Cue The Guilt: How I Learned to Deal With my Working-Mom, Mommy Guilt
CUE THE GUILT
I’ve come to the decision that if you’re a mom there will always be some form of mommy guilt. In my case it’s from working full time. I feel guilty waking him up on my early mornings, who wants to wake a sleeping baby?! I feel guilty when my mom or sister have to distract him with a toy or cartoons so I can sneak out the door. My half hour commute is filled with guilty thoughts, “did I give him enough snuggles, did I spend enough time with him the night before, should I have let him play in the bath longer, did we read enough stories, I should have sang him one more lullaby”. I drove myself crazy. I knew it would be hard but we made the decision when I was pregnant that I would need to continue full time, I just didn’t realize how hard it would be.
I returned to work the day my son turned 7 weeks old. It seemed crazy to me, they don’t even let puppies leave their mothers that soon. But, when the limited disability ran out I didn’t have a choice, if we wanted our house, our two cars, food on the table, we had to be a two income family. My son actually handled it really well, it made it easier that he’s with family, but stress and anxiety quickly got to me. Major was not the worlds best nighttime sleeper and my husband worked the over night shift. One week shortly after my return to work I got a TOTAL of 12 hours of sleep. Most days I was a mombie (get it “Mom” “Zombie”?) I quickly figured out the whole nursing while lying on your side thing. Which was great for a while! We were both getting sleep and I could catch up on snuggles, but I swore I’d never bed share, so when I was and it was working, I still felt guilty.
It wasn’t long before I found something else to feel guilty about. Major was already getting half formula half breast milk during the day, and my supply was dwindling. I tried everything to pick it back up but eventually it was gone and Major was a full-fledged formula fed baby. I felt awful and did I mention guilty?!
I was stressed to the max. I wasn’t happy; I ugly cried daily and most importantly I wasn’t letting myself enjoy the time I did have with Major. After being away from him all day, I’d come home and was completely overwhelmed by my wife and mommy duties. I found myself anxiously waiting for Major’s bedtime. Seriously? I was away from him all day! I felt like a terrible mother. I begged my husband to let me quit or go part time, but deep down even I knew it wasn’t possible. I felt so guilty and like I was missing out of so much of Major’s life. I was so concerned about making sure Major had a routine and keeping the house perfectly clean all while maintaining a full time job that I was missing out even when I was home, I had mentally checked out and that wasn’t fair to Major, my husband or myself.
Something had to change and after an always enlightening conversation with my mom I realized it was me. She told me that 20 years from now I won’t remember if the house was spotless or if all the laundry was done. I’ll remember my little moments with Major, the ones I’m taking for granted now. She told me how one day I’ll give anything for these nights back, and after more ugly crying I realized how right she was. Once I finally realized this, I made myself relax and enjoy evenings with my baby. It’s like the storm lifted, I was happier and more importantly Major was happier.
MAKING THE MOST OF IT
Things are much better now. When I get home we play and make funny faces at each other through dinner and after I lay him down at night I usually find myself sitting on the couch, missing him, staring at the video monitor watching his chest go up and down. As a full time working mom, it’s easy to feel selfish for still wanting time to yourself. It’s not, you’re allowed to, and you deserve it!
Don’t get me wrong there are still days that are really hard, and I tear up while leaving him, but I’ve made peace with the fact that I work, and realize I’m just doing the best I can and he’s going to be okay. This has helped ease the guilt so much. Major is now 8 months old and has such a great personality. I was worried mommy leaving him everyday for work would ruin him, but he’s such a happy little guy, and the smile I get when I walk through the door after a long day is priceless.
I guess us working moms will always find something to feel guilty about, but reminding ourselves we are doing the best we can with what we have helps. I think all moms can relate to that, whether you’re a stay at home or working mom we’re all just doing the best we can, because we love those little babies so much it hurts!