Everyone gets this right? It can’t be just me. When I was pregnant with Hailey, my first, I had this idea, this vision of what type of mom I was going to be. I was going to be the working mom, perfectly organized, life balanced, do all these fun activities with her, take her everywhere, do ALL the things, give her everything that she could possibly need. I was going to be the cool mom, the creative mom, the mom who was never stressed because life was great, why would I be stressed?
Let’s go back, when I found out I was pregnant with Hailey, my husband just got back from a 6 month deployment (yup, she was a deployment baby), we lived on the complete opposite side of the country of any of our family, I was working full-time and coaching part-time, and my husband was about to leave again on another deployment. The emotions were everywhere; excited, nervous, scared, determined… I’m a planner so by the next hour I’m pretty sure I had everything planned out and how we were going to do this. The original plan: save up for 8 weeks maternity leave (I did not get paid leave) go back to my normal work schedule, still coach the same hours, find an affordable daycare close to home. Simple right? I quickly discovered there was no such thing as affordable daycare except the on-base centers, which had a wait list of 18 months. So basically I had to put my name on the list before she was even a thought in my mind. But we found a place, a fantastic person who does it out of her home, not near our home, but go whatever distance you need to for good care right? The first day I dropped off Hailey I held myself together. Well, I held myself together until I got out of the driveway, then I bawled. I called my husband, feeling so terrible, feeling like I abandoned my daughter, thinking she is probably wondering why her mother just left her with a complete stranger. Ugh! the worse feeling ever! Day 2, same thing, I made it to the end of the street though. Each day it got a little better, but the guilt never left. I kept feeling like I was missing out on something. My hours for work were crazy, some nights not getting done until 7pm. Not what I envisioned at all for her, for my relationship with her, for our family. It was time to re-evaluate.
4 months back at work and we made the decision for me to stay at home. My first time since I was 16 to not be working, it was going to be great! Well that’s what I thought. Now here is where everyone is different, so no one take offense to this, please. Being a stay-at-home mom IS work, it is amazing, you get to be completely be involved with every aspect of your childs life, you don’t miss anything. But, it was not for me. Here comes guilt part 2. First I felt guilty for going back to work and being away from my daughter, now I felt guilty because I wanted to go back to work. I loved the time I had at home with my girl, it was great! However, I needed time away too. I needed to have adult interaction again, I needed to be in the workforce again. Again, everyone is different, everyone’s needs are different. Don’t shame someone because what they want is different than you. Moms shouldn’t feel guilty because they want to work. Moms shouldn’t feel guilty because they want to stay at home. Don’t judge others. You have no idea what their story is. Focus on your own story. Basically mind your own damn business lol. I am sharing my experience to hopefully let other moms know that guilt is normal, we all feel guilty in various ways and feeling guilty just means we care!
Here we are present day, i’m back at work-a different role that gives me amazing balance, and now 2 kiddos. I STILL feel guilty! I feel guilty i’m not home with them more, I feel guilty that we don’t get out as much, I feel guilty that we don’t do all the “fun” things like amusement parks or the beach every weekend. What i’ve come to realize though is that life is not perfect, it’s not always going to go according to plan and we cannot control everything. What we can control is the love we have for our children, the encouragement we give them, the energy that we show them, patience that we have with them (one I am constantly reminding myself). We can make the best out of every moment, it’s our choice! I can choose to feel guilty about what I can’t do or don’t have the hours in the day to do, or I can choose to make the best out of the time I have with them, have tickle fights, read them books, play PJ Masks, have dance parties! Choose to make the best out of every situation, every moment, they may be little but they do take notice, we do rub off on them and who we are, how we are, directly effects who they will become and their outlook on life. Overall moral of the story, yes guilt is normal, but don’t let it drag you down or the relationship you have with your little because in the end you control that, no one else.