Monday, June 30, 2014

A New Rhythm

Something I learned right away when I was on maternity leave was that being a SAHM was WAY harder than working outside the home. At least for me it was. I have nothing but respect for those women who stay home. My hat is off to you!

Although it is not a choice for us for financial reasons, I enjoy being a working mother most of the time.  It is something that is really important to me as a part of my identity, and I think also helps me to be a balanced person. I'm lucky that I am in a profession that allows me time off for summer, and two other longish school breaks during the year. In a way, I get the best of both worlds. I get to pursue my career, and still have stretches of time that are devoted to my boy.

But, I must admit, I got nervous as summer approached. I think whenever I realize I am going to be home full time, I flash back to how hard LF's infant days were. Now, he is no longer an infant, but the change in routine always throws me for a loop for a while. I know that as a mother I am supposed to want to spend every moment with my kid, but I'll say it: sometimes it makes me anxious. It is no secret I am not the world's most confident mother, and being someone who THRIVES on routine and predictability doesn't exactly make me excited for big changes. But, as the season got started, I have to say I'm really enjoying the copious amounts of time LF and I are spending together.

In the last few weeks, I have really started to see some things I miss while I'm in my classroom. I'm almost embarrassed to say, I've learned a lot about him in a short time, that I didn't know before. I mean, when our time together is limited to a couple of hours in the afternoon and weekends, you miss some things.

Good thing I'm a fast learner. I've learned how to head off some major tantrums (who knew holding the bubble wand could cause this?), what time he gets antsy to get out of the house, and how he needed to be taught how to play in sand among other things. I've watched him gain confidence on the playground and noticed he is picking up vocabulary at an astonishing rate. But, if I wasn't home to hear him mimic me, or help him climb a ladder structure, I would miss it. It just isn't the same as being filled in by his grandparents at the end of a long work day.

What makes me heart squeeze even more is the growth in attachment and bond we've had since mid-June. I mean, he always prefers KG and I to everyone else, and he always gives kisses and hugs. But, lately, there is just a deeper bond between us. He will more openly seek me out when he falls, calls my name from the back seat, plays a new game of jumping in my lap, and eagerly rubs noses before bed. It is a subtle difference, but it is there. I know some of you might be thinking, "So what? He's your baby? Don't all babies do that?" Well, LF isn't the most cuddly of all kids and is in CONSTANT motion. I feel very special when this kid chooses me to be his most sweet self with.

There is also a level of sadness to this: will the closeness decrease when I return to work in September? Will he remember all our afternoons taking walks in our new neighborhood? Will he still ask for me during the day, when I'm not his primary weekday caregiver? I'm feeling some serious guilt here that so much of this information about LF is new to me.

Do you have some working mom guilt?


  1. I hear you on this. I was a SAHM for the first 5 months with the Beats and though I treasure that time, I'm a better mother as a working mom. That said, there is a lot if guilt with leaving in the care of others. Though I learn so much about raising them, I also worry that I'm shriking my responsibilities as a parent. It's a hard balance.

    I think there's a major benefit for children seeing their parents work. And, for some parents, I think havig a career is so important to one's sense of self. Still, it's a hard decision.

    Hoping these summer days are fun ones!

  2. I have very little working (well, working for my degree and not yet pay, but it's very similar at this point) mom guilt for a couple of reasons. First, I am not the best parent of the two of us so I am totally fine with not being home all the time. If someone were to stay home with kids, it should be the better parent and not just default to mom in my view (which is mine alone, no criticism!). Second, I decided that since I'm a much better parent when I have some time to myself and with no children around, everyone is better off if I am not home with kids all day. We get more quality time rather than miserable time together or me telling my 6 year old to go play outside already for another few hours.

  3. I saw your post yesterday and wanted to comment but just got around to it this morning :) I'm a working mom, and it's been good so far, but I definitely feel mommy guilt, especially when he cries when I drop him off. I feel like I miss a lot of little things because I'm not there to see and teach him. But, I'm nervous about taking time off with him this month because...well what if I suck as a SAHM? What if he's not as occupied as he is at school?

    I think the guilt for me is when I have to pick him up late. Thank goodness I have a boss who lets me leave at 3:30 instead of 4, so I get D by 4 and then we have about 3 hours before bedtime. I'm spoiled this summer because I get him by 2:45, and I KNOW I'm going to miss that immensely. I like my job, but lately it's felt more like something expendable than something I'm committed to. That has nothing to do with D, though, just my administration.

    Anyway, all that to say that yes, I feel a little guilty about working, but I also know that D has learned so much at school and he's flourishing, so I can't feel too badly.

  4. First off - I hear ya on the holding the bubble wand front ... who KNEW this was such a travesty???? This made me laugh b/c it is something that happened just today actually. And it happened following 10 straight minutes of this: "Bubble. Bubble. Bubble. Bubble. Bubble." Oh man.

    And working mommy guilt - oh my godness yes, I totally have working mommy guilt. I have the guilt that comes with not being at home with Moonbeam. I have the guilt that comes with enjoying my job (what kind of mother AM I if I don't think about her all day???). I have the guilt that comes with pretty much everything working-mommy related that I can think of.

    My girlfriend is a SAHM and she also feels guilty and stressed out - but about different things than I do. She feels guilty about what kind of role model she is to her son b/c she's not working (she feels she lacks "purpose" in life). She feels guilty about not giving him enough socilaization. She feels guilty about surfing her phone periodically throughout the day when her child's playing.

    So I don't know if it's working mommy guilt or just mommy guilt in general. Hange in there! Enjoy these beautiful summer days and try and worry about the guilt later!

  5. Mommy guilt is the worst. I feel pretty comfortable with working now and I love the bond we have because I only have Wednesdays with him. But I do hate missing things and having to always ask someone else how he was that day. I make up for it on the weekends and give up a lot of alone time to make sure I get in time with C. Working is necessary for me so I am trying to make the most of our situation.


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