Let’s talk about mom guilt. We all get it one time or another, for one reason or another. My current mom guilt struggle is based around working. I have been back to work full-time for a little over three months.
I did not want to come back. Not even a little bit.
After eight weeks with my baby, it was hard for me to think about not being with him all day. I am lucky to have family watching him while I work, but I still felt like it should be me caring for him all day. I felt like both he and I were going to be missing out on something. I still feel that way at times.
At first, going back into the office was hard. I missed him terribly. I had to get used to pumping three times a day. I was worried not just about missing out on something with my baby, but also my supply dropping. I had all these thoughts: What if he forgets me? What if I am not his favorite person anymore? What if he doesn’t miss me? I soon found out that was not the case, but it was like dropping into the world of unknown. Motherhood is uncharted territory for me, and honestly, I would still probably feel this way if we had a second baby.
After weeks of working, I was still waiting. Waiting to stop missing my baby every day, all day when I was at work. Waiting for the feeling of guilt every time I pulled out of the driveway to go away. Waiting to feel like I wasn’t missing out on something.
Well, it’s been months now, and I still feel that way. I still can not wait to get to him and see his happy little face light up when he sees me, to give him hugs and kissies (as we call them) for five minutes first thing (unless he’s napping), to spend the weekends with my husband and baby blissfully doing not much at all.
I’ve been told this feeling will go away. As he gets older and turns into a “real kid” with an attitude: “You won’t always miss him” or “You will just get used to it”. At first I looked at those statements as light at the end of the tunnel. That the feeling of guilt would be fleeting as time went on. I found solace in that. Then I thought about it more. Did I really want to not miss him every time I was away? Did I really want to get used to feeling like this? Become numb to it over time? No. Nope, don’t want that either.
So, what gives then? Do I stop being a contributing part to our household while my baby is still a baby? No, I could never let my husband bear all of that burden. Do I continue working full-time, feeling a dull ache of guilt for the next 18 years? Well, that sure sounds terrible. Do I put my husband’s my plans on hold so I can cut back working? Also, doesn’t sound great. What do I do? How do I know what I am doing is right? Will I ever know that?
There wasn’t a clear-cut, easy answer to any of these questions. After about three months of feeling like this, I knew I had to give it up to God. I have to let him guide me down this path called motherhood.
I know God is working for my family. I know that He will never let my child go without. I know that He is guiding me every day.
So while I still feel guilty and sadness at times for leaving my baby, I remember that I am living a plan devised by God—and He’s got this.
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