From the time I was 14 years old, I knew I wanted to be a school counselor. I also knew at a fairly young age that I wanted to be a mom.
I never really thought about how the two worlds would collide.
At 27 years old, I became a mother for the first time. I remember the shock I was in when I first found out. I remember the hormonal wave of emotions I felt as I progressed through my pregnancy. All of this while working a new job as a high school counselor, which can be stressful in itself.
After my baby was born, I longed to be with her every second of the day. Going back to work after 8 weeks didn’t nearly seem long enough. It was difficult to concentrate on schedules, credit recovery and graduation when I had a new beautiful baby at home.
The day my mother in law texted me about her rolling over hit me like a ton of bricks.
I felt guilty that I wasn’t there to see it.
This was the part of motherhood that no one prepared me for. My mind began to race and panic.
How many other things will I miss? Will she grow up without me? How do other moms do it? Do they feel as guilty as I do?
Everyday I hoped that she would reenact it just for me.
The late nights for financial aid night, class night, graduation, etc began to take a toll on me. The amount of guilt I felt was insurmountable. I was thankful that my mother in law was there to help with my baby, but the amount of time I was away from her was disturbing to me. I arrived at work early and stayed late. This was NOT how I envisioned motherhood and my career.
I made the decision for my sanity and my family to transition in middle school counseling. This was the perfect fit for me.
I didn’t have to work as many late nights, and my coworkers were understanding when I took 12 weeks off for baby #2. But I’m not going to lie to you.
Returning to work after 12 weeks was tough.
I felt like I was in a foggy haze. For 12 weeks I’d been nursing, pumping, battling colic, listening to crying because she refused all 4 bottles we’d tried, and many sleepless nights.
It was difficult to return to academica.
Over time, I was able to jump back into it. With the support of my family and staff, I was able to have it all. Career and family.
When my oldest started school, the mommy guilt hit me hard ya’ll. I didn’t anticipate being split in another direction would be so difficult! There were too many times that I forgot her bookbag, forgot to sign her planner, dressed her up on the wrong day for pictures, and the list went on.
So much time was wasted apologizing to her teachers and beating myself up at the same time. My marriage suffered too because I felt like I just couldn’t do it all. I couldn’t be the best wife, employee, mom, daughter, friend and person all at the same time. It just seemed too daunting.
There were many times that I felt like I was in a constant state of chaos. And feeling guilty.
One morning, I was running late to work. My daughter was at home sick, and I decided to take a shortcut to work. I worked 40 minutes from home and thought I remember a quicker way. Someone how in the stress of racing the clock to be on time and confusion about directions, I pulled into traffic and crashed into another car.
Talk about feeling guilty! I hit an older couple and the damage done to my car ended up in my car being totaled.
My back hurt for a couple days along with my heart. I was thankful that in my rush, my daughter wasn’t with me that day. I decided that I had to slow down and get control of my life. Here are a few things I’ve learned since that day:
Waking up early cuts down on the chaos.
When I rise before my family, I have time for quiet time and prepping for the day without constant interruptions. Sure, it feels great to sleep in, but it’s so much harder to get it all done when everyone is pulling for my attention. Getting up early, if only 30 minutes, empowers me to take charge of my day first thing.
I will make mistakes, and that’s okay.
I’m not perfect! I’ve got to stop trying to live up to the perfect mom standard that doesn’t exist.
I am working in a job I love, so I shouldn’t feel guilty about that.
There are so many people who HATE their jobs and I’m not one of them! I shouldn’t feel guilty about finding a profession that I love. I may not be present for every single moment, but I’m there for the ones that count. My kids know that I love them, and when I’m not there, they are in good hands.
I get holidays off.
One of the joys of education is being on the same schedule with my kids.
We can all go the fair, pumpkin patches and family holiday events together. Those are the things my kids will remember.
Working moms, how have you battled mommy guilt?