It seems that as much as you believe in the decision you’ve made to maintain your career after having kids, you will never escape the guilt that goes along with that decision.
It’s an unnatural feeling for any mother to be separated from her child, and everyone always talks about how important it is to bond with your baby in the first few months. My biggest fear when my daughter started daycare at the tiny age of 8 weeks old was that she wouldn’t know I was her mother. I know that sounds ridiculous, but at the time having never experienced any of this, it was a genuine fear. I was jealous of the bond she’d form with these amazing women and I had accepted the fact that I was going to miss most of her firsts. You want so badly to be there the first time they crawl and the first time they walk but instead, you get second-hand news. You will always wish to have been there at the very moment they are looking for reassurance and you are not one of the faces there to praise them for their accomplishment.
A working mom never wants to get a phone call from daycare. My heart sinks into my chest every time I do because historically it can only be bad news. Your kid will always come down with a fever the day you have an important deadline. You will always feel guilty about the time you spend at home away from work to care for your sick child, and you will always feel guilty about the days you spend at work instead of home with your sick child. It’s a vicious cycle. You always want to be there to hug them when they fall down or get hurt, but you learn to trust that your choice in childcare was thoroughly researched and that these women are giving your baby everything they need when you can’t be there.
There are triggers everyday. It’s easy to get caught up in the work day but then something happens and reminds you that they exist and that they are experiencing things without you. It will make you miss them terribly and it’s a cruel test of your inner strength. In the midst of the day’s madness you will find toys in your pockets and rocks in your purse. A tiny bow or sock will stop you dead in your tracks and make you challenge your decision to be away from them.
Being a working mom changes the dynamics of the relationship you build with your children. There are many tearful daycare drop offs but they only make the pick up that much more blissful. The hug my daughter gives me and the way she runs into my arms is just the reassurance I need after a long day. There’s no secret to make the guilt go away. You only feel it because you love your kids. I’ve tried to maintain balance by committing to being a parent first before anything else. You can still be good at your job, but there is no job more important than being a good parent. You only get one shot at that and you are lucky if your able to be awesome at both.
Make the time you do get to spend with your kids count when it is limited, and the bond you form with your children will remain unbreakable. A love more powerful than anything I could ever imagine possible. Your children will always love you unconditionally just as you do them. If you told my insecure self two years ago that things would turn out this way I would not have believed you. As much of a struggle it may be for you to regain your sense of normal after having a kid, try to remember that this is their normal and they are doing just fine.
Follow me on Twitter @PunchItErin
Like my Facebook Page! https://www.facebook.com/iftraffichadafaceiwouldpunchit