-home moms doesn’t mean it’s wrong that you aren’t. Besides, I often remind myself during moments of working mom guilt, there are many benefits to having a child in daycare, surrounded by other kids of various ages, learning to share, to be kind, and to play with others.
Finley was at her first daycare for the first two years of her life. Heidi became her second mommy, and my working mom guilt was in full force most of the time, feeling like Finley was basically being raised by someone other than me. A person who, after all, was with her more waking hours than her own mommy.
Will she even know that I actually am her real mommy!?
It had been nearly two months since Finley saw Heidi [since her last day there], when she and her family came over for dinner and so our girls could play. Not surprisingly, Finley wanted absolutely nothing to do with me, but instead, wanted Heidi to help her with everything. She missed her, I get it, and couldn’t blame her. But still!
Should I have been the one with her every day for those first two years?
Just when I thought I had felt the worst of the working mom guilt, Finley dropped a bomb on me when I asked her if she loved [me] mommy, by responding with “I love Heidi!” without missing a beat! Who knew a two-year old could actually hurt a grown mama’s feelings!?
If there is one thing I know, the working mom guilt will continue to ebb and flow. There will be days it’s in full force and days all seems A-OK. But, despite the moments that make it difficult, let’s all remember that we are enough, and that, of course, our children love us, and do our best to quiet that working-mom-guilt…