I spent the first year of my son’s life as a full time stay-at-home mom. BUT that first year ended in March when I decided to pursue a dream of starting my own business and I went back to work. I was ready for the challenge and excited to be my own boss. What I wasn’t ready for was the reality of mommy guilt.
I think mommy guilt is a reality for us all. Did I drink too much caffeine while pregnant? Will he hate his name? Did I let him cry-it-out too soon? Is he sick because I forgot to wash his hands after the park? etc. etc. etc. So much of being a mom is wrestling with daily life decisions and trusting that you are doing the best you can.
Yet nothing prepared me for what I would experience the first time I left my son to go to work. Will he miss me? Will he cry and scream the entire time? Will he care more about his nanny than the does about me? Will he resent me for working? Are my dreams worth it? Is the money worth it?
I went back to work slowly, only a few clients at the beginning. But now, I’m working almost every day and a few weeks ago I cried my way through the weekend. We had just enjoyed a family vacation and I had a glimpse into my old life, my life without work. As the vacation ended and the reality of my work life hit, I lost it. I wanted to quit. My husband and I talked about him getting a second job instead of me working. I started thinking about letting our nanny go and telling my clients I was done.
I was a wreck.
The guilt was too strong.
I wanted to give up.
My husband prayed over us.
I asked my dearest friends to pray for me.
I called Amber and asked for her advice.
I called my mom.
I held my son.
We went Costco, our happy place!
And I got ready to work the next day.
Then my son had his first night terror. As I held my screaming son at 2am I lost it again. I got so scared. I really wanted to quit. Was I causing stress and anxiety in his precious life? Is he having nightmares because of a decision I made? Was his fear my fault?
My husband and I prayed.
I searched the Bible for scripture about fear.
My friends prayed.
I called my mom again.
And I got ready to go to work.
After the first week of having a nanny I started to settle into a routine. My inconsistent work schedule was becoming more concrete and after six months, my small business was growing. I was becoming more comfortable with our new reality and grateful for the opportunity to work for myself.
Then after coming home last week, I sat with my son and our nanny to chat. My sweet son needed help opening a package. As I reached to help him, he walked towards the nanny and asked for her help instead of mine.
As I watched our nanny love on my son I was stuck in a tough place. On one hand I was hurt. My heart hurt. What about me? I’m your MOM! I want my son to always come to me first. I want to be the one to help him. On the other hand, I want him to trust and love our nanny. I want them to have a special relationship so when I am not around to help him I know he feels safe and secure.
The last few weeks have been rough. One moment I feel OK, ready to grow my business, and sure of the decisions our family has made. Then in an instant I’m struck with doubt, questions, and guilt. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that this is part of being a mom. This is a reality for most, if not all, moms.
We do the best we can every single day. We want the best for our children. We don’t mess up on purpose. We don’t intend to make bad decisions or cause pain in their lives.
Being a mom is hard.
I am a mom.
I am a good mom.
My son loves me and I love him more than the whole world.
I love him with every ounce of my soul.
Being a stay at home mom is hard.
Being a working mom is hard.
I am a mom.
I am a good mom.
Mommy guilt is real. But instead of giving over to my fears, I will trust in the decisions my family has made. I will continue to pray and seek reassurance. I will love my son well. And I will be proud of my work!
If you are thinking about going back to work, struggling with a work-life balance, or experiencing any ounce of mommy guilt, please reach out for help.
- Talk with a friend or family member who understands how tough it is to be a mom!
- Celebrate with your children. Make some special memories together like having ice cream for dinner 🙂
- Reach out for help.
- Find GREAT child care! Amber at Nanny Poppinz was a huge help to me. As a working mom herself, she understands the difficult situation of finding someone to care for your children. She became a friend through our nanny search and I feel confident going to her for continued advice and support.
- Email us at Austin Mom’s Blog… [email protected]
:: Are you a working mom? How did you handle going back to work? ::
*Photo Credit: kristaljoyphotography.com