Thursday, February 20, 2014

On Mom Guilt

I knew going back to work I'd be plagued with the "mom guilt." Guilt that I was leaving my baby in someone else's care. Guilt about all the things I'd miss. Guilt for being away from him or 9 hours a day. The list can go on and on.

What I didn't expect was the work guilt. The guilt that my kid is sick YET AGAIN. One week in to my return to work and Bud got the flu. Then there was cedar fever. The next month it was croup and not even two weeks after that it was RSV. I feel like I've been out of work for as long as I've been back and we're not even at the 3 month mark!

I am so incredibly fortunate to have the world's most amazing boss, but don't think I don't feel guilty about that. I feel like I'm taking advantage. I feel guilty for not being in the office, or passing off my work to a coworker. Guilt that in three months I've yet to even hang a picture of my child in my office. I even feel guilty on those days when I can't wait to drop him off at daycare and get to go be around grownups or even people that won't scream at me all day. (That was one I never thought I'd feel)

When I picked Bud up on Wednesday after I got the call that he was running a fever, I ran into another mom from the infant room picking up her sick baby. As we were both lamenting to one another about how our babies were sick yet again she said, "It's not like all the kids in the room don't all have it (RSV) already. Why can't they all just be sick here together." I had to agree, but bam. Guilt. Guilt that I didn't really want to take care of my sick child, that I couldn't really be away from the office, guilt that I'd totally pass my sick kid off to someone else.

She asked how many sick days I had left, explained she only had 1 to get her through the rest of the school year (she's a teacher), and I got hit with the guilt again. Guilt that I have the awesome boss that has allowed me to work from home. Guilt that even if I wasn't able to work from home my sick days reset January 1st and I have 2 weeks worth that I can use (on top of vacation). Do I lie to her? Anything I would say would just put more guilt on her. Then I'd feel guilty for making her feel guilty. More guilt! Instead I just smiled and said so many new moms I know are going through this exact same thing with us. And we are! Can't our kids just be healthy once we go back to work? We're already feeling bad enough.

Nothing makes you feel worse than having a sick child (more guilt). You feel so helpless and wish for nothing more than to take their pain and illness away from them. Then you feel guilty all over again for even going back to work, because if you didn't then they'd never get sick (at least that's what your unrealistic sleep deprived brain tells you.

Becoming a mom just means learning to deal with the guilt. Whether you work at home or stay at home. There's the guilt that you're not doing enough. Guilt that you want a minute to yourself or to even pee by yourself. Those adorable little smiles though? They sure help ease the guilt.

Croup baby sittin' up like a big boy in my office chair after his Dr appointment.
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3 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for taking the time think this out and share it. Just to give you something else to look forward to: Guilt when your child gets sick while 900 miles away at college; it's a two parter 1) feeling bad that you can't get there and take care of them and 2) resenting them for moving so far away.

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  2. I forgot to add: OMFG could he get any cuter?!?

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  3. The guilt is EVERYWHERE in motherhood. I felt guilty for sending Sophia to daycare and decided to SAH after Jack was born. Now I feel guilty that they don't get to socialize as much and that maybe I'm hindering Jack developmentally because of it.

    I long ago got over the feeling of guilt towards my employer...I always told myself I work to support my family so they come first.

    I won't say it gets easier but you do find ways to cope with it better and when you see that your little guy is thriving and loves you, you'll know you're doing the right thing for your family. <3

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