Motherhood isn’t all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. I am ashamed to say that when I used to daydream about being a “Mommy,” I pictured a glowing version of myself looking down lovingly on my newborn. That did happen, during the few seconds of the day when my colicky firstborn wasn’t crying. The one thing I did not fully realize was how much GUILT is a part of motherhood.
I chose to return to work after maternity leave. It was a difficult decision and though the cost of daycare and the gas to and from work was almost equal to what I brought home in pay, my benefits plan and stability of my job was what tipped the scales for us. I thank God that I stayed at work because the healthcare and flexibility was instrumental in getting us through the years of daycare germies (which has resulted in an elementary school ager that rarely misses school due to illness) and then youngest child’s autoimmune issues. That being said, I cried on the way to work that first day back…both times, for both children.
I felt guilty for missing so many of the little milestones.
I felt guilty for being the last mom to pick up their children each day because of my work hours.
I hear about the mommy wars surrounding this issue. I tend to shy away from drama, which is why I stopped reading Cafe Mom years ago. I have family members that have chosen to stay home and couldn’t be any happier. I believe that each family has their own set of circumstances that dictate what is best for their family. It is not my place to judge what is best for another family. What matters is the how good of a job I am doing caring for my children.
My husband often works overseas. And though I am not nearly as far, I often feel like I deprive my kids of the parent that is home more than I should. I spend my days supervising a team of 24 online sales representatives who though all awesome, have their individual quirks (which is part of what makes them awesome–isn’t it?) My kids spend their days in school. Two different schools, two different places separated by one of the most heavily congested intersections in the city.
I have a child who has a chronic medical condition (my husband has brought up valid concerns regarding her privacy rights that I am still working out in my head). Nevertheless, she has several appointments per month and days when she just doesn’t feel well. Though she is only in preschool right now, I dread the effect her absences will have on her education so we are seriously considering homeschooling.
Do I think stay at home moms have it “easy?” Are you kidding me? I am a mother and the most stressful parts of my day are getting the kids ready for school and then getting them fed, bathed and ready for bed at night. Stay at home moms have to go through all of that and more!
I am at a crossroads in my life again. I am at a point where we have decided that the best for my family would be for me to stay home. I am still working, at least for a few months longer. I will miss the people I have spent fifteen years of my life working alongside but I will be making the choice that I feel is best for my family. In the end, every choice I make is for them.