Dropping my daughter off at daycare for the first time was beyond painful. I remember unpacking her diaper bag, placing her bottles in the fridge, kissing her goodbye and then …just walking away. She, of course, was fine, but I wasn’t. Up until that point, I’d never had to worry about her because she’d always been surrounded with love from family members. My mom (who is heaven sent) had kept her until she was eight months. A part of me felt that I was failing her because I was leaving her, but I had no choice. I had to go to work. As I pulled out of the parking lot, my heart sank… (and then I got dramatic.) I’d just abandoned my child with strangers! What kind of mother am I? How could I do this to her? She’s going to need me. They don’t even know her routine. Everyday, I allowed the thoughts in my mind to beat me down, but time went on and I actually started to appreciate my time away from daughter. My appreciation for time alone made me feel even more guilty, but it was true. My work gave me a purpose more than just being Olivia’s mom. I was Ms. O when I went to work, and I was respected for my expertise and contributions to conversations. I deserved to set goals, aspire them, and to feel accomplished once they were met. The only issue was that my heart was torn between my job and the missed time I wasn’t able to spend with my daughter everyday. There had to be a positive outlook on this working mom foolishness, and I was determined to figure it out.
Set Your Boundaries When You’re With Your Family
I decided to set strict boundaries for myself. My job can be very stressful at times and if I’m not careful, I can bring home the troubles of the day into my home. I made it a rule for myself to mentally release any stressors from the day once I hit 45 (the highway that leads me home). This meant, no work calls, emails, and/or text. This was important because I was now preparing for my second job…being a mom. I’d spent the day pouring my heart and soul into my career. It was now Livvy’s turn. She would only get about two hours with me, and she deserved every minute. I urge you to be unapologetic about setting boundaries and dedicate your home time to your family. Now I’d be lying if I said I don’t take my computer once she’s in the bed, but I definitely make sure the limited time we have to spend together is truly dedicated to her.
Remember You’re The Blueprint. You Are the Example.
My daughter tries to mimic everything I do. She copies my walk, mirrors the way I talk on the phone, and her mannerisms are even little versions of mine. One day it hit me. I’m her blueprint. You are the blueprint in your child’s life. You are the woman in her life who paves the way and sets the example. Well if that’s the case then I have to be the best blueprint there is for her. Everyday your child sees you juggle both home and work. They see you doing it. It may not be flawless, but you’re doing it. As they get older, they’ll understand the struggles you’ve made to contribute to both your home and the world. They’ll also have a better appreciation of work ethic, setting goals, and less of a self entitlement or thinking that the world owes them. So just remember everyday is a lesson for your little one, and you are the blueprint.
Find Ways to Make Memories
I’ve found that planning kid friendly outings for the month gives both Livvy and I something to look forward to on the weekends. Well, honestly, it gives me something to look forward to because she’s fine with just running laps in the backyard. However, planning a few events with her allows me to experience new moments through her eyes which eases my guilt just a bit. The zoo, parades, or even just the park brings excitement to her day. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. Some of the best moments with Liv have been free ninety nine at a park, neighborhood splash pad, or Chick-Fil-a’s play area. A part of my working mom guilt trip was dropping Liv off extremely early at daycare and then picking her up (what I considered) too late. These weekend outings made me feel like I was at least contributing fond childhood memories to her upbringing. So yes, the weekend activities have a bit of a selfish underlying tone to them, but hey it a win win situation for us. 🙂
Time Away From You Allows Them to Grow
Liv has her own squad at school and is not concerned about me while she’s there. I’ve found that daycare is definitely causing her to become more independent and shaping her personality for the better. Every day she gets in the car, I get to hear all about the ups and downs of her day with her crew. I’ve even walked into her school, and they (Livvy and her friends) have asked me to come back later because they weren’t done playing. LOL. Now as much as this should hurt my feelings, it actually fills my heart to know she’s enjoying her time away from me and building friendships with her peers. Sometimes we tend to hover over our little ones (at least I do) and regulate their every move when they are with us. Spending time away from us allows them to face trial and error a little more while figuring out some things on their own…without us.
Put In Work Now So You Can Reap the Rewards Later
Ok, so you’re still not feeling the idea of working a 9-5 as a mom? Ok, so what are you doing to change that? Are you looking into ways to move towards eutrprenuership? Have you discussed ways to make your money work for you so you can scale back your hours? What are you going to do? Complaining about it won’t change anything. It’s only going to frustrate you and rob you of the precious moments you actually do have with your little one. Remember you’re in control. This mommyhood journey is yours to write. Grab your pen and write the story that you and only you would be proud of.
Face reality and know it’s ok to feel the way you feel. Mom guilt is real, and some of us allow it to dictate us more than others. Acknowledge your feelings and know that it’s ok to feel the way you feel. Your emotions are valid, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just don’t get stuck in the misery of your guilt. I want you to know that no matter how you feel, you’re doing an amazing job with running a home, striving for success at work, and maintaining all the other demands of life. Be gentle with yourself. I’m sure if I asked your kids today, they would say you are the best mom ever, and really…..that’s all that matters.