I, as most people in America, do not have a strict nine-to-five schedule. Some days I work 8am-4pm and other days I’m at work 11am-6pm. While I love my job and what I do, a year after my son’s birth I still constantly have the “mommy guilt” of working a lot and not being home with my child enough.
Here is a typical day in our home: I arise at 6:00am to start getting ready for work. What really happens is that I set my alarm for 5:30am in anticipation of “this is the day I’ll blow-dry my hair and look half way presentable at work” and in reality I snooze until 6:00am and find some products to fix my frizzy, untamed mane. Each morning, while in the shower, I pray that my son stays asleep long enough that I can shave my legs. Just as I finish getting ready for work, my son usually wakes about 6:45am, which allows me about 15 minutes to see him in the morning and give him a few snuggles before I walk out the door at 7:00am.
After work on a regular day, I walk in the door about 5:30pm to a super cute toddler waiting in the front window and an amazing husband to greet me with a warm embrace and kiss. Just as Clark Kent hops into the phone booth to emerge as Superman, my work bag hits the kitchen table and I feel like I’m being transformed into “Mommy-mode” which is in full effect from that moment on! Making dinner, cleaning up toys, feeding the little one, bath time and bedtime all by 7:30pm. Once my son is asleep, I take a few minutes to eat, clean up the kitchen, prep meals for the next day, spend a little catch up time with my husband and then get ready for bed by 9:00pm to start the whole process all over again tomorrow. Grading papers, reading all the posts I saved on Facebook and catching up on the DVR all will have to wait until another day because those three cups of coffee I’ve had during the day have worn off and this Momma is done.
As a working mommy, I rely heavily on my iPhone and FaceTime to keep me connected to my son while I’m at work. Nothing melts my heart more that seeing his smiling face toddling around the house saying “Momma” or when he’s independently sitting down flipping through his book saying “doggy” or growling like a tiger. While technology and smartphones are a great way to stay connected during the day, sometimes seeing my son upsets him more than if I have never called. He wants to hug or to play with me when I’m not there and it breaks my heart. Lucky for me I have my husband and my mom who are there to watch him while I’m at work.
My questions for the more seasoned moms out there in cyberland are these: does it ever get easier? Do the working mom guilties ever really go away? Many moms have told me that once they are older you’ll be happy you have a job to go to because you’ll need an escape from your kids, but I don’t feel that way now, and I don’t know if I ever will. I’m not one of the moms who will call her kid a little, rotten SOB. Sadly, even while on vacation in Ireland this past summer with my husband, we missed our son so much that all I wanted to do was come home to snuggle him up.
I guess only time will tell when those working mom guilties will fade away – and you can bet I’ll let you know when I reach that milestone in my parenting life.