Monday, January 28, 2008

Ahh, the mommy guilt....

Yup. Got a good kick in the mommy guilt gland this morning. And I can tell it was a good one, because I'm still formulating replies in my head, several hours later. None of which would have been particularly appropriate for the play area at the mall.

We're watching the kids play after Stroller Strides this morning when the conversation turns to "previous lives" aka work before children (almost all are full-time SAHMs). I mention that I will be bummed when my maternity leave is over. The mom next to me replies that she just COULDN'T work now that she has a child - she just loves him too much. In my head this translates directly to "and since you do work, you must not love your children as much."

I hear comments like this all the time - and usually they just roll off my back. But I know that this one is hitting a little too close to home for me today. I am dreading going back to work this time because we don't have childcare lined up yet - and that terrifies me. With Max at Lauren's house, I have always felt like he was getting as much love as anyone (outside of his father and I) could give him. But we don't know who will be with the boys for the 2.5 months I am back at work this spring. And I sometimes start to wonder if going back to work is the right thing to do.

Max and Luke are the most important parts of my world, but they are not my whole world. I am also a wife, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher. Parts that are also valuable to me, and that make me who I am. Professionally it would be irresponsible to not go back to work this year, and I do miss seeing my students. And assuming that we find childcare that is safe and enjoyable for them, I see little reason why I shouldn't return.

So comments like the one from this mom today really have me thrown for a loop. I LOVE my boys. I don't work to get away from them. I work for a number of reasons - because I love working with other people's children, I believe it is important to maintain my marketability should something ever happen to Dan, and I work to provide the boys with opportunities they wouldn't have without my income.

But are those reasons good enough?

1 comment:

Melanie said...

I am so with you on this. I have days when I feel like the worst person on earth for going back to work. The pressure comes from family, friends, and complete strangers.

In the end, I feel like the decision is mine and my husband's, along with God. If we feel like it's the right thing for our family, no one else gets to chime in. Working for your family is not a selfish decision, and it doesn't make you love your boys less.