The first days you bring baby home it's all snuggles and adjusting as a family to your new life. Mama is resting and healing and baby is adapting to life on the outside. The sweet cuddles could last forever and I felt like I could stare at Caroline for hours. Literally, stalkery, helicopter-parent staring trying to engrave her little newbie face in my brain. I get teary eyed just remembering those moments because I can remember thinking, I will never forget this moment, but it already feels so far away. As the days turned into weeks then into months and the time came that I was coming off of my maternity leave, we were lucky in that the timing of Caroline's arrival could not have been planned better as Morgan was off for the summer. He was able to keep her at home while I went back to work for about a month and a half before we had to look for alternative childcare.
I really fought and struggled with the fact that I couldn't stay home with little C. I wanted to be there for every second, every smirk, smile, burp, tear, all of it. All I could think about was everything I would miss. Would she forget me during the day. Would she learn things without me teaching her and without me there. I am woman enough to admit that I can be selfish at times, and when it comes to Caroline, I feel like the most selfish person in the world. I don't know if that's backwards because the feeling is me wanting to dedicate all my time to someone else, but being there for her is all I want to do these days. So that first day going back into the office after a couple months of baby-lamb bliss, and being in our own little bubble, I was a bit of a mess at work and checked in about 8-9 times with Morgan. I am able to go home for my lunch hour and when I got there that first day, there was a pang of disappointment when she was sleeping soundly in her rocker and I couldn't scoop her up and snuggle the bajeezus out of her. ::Full disclosure, I've been crying since that sentence up there about wanting to remember her like that forever and it literally will. not. stop::...
After a couple of weeks, it got a little easier to get back into the groove of work. Balancing the check-ins and picture sending without bursting into tears became something that took a lot of energy each day. Then time crept in on Morgan having to also get back to work and we had to begin our alternative childcare search. Talk about a crazy emotional roller coaster! Let's just say I held it together for the first two daycares we visited, at least until I got to the car, but by the third I started the waterworks before even leaving the building. The mom guilt once again flood in and I felt inadequate as a mother that I didn't have a way to stay home with her and still be able to provide towards our monthly bills. I know some women don't go through these feelings, but I am a highly emotional human being, and I feel so deeply, so I was brought to tears many times over it. The struggle between wanting to maintain a career/build a career, but run my home and raise my children full time, at the same time, becomes so overwhelming when I try to give it serious thought.
Simultaneously of all these thoughts and emotions floating around in my head, I think about how I want my daughter to perceive her mommy. I could name a bunch of character traits that I plan to ascend to all of my children, but most important to me is happiness and independency. I want her to see her mommy happy, joyful, self sufficient, and hard working. Hard working doesn't necessarily mean just in a career either. It is HARD WORK running a household as well. I want her to see a person she can aspire to be.
Before I go off on a tangent, let me reel us back in to the mommy guilt factor. In saying all of this, my real life experience has forced me to look at parenting in a different way. Yes, I want to be there for Caroline for everything every minute that I can. But if I'm not working, and we become a one income family, am I truly looking out for her then as well, because if we kept both of our incomes then the opportunities to do more and experience more will be far easier to come by. I wrestle with the idea that if I risked a few months on a single parent income to stay home and work on building my own business, it could go one of two ways; big giant tremendous failure and still only 1 parent income but at least I tried, or steady growing self employment with the possibility of growing to something much larger than imagined. That's the silver lining to that "yolo" mentality (do people still say that??) I so wish I could have all the time. The RISK and FEAR of failure and not holding up my end of the partnership can be crushing at times, but I don't want to go through life thinking what may have been.
Ultimately we found a really wonderful child care situation for Caro, with a loving SAHM who cares for one other baby a little older than C in her own home. Although it does make me feel better knowing she's safe and closely cared for, there's still the mommy guilt that creeps in on me wanting and feeling like I need to be there every second. I think one day I may figure out a way to work from home, or have a business I run at home, but for now, I will continue showing Caroline the overwhelming love I have for her everyday, and help build the life Morgan and I foresee for our little family.
Did you experience the mom-guilt phase? Are you still going through it? Leave a comment at the bottom and let's chat about it! OR if you didn't really feel that I would love to hear about that too! Thanks for stopping by <3