Growing up, I always pictured myself being the picture perfect Stay At Home Mom. I would be the ever present Mom at my children’s school. I would be in every Mommy group available. My house would be meticulously clean and decorated like it came straight out of a magazine. I would be the perfect Mom.
Then real life smacked me in the face.
When the Hubs and I had Noah, there was no way we could swing me staying home any longer than I had to. We had only gotten married a year prior and weren’t even ready to be having babies. And to be honest with you, I was ready to go back to work. I had spent 6 weeks just me and an infant. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely cherish the time I got to spend with my child but I was ready to engage in “grown up” interaction. I missed my coworkers and I was ready to get back to work. When we had Emily, going back to work was the hardest thing I’d ever done. I’m not sure if it’s because I had spent 15 weeks at home between my unexpected bedrest and maternity leave or if it was because my family was complete. But I would dread the days I had to go to work and would cry all the way home. It just wasn’t fair. I hated leaving my babies.
Working as a nurse, there is so much flexibility with scheduling. I was originally working three 12 hour shifts a week. They were long days but I enjoyed the days at home with my family. Granted I wasn’t acting like the picture perfect Mom I had dreamed of being. It was more like a lazy version of that mom. But I was with my kids. After 5 years of long hours, missing birthday parties, and working holidays, I made the switch to the outpatient clinic. This meant four 10 hour shifts and no weekends or holidays. It was the Holy Grail of schedules. I learned the value of the weekends. We went gung ho and were busy every chance we got. But I was still missing out. I still felt like I wasn’t doing the very best for my kids.
Once school started this past August, I switched my schedule once again. I’m now working 5 days a week (the first time in my entire life working this schedule). I’m home by 4:30pm most days and I’ve gotten in a routine with the kids. I’m there to help with homework, to start making dinner, and we still have time to go for walks as a family. It’s a schedule that works for us. And I’m starting to feel like I’m being the mom I hope to be.
With that being said, there are a lot of emotions that go hand in hand with working full time and being a Momma, guilt being the biggest. I miss a lot at their school. I haven’t gone on a field trip yet because I can’t get the time off work. It breaks my heart when my kids are sick and I can’t be home with them. Who doesn’t want their Mommy when they don’t feel good? There are plenty of days that I feel guilty walking out of the house in the morning because I’m leaving the Hubs with 2 screaming kids who don’t want to put their uniforms on. While we are blessed with family who have watched our children so they haven’t had to go to daycare, it still doesn’t make up for me not being around.
To make the guilt worse, I have a job that I absolutely love. I’m one of the very few people who have found what they’re truly called to do. I love every minute of it, no matter how much I might complain on my way home from work. My passion is nursing and my cancer kids. I have to remind myself that most people aren’t as lucky as I am. To have a career that you’re passionate about and to find that career at such a young age. It’s unreal. (And I’m feeling the Mom guilt as I type that). That’s why it’s hard for me to juggle both. I have such a strong passion for my work and an even stronger passion for my family. It’s a tricky web I find myself in.
What’s gotten me through this is having a great partner. The Hubs has always been supportive of me wanting to stay at home as much as I could. It was his idea for me to make the switch to clinic because we’d have more family time that way. He also supported me switching to 5 days a week. Because of him, it made sense to me. He’s taken on the morning tasks without a question. He’s making lunches, packing backpacks, and attempting to put hair in ponytails. Because of this, I can head to work early so I can make it home in time to start homework, dinner and all the other evening routines. He also reminds me that I’m doing a great job. That I’m not failing our kids because I’m working. That I am a great mom. That’s the most important factor in my battle against “Mom Guilt.” I have someone in my corner reminding me that I’m not letting everyone down. Letting me know that I am doing the best for our family, no matter what I think. I can’t thank him enough for this.
I am no where near the “perfect Stay At Home Mom” I pictured myself being. I certainly do not have the most organized house or spend all of my time at my kids school. Heck, I can only bring them to school one day a week! I’m okay with that because despite my full time hours, I am still able to raise my two amazing children that I am proud of. I value my work ethic and I hope my children can see that. I’m focusing on being a role model for my kids instead of focusing on the guilt. I’m cherishing every moment I have with my family and we’re making the most of them! I consider that a huge win!
Are you a working Momma like me? Do you ever feel that twinge of Mom Guilt? How do you handle it?