Guilty

 2011-04-17

Guilty, guilty, guilty...that's how I felt about having to be a working mom.  I was absolutely beside myself that I couldn't enjoy the daily interactions with Roland and was frustrated at the thought of someone else raising him. I do admit, guilt was very prevalent for the first year of life.  After much research, I soon came to realize that feeling guilty is a common feeling among new working moms.  Phew! 


Looking back, I remember the first time I felt the guilt.  After three months of PJs, no make up, and spit-up I was slightly excited about returning to work.  If nothing else, I had a reason to 'look pretty.'  Roland got up at 4:30 am for his morning feeding and after I put him back to sleep, I decided that I might as well shower and get ready for the big day.  

I had been off for 12 weeks with Roland and thanks to the New Jersey Family Leave Act, Hubby was able to take two weeks off to help me transition back to work.   After reviewing his schedule about four times, I kissed both Roland's goodbye and walked out the door.  "I did it! I did it! I made my first step without shedding a tear!" I remember thinking.  I was so proud of NOT crying that I called my Dad to share the news.  I heard my Dad's voice and completely broke down in tears...so much for that!


I came home at lunch for the first two weeks to help Roland with the transition of being apart...truthfully, I'm not sure if it was for him, or for me.  He was my little buddy. I had been with him every single day for 9 months in the womb and 3 months in the world.  So yes, perhaps it was more for me, perhaps I was the one who had separation anxiety.



My first day was complete! I successfully made the transition as a full-time working mother!  It was exhausting however... my sister snapped the picture below after my first day back to work.  I was mentally and physically exhausted...and Hubby was exhausted from being 'Mr. Mom!'


Almost a year has passed, and the guilt has subsided.  Either I'm doing a good job of ignoring the guilt, or I've learned to cope.  I was feeding Roland breakfast last weekend and I asked if he wanted more or if he was done.  He put his two hands together and signed 'more'.  Who taught him that?  His daycare - The Goddard School.  I was tickled pink...and I realized, no one else is raising him, they are just enhancing his learning! 

2 comments:

The Ramos Family April 18, 2011 at 1:24 PM  

I thought I would be able to handle the initial daycare drop-off day without too much issue. The location we selected had the cameras for Internet viewing, which is great for providing clingy moms some much-needed reassurance (especially if it is not nearby work). My daughter was 6 weeks at the time, as that was my allotted maternity leave and the newness of the job meant little additional time to take paid. (Also, I was getting cabin fever from sitting around all day at home.) She was generally very alert and met our eyes when awake, but when we dropped her off, she just stared into the distance and did not make eye contact. The complete disengagement and inability to respond by looking at us as we said goodbye was very trying. Luckily my husband was the official dropper-off so I was able to keep from reliving that guilt each morning until she became more engaged at the daycare.

I'm curious how little Ro will act as he gets older in daycare. We had our sister-in-law and then my husband watch Annaliese from about 7 months through 18 months. The transition back to daycare for her has been difficult as her natural shyness and closeness to us has led to tears and trouble sleeping without us near.

I also recently found Annaliese using words of phrases from daycare. It is sad at first to realize we are not her sole source of learning and cannot control everything that touches her impressionable mind. We've learned we must no longer just do the job of teaching the new but refining or correcting what is learned from outside. Hopefully with practice, our parental powers will help us in communicating that it is not OK for her to throw a tantrum on the floor!

Working Mother April 18, 2011 at 8:44 PM  

As I re-read my post, I realized that I forgot a key piece of information!! I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home with Roland for 12 weeks. The Hubby took off an additional 2 and then it was OFF to daycare. By that point, I had already acclimated myself to being away from him during the day that the drop off wasn't too bad.

As a parent, I believe our natural instinct is to protect our children so it's only a natural response to be upset at not being able to control every influence. I've learned with Roland's behaviors that a quick 'No' and a diversion to another item, story or area, quickly moves his attention from the bad, unwanted behavior.

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