Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guilt

I like working. I like my job. In fact I really like my job. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this contract will turn into something more permanent. That said, I do have my moments. Mostly they are guilty moments. Moments when I think to myself "Why did I not enjoy my time at home more?" "Why did I give that up so willingly?"


Truth be told, I never quite found my groove as a full time stay at home mom. I always felt a little antsy, planning the next outing, diving into playgroup after playgroup, running to gymboree, music class, Target runs, anything to keep busy, to keep active. I never settled in enough to take a deep breath and just enjoy. And I don't know that I ever could. It isn't in my nature.


I realize that raising one's children is the single most important job that any parent has, and yet, when I was in the trenches full time, I felt somehow useless, bored and under-stimulated. I believe that I am better off a working woman, making money (so I can spend it), and leaving the cleaning to someone else. The undeniable truth is that I am just not good stay at home material, and I believe that I have come to terms with this.


But there are moments when I see a woman pushing a stroller down the street, or sitting at Starbucks with her toddler, that I feel a pang. A fleeting thought, that could be me, that was me. And I miss the whole thing. I mean look at these guys, why would I want to leave them every day?






I miss the trips to the park, being around at preschool enough to know all of the songs and all of the kids, nap time at 2. It wasn't all bad. Not at all.
But it just isn't me.



12 comments:

  1. I am 100% in your boat. I have those moments and have to remind myself that a happy mommy raises happy children. And how amazing for your boys to have an independent mother with a career who can teach them balance!

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  2. Staying at home isn't a question of independence or balance. I am an independent stay at home mom who just feels like it is my responsiblity to stay home with my young children. I am also bored and understimulated on some days but so was working on some days and I know there will be time in my life to do both. I would be careful to assume that because you work you are less shackled and more independent than mothers who feel differently about their responsibilities to their children and have the luxury of making a choice in the first place.

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  3. AmandaNM- (do I know you? Is this my sis in law?) not sure, BUT- I think either a) you misinterpreted my post or b)I am not reading yours correctly.

    Here is the thing my post was simply trying to describe the guilt and confusion I feel about liking my role as a mom working outside of the home more than I liked my role as a stay at home mom. I was not passing judgement on any man or woman who stays home with their kids. I think that staying at home with ones children is one of the hardest jobs there is and I admire people who do it every day. For me however, it wasn't working.

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  4. I wasn't responding to your comments, sis. I totally get what you were saying because you were speaking about your individual choices. I was responding to the comment made by Jill where she included the word "independent" as though working mothers are exerting more independence than those who don't. Terms like that set off the mommy wars because of what they imply about non-working mothers. It is subtle but we feel it.

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  5. I hate that because really I think we should all respect eachother's choices. I have been a stay at home mom and it is so hard, and such good work ,which is why this post was called "Guilt" I so wish I would have liked it more. I think all of us work out of the home mom's share d this guilt as well, and try and support eachother with our own variation of cheer leading. Sorry that you were offended, I am guessing Jill meant no harm. Words are powerful, and I understand that. Downfall of a digital era.

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  6. Wow, this topic is a tough one... I think all mommies have their own piece of "independence" whether she is stay home or at a job. We find it in either situation. How we define independence is within each of us individually... I just saw a friend tonight who stays home and I work in the corporate world. We were both talking about our guilt from different perspectives of parenting. I don't think either one is better than the other (stay home or work outside of the home). The tough part is finding what works for you and your family and that is where our guilt comes in... Are we indivudally doing the right thing? Am I doing right by my babies and my family? I ask myself that all the time..For one it might be staying home while the other it is corporate or whatever... but any way you slice it... We all have some guilt! Really, we are just trying to do the best we can. At least that's my take :-)

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  7. I am so so lucky to have finally struck balance in my life, after searching for it throughout all of my 20's. I am home with my kids and work 10-20 hours/week from home while they are at preschool in the mornings. I bring in a very small amount of money (but usually enough to cover the mortgage) and I know all the kids at preschool and all of the songs, and take the kids to the park and the pool all the time. I can sit in coffee shops with friends from time to time when work is not demanding. I have the best of both worlds and highly recommend it!

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  8. It is so normal to feel this way. Some people are cut out for stay at home and some are not. I know both kinds of people and they are all great people. Everyone is different and that doesn't mean you are a bad mom. I think every mom has guilt at some point. Guilt likes to take me over all the time. We all have different situations and need to do what works best for our situation, not someone else's. Hang in there!

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  9. I think I want to be Hilary. I just returned to work two weeks ago from my parental leave, so I am still adjusting to balancing both. I always assumed I'd be a working mom, and financially it's what we, as a family, have to do. But I loved my time at home with my baby (which surprised me - I didn't think I would) and am looking forward to doing it again in a few years with the next one - though it was certainly work. I'm hoping in future that I find a job where I can balance home and work well - because I will have to work outside the home to some extent. Right now I'm hopeful I can do some of what my current job from home should that work for me. I'm thinking it may be possible.

    And I think that's what it comes down to - choices based on what is best for everyone's own situations.

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  10. So true! I have days where I would trade "jobs" with my husband in a heartbeat... and yet I know if I did, I'd want to switch back. (At least for now!) I guess it's about figuring what's best for you, your family, your children... for whatever season you're in. It's great that you've been able to find your own way, and yet that you can see how other moms need to find theirs too. It's a good thing we're all so different... makes for a better-off generation of children to grow up after us. :)

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  11. i think it's great, Rachel, that you are so honest and upfront about how you are feeling. That is the best way to start feeling better, in my opinion. Acknowledging both sides of yourself and the situation is so important. You are such a good mom!

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  12. I love how you say why you don't think you'd be SAHM material! I feel the exact same way! I really do feel under stimulated and too busy to think when I'm on vacation or even just the weekends at home. I feel like working is easier than staying at home! It's just too much for me, but I love my daughter just the same I think.

    Also, money is important to me. It's not my life, but you have to pay your bills and why not be able to buy nice shoes too? I hate the idea of just living at home and having very little disposable income. I feel like that would suck all the fun out of staying at home.

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