Friday, January 8, 2010

So How Do You Like It? - Part 2


Loads of it.

Carried it around.

Was always, and I mean *always* aware of it.

Both self-imposed and doled out by others.

I think all working moms carry around a lot of guilt. Even if they prefer working to being home full time.

Actually, let me re-phrase that: I think all moms carry around a lot of guilt. Working or not. We all have these pre-conceived notions of what motherhood and womanhood should look like, and somehow it always includes some level of relative perfection. Of which, none of us can master.

Add to that personal masochism, going to work and being away from home (and subsequently your kids) 50-60 hours per week. (Remember, work days are travel times...that works out to be more than the 40 hours you pull on your paycheck.)

I always felt so guilty. Leaving my little boy at someone else's house.

Wondering if he did he play with the others?...did he get a good nap todaay?...did he have any "firsts" today?...

Guilty that I was inevitably missing something.

Maybe everything.

Guilty that I wasn't being a good mom.

Terrified that he might like the daycare provider more than he liked me.

Worried that the values and morals I wanted instilled were going to have to happen by osmosis, because Lord knows I didn't see my kid as much as I did my co-workers.

So. much. guilt.

Dropping him off never got easier.

The only difference was that I quit crying after a while.

But my heart still ached.

As if that weren't enough, there was the judgment from others.

Maybe it was my paranoia. Maybe I was overly-sensitive.

Probably to some extent.

But I know that some of it was certainly real.

A sense of "I cannot believe you work! Ugh!"

Sometimes it was said with words.


Most times with raised eyebrows and a disapproving look.

Many times by sheer virtue that most of the women's bible studies and events happened in the middle of the week during the middle of the day.

Almost always by the topics and speakers selected for women's conferences.

As if I don't dole out enough guilt on myself, I felt like every other woman I knew secretly (or not so secretly) disapproved...and by disapproving...labeled me a bad mom.

At the very least...a less than good mom.

I've had moms in hushed tones admit that they wished they could afford to work.

Hushed because it is frowned upon.

I heard the word "choices" a lot. And without literally pulling out my checking account, going over every detail of my personal finances, and then moving to a single wide in Arkansas...I could never explain to anyone how this was a choice that while heart-wrenching, was the right choice for us at the time.

And while finances were one of the reasons, it wasn't all about dollars and cents.

There was more to it.

Much more.

It wasn't an easy decision, but it was the decision. The right one. The hard one. The one I anguished over. The one that everytime I prayed, God whispered "not yet..patience..."

A friend recently asked if I feel isolated being home all day with the kids.


In fact, now that I think of it, I felt isolated working full time.

Funny how that is sometimes.


Rachel said...

I often feel guilty because I am not a "natural" at homemaking. I was much more natural in my classroom teaching. But God is refining me and in time, I know, I will be the wife, mother, friend he wants me to be. Thanks for your transparency.

jenny said...

I agree with you that ALL moms feel guilt. Sad how that is. And, funny how a lot of times I feel somewhat guilty staying at home with Bella - like I'm not doing enough with my life, with my college degree, etc.

I'm glad the Lord is leading you and you are listening to His voice, wherever that takes you. And I'm happy that you get to spend more time with your children now - it is such a joy.