When Oliver was born, I felt guilty for leaving him each day to go to work. I cried every day for the first couple of months, but it got a tiny bit easier every day. I say, to this day, that those years, while I was working, I had the most quality time with Oliver because I didn't take a single moment for granted. I lived for evenings and weekends with my little guy. He had my complete attention.
When Henry was born, I became a stay-at-home mom because having two children in daycare pretty much drains a journalist's income. I wasn't sad about quitting my job. I was so excited to stay home with my little guys and be the perfect mommy, but after having Henry, postpartum depression set in, and I was sad all the time. It wasn't at all as I had expected. I constantly felt guilty for not giving my children the best me that I could. Several months of medication and diet and exercise cured my depression and I was me again. And the guilt vanished.
Fast-forward nearly seven years... I'm still a stay-at-home mom. I now have three little guys to fill up my days. But I find myself oftentimes not giving them the best of myself because I'm too busy doing laundry or doing housework. And, oftentimes mom guilt sets in once again. I constantly remind myself that, when the kids are grown, they won't remember how clean the house was. They will remember their time with their mommy. So I try to live more in the moment. And, when I do, I feel guilty for letting the house go.
It's a vicious cycle, mom guilt.
Now I'm contemplating going back to work, either part-time or full-time. I'm petrified. I'm so scared of missing moments with my kids. I'm scared of the mom guilt that will ensue; in fact, it's already begun... But, as my kids grow, so do their needs, and I know that financially, I should contribute more to lift the load off my handsome breadwinner husband. I know that going back to work will fill a need within myself to practice my craft once again. I know that my boys will respect me for going back to my career. And I know that the whittled-down time with them will be quality time that I won't take for granted. I just wish my head would inform my heart of all of this. Instead ... I just feel mom guilt.
So, I'll let you know who wins out on this, my head or my heart. Stay tuned...