I’m participating in Pour Your Heart Out with Shell!

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Mom guilt.

It happens to many of us.  I have on more than one occasion wondered if I should be staying home with K.  I’m happy with his day care, as is he.  I like my job, and am thankful I have a great one.  But it is hard to keep that “am I in the right place” question from popping up on occasion.  Particularly when K is sick and I feel like I let work down when I miss, then let him down when I try to get him back in day care before he may be ready.  Or when he reaches a milestone and I hear about it second hand.  Or when I see blog posts about some other child spending the day with their mom doing Montessori crafts and activities, taking day trips to zoos and parks.  Then I wonder if I could do more.

Mom guilt stings.

But I believe that the best case for each family is different.  And having had the opportunity to spend more time at home with K over Christmas, I feel confident he would be cheated with his days at home with only me full time.   He missed the kids.  He missed the constant attention and stimulation and kid friendly surroundings.  I missed the adult interaction, and the intellectual challenge and responsibility.  K and I were both trying, but we weren’t at our best.  We were fish out of water.  As it stands, I am no five star SAHM.

I found that the day time blurred in to evening, and along with our schedule starting to fall apart, I was trying to alternate chores with play time and ended up failing at both.  K would end up getting cheated out of his time because I also had something else I needed to accomplish or some place to go.  I was disappointed in me a bit.   I thrive on schedules, lists, organization.  Yet it seems when I have more freedom, I lose my edge.

I swear I accomplish just as much from 5:30pm-10:00pm as I did from 8:00am-10:00pm.  In fact…somehow when you give me a whole day with no office…I suddenly can’t figure out when to shower or pee.  No lie.

I’m finally realizing I am better at the balance.  I am at my best when there is more to do.  I function efficiently when things have to be planned, prioritized, and executed.  I might not be a crafty, teacher like, curriculum building, schedule forming SAHM.  That’s not what I’M good at.  What I CAN offer to K is a demonstration that a woman can be BOTH focused on their career, and dedicated to their family.  And that’s ok too.

I enjoy working hard during the day, but I treasure heading out to pick up K.  We make the most of our evenings together.  And even though we don’t get the whole day together, I know that his crawling, standing, talking, pointing, and absorbing like a sponge are not just because of his day care, but also because we work hard with him in the evenings.  We seize the moments we do have.  And as he grows and changes, we’ll adapt our time to ensure we continue to push him and challenge him, as well as enjoy and love him.

This is not a debate about whether it is better to be a SAHM or a working mom.  There is no blanket answer that applies to everyone.    There are fantastic SAHMs out there, and I applaud those who do it and do it well, because after all that is hard work too.  But after a few months of guilt, I finally feel like I can applaud myself too.    I am a working mom, and I’m proud of that.

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