Here it is again… guilt.
I feel so guilty leaving my baby this morning that I want to cry. My nearly two year old is going through a very clingy “Mamma” phase at the moment, it’s sweet and makes me feel very loved but it also makes it so difficult to leave him to go to work.
He doesn’t understand why Mamma has to leave him for the best part of four days every week. Times like this I have to remind myself why I go to work for the best part of four days a week. We need the money. I’m providing a better future for him. I want to be a good role model. I need to keep some independence and pay my own way in life. It keeps my brain ticking, keeps my world more interesting and helps me to be a more-rounded person and in turn a better Mum. I enjoy my job (mostly!).
I’ve worked hard for many years to build my career and find a job I finally really enjoy and uses the best of my skills. Even so it tears at my emotions that this comes at the sacrifices of spending time with my boy. I have ups and downs – sometimes like today the guilt crushes me it literally makes my heart ache and the irrational, emotional side of my brain makes me want to call into work sick and sit cuddling my baby boy all day. Especially days like today where I’m taking a three hour train ride at 8am for work and know I won’t be near him, just in case I need to be. The logical side of my brain knows this is silly and if I did give up work, after the emotional side of my brain settled down the logical side would know I’d made a mistake.
So what is the answer? I’ve recently found a better balance which makes me happier. I devote my three days off a week to Thomas and my social life and everyone else takes a backseat now. He is my priority and I want to make up for my four days away from him by making quality time with my boy when we are together.
I know it’s not that straightforward as there are house hold chores to do and a lot to juggle which can be stressful at times but I do the very best I can for him. Some of these other things can wait until he’s in bed although mostly I crash in exhaustion and fall asleep not too long after he does (I am a reformed night owl!)
I try to plan social things with him more, it can be hard as I can’t really even hold a conversation with a friend when I’m looking after him as he’s a curious and energetic toddler and I see danger everywhere but I’m finding ways to make it work. Saturday’s are generally family days as his Daddy plays Sunday League football so it’s the only day we all get to spend together – precious days I hold on to. Catch ups and dates with friends are reduced to monthly/ some even quarterly but that’s fine, they have their own busy lives and although none of my close friends are parents themselves I am lucky enough that they understand and we make most of the little time we do get to catch up. They understand that one day I’ll have more time but for now I don’t, it doesn’t mean that they mean any less too me.
Of course family know we come as a package and probably enjoy seeing Thomas more than me or his Daddy so those relationships are easier to maintain.
I don’t think there is ever a simple solution but I think you can find ways to make your situation work for you. Sadly though, I believe Mummy guilt is here to stay.