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?