Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mom guilt

When you get pregnant and unsolicited advice givers start spewing advice left and right, they never ever mention "mom guilt." I'd say it's the most prevalent, pesky part of motherhood.

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...

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