As a mom we feel guilty about a lot of things. We feel bad for taking time to ourselves, leaving our children with someone else, not being there with our children when they need us, and the list goes on and on. We constantly beat ourselves up, and sometimes society will contribute to the guilt we feel. There is a constant debate whether or not a mom should work, or should stay home with their children.
I have been on both sides now. Both are not easy to deal with. I have been praised and ridiculed for both. When I was home full-time with my daughter, I felt guilty for not helping my husband with the finances, and that my daughter wasn’t interested in spending time with anyone other than me. Now that I am working, I worry whether or not I am spending enough time with my daughter, and taking care of our home. Both are stressful situations, and it is impossible to choose one life over the other. Some days I feel like I should stay home and enjoy every aspect of my daughter’s life, and then some days I feel like my family is better off if I work.
When I decided to go to work, I tried to look up how to deal with the mom guilt of leaving a toddler. I found plenty of help on returning to work after just having a baby, but what about the moms that stayed home for a while, then going back to work? The stage of life is different for the child. What do you do when you have a toddler clinging to your legs after staying home for their whole life?
- Find a way to keep tabs on what they are doing during the time you’re at work.
It can drive you crazy just thinking about whether or not they are enjoying their day without you. You wonder if they are being good, or if they are having a meltdown. Then you wonder if they are learning new things, and if they are missing you as much as you are them.
Having a way to check in when it gets tough for you will help. My daughter stays with different family members while I am at work. As my daughter does different stuff throughout the day, they send me updates with pictures. Seeing that she is enjoying herself, helps with the realization that she is just as happy with other people as she is with me. Knowing how her day is going, also helps with the feeling that I am missing out.
- Keep yourself busy at work
Keeping yourself busy makes the day go a whole lot faster. When your mind is busy, there is no room for thinking about how much you miss your child. I know when I have less work to do, my mind tends to wonder what my child is doing, and if she is having a great time. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision going back to work. I count the hours and the minutes until I can be with her again. It is a viscous cycle that I don’t enjoy, and working hard tends to silence my guilt.
- Spend time with them when you get home.
When you get home embrace them. Let them tell you about their day. They have missed you as well. Sit and play with them. The housework can wait, and dinner can be a little late. Them knowing that their mother loves them should be the most important item on your list.Your kids will never be this little again, so you can’t get this time back. Every thing else can wait. You will look back and wish you spent more time with them.
I know I want to spend time with my husband and my daughter after a long day at work. Seeing my daughter’s smile makes the time spent apart worth it.
My Saturday morning consists of doing the laundry, and snuggling with my daughter. Yes there are dust bunnies and dog hair everywhere. The dishes are sitting dirty in the sink, and the floor hasn’t been cleaned in over a week. At least my daughter knows her mother loves her.
- Think on the good things.
When you start missing your child think of all the good times you have had. Thinking of them happy will keep you from wondering if they are missing you. Chances are they are not missing you like you think.
My biggest concern is that I am missing out on my daughter’s life. I have to remind myself that it is a good thing that I’m not with her all the time. She needs to socialize with others, not just me. Spending time with other relatives is good for her to form important bonds that she will keep the rest of her life.
Moms deal with all kinds of guilt. It is up to you if you will give in to this guilt, or let it control your life. You are doing what is right for your family by going to work, or even deciding to stay home.