Posted on | March 19, 2010 | 4 Comments
I am so excited to have Diana from Hormonal Imbalances guest blogging for me today. She and I started blogging around the same time and we have experienced a lot of the same ups and downs, nipple shields and breastfeeding. Plus, she’s funny and sweet and probably one of the most genuinely kind people I’ve come across in the blogosphere. My only complaint is that she’s on a different time zone so I sometimes don’t get my Lady Diana fix as early as I would like. But what can I say, her blog is worth waiting around for. So here she is, giving me a dose of my own and explaining why we moms will. never. win. (If you missed the link above, click HERE for her blog.)
So when LawMomma insisted I return the favor and guest blog for her, I was stumped on what to write. LawMomma is one of my favorite bloggers, I found her through Blair, and think she is so funny and smart. I am privileged to be writing for her; a lawyer, a great mom, and a really wonderful person. So then I had to think about how to make sure I wrote a great post for her. I thought about the ordeal we both had with the nipple shield, but then I realized that I read her blog often enough to know that she has the same kind of followers – working moms.
Being a stay at home mom, sometimes I feel like I’m out of the loop with the working mom. They are so busy, so together, so planned. Every minute with their child is precious. I have days where I do nothing but sit on the couch with my screaming child and wipe barf of me and her. But then I thought about it, and I realized I do have something in common. I have mommy guilt. Yep, even as a *gasp* SAHM, I have it. Big time. It’s not often talked about, after all, being a mom who stays at home is often toted as the “right” choice. The sacrificing choice.
Let me let you in on a little secret – I worry my child will resent me for not working. Think about it – how many grown children thank their moms for “being at home all day and occasionally watching Oprah?” Those thank you’s go to the moms who worked full time, sometimes two jobs to support their children. To make sure their kids had what they needed to succeed and to have a shot in life. While I appreciate that my mom stayed at home with me when I was little, I don’t remember it. And when she worked when I was older, I don’t remember many changes. She balanced it well. I do remember less stress because we weren’t so tight on money.
Which brings me to the next issue – money. Family time is important, I remember some of my best times in my living room with my family talking and laughing. I also remember the trips we went on, the places my dad took us to eat, and the hotels we stayed in. I worry that my children won’t have the experiences I want them to, or the life I want them to, because I chose not to bring in a second income. So while my working friends will take their kids to Disneyland over summer break, I will be left explaining why, yet again, we have to do chalk shadow drawings on the driveway. While their kids attend schools designed to prep them for college, mine might be stuck at a public school with a teacher who’s been there 1 year and has a classroom of 47 children. When their children get to learn ballet, go to concerts, and drive in the safest cars around, mine will be stuck on their plastic backyard swing sets, watching another Baby Mozart, and hauled to school in a minivan that looks like at any moment it will explode. I worry that one day my daughter will ask me why she can’t ever have the “cool clothes” like jeans that cost $150. That she might become anti-social from not being in daycare. She may not learn how to make friends easily, to let go of me and run off to school without crying because I’ve been home with her every day.
What I do during my day affects my daughter. I wonder that if by not taking her on that walk, simply because I was too lazy, she missed out on something fun. I go to bed asking myself if I paid enough attention to her. I wonder if I’m capable of knowing her stages and challenging her to move onto the next one. Sometimes I know I take her for granted because she’s there. 24-7. So while I adore her, I miss out on that surge of, “I’m so glad to have you back!” Instead, I look forward to when Daddy comes home so I can have a break. And yeah, you guessed it, I feel guilty about that too.
You might be reading this and thinking, “That’s totally irrational. No one is perfect.” Exactly. My point is, we all have to somehow cope with the guilt we feel towards raising our kids. I don’t think it’s going to go away. Just because I spend time at home during the day doesn’t mean my child will love me more, or less. Not going to Disneyland won’t be the end of the world. Taking them to Europe won’t make my kids love me more.
I hope that I am able to provide my children with the life I want them to have, but I need to look at reality. If I go back to work, I will feel guilty for not being at home. For not cherishing every moment I had while I was. I will drive myself crazy wondering if the things I am able to buy because of my paycheck make up for not being there all day long. Just thinking about the flip side of mommy guilt makes me want to pull my hair out. We can’t win. I have to learn to accept the life I have, because if I can’t, my children won’t either. I just think my standards are really high because I’m a mom. That’s how we roll.