Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Motherhood. Work. Guilt.

You might think I’m a total hypocrite. Especially after my recent rah-rah-rah post about leaving the guilt behind to go on vacation sans Baby.

But, I think this is different.

Leaving my child in the loving and capable hands of her grandparents while I vacation with Husband is a little different than leaving her at day care while I’m gone for … work.

It’s a different when I am away for work day after day after day. Night after night. Missing out on special times with my family.

It’s different when I come home only to be gone again just a few days later.

Oh, the guilt.

Baby has been clingy and fussy. And, I’m pretty sure it’s all my fault.

Her schedule these last few weeks has been far from familiar and consistent. I’d be fussy too if I didn’t know what was going to happen in my life from day to day.

And, yes. It’s definitely my fault. (Mine and those pesky teeth she’s cutting right now.)

Between my traveling for work and some very important personal obligations, we’ve had a few extremely busy weeks.

I keep telling myself that it will only be like this for a few more weeks. That consistency for Baby’s schedule (and mine) is on the very near horizon.

But in the meantime … it’s hard.

Yes, it’s true that I’m fulfilling my professional obligations. Meeting my commitments. Providing income and insurance for my family. And I know that will set a good example in the long run.

But, it’s still a choice – albeit an incredibly difficult choice – but one that I make every single day. To go to work. To pick up and leave. To spend nights away in a hotel. To keep Baby guessing as to what will happen next.

Of course, I tell her what will happen, but at 16-months-old, her typical response is usually … “cow?” Or, sometimes it’s, “car!” (Or cup. Or more. Or other similar words that essentially mean she has no clue what the heck I’m saying).

Still, I make the decision every day. I do literally have to talk myself into going to work every day. And it’s true that there’s typically about a 50/50 chance that my decision could go either way (don’t worry, Husband, I won’t do anything drastic!).

But, so far, I have been able to talk myself into it.

Why? Because, at least for now, this is how our family functions. And, really, truly, we are blessed. My job does require me to be away, but only for a few days at a time – not months or longer like some families must deal with. My job is trying, but the difficult times are temporary, with long periods of incredible flexibility. My job does not make every day of our lives ideal, but it does allow for some pretty ideal circumstances that would not be possible if I didn’t work.

As hard as it is on me, I know that I can handle it. I think Baby is pretty resilient too. It is a temporary situation, and she’s learning that Mama will always come back.

And I am learning that motherhood is full of difficult decisions – figuring out how to weigh, measure, and balance the various circumstances of our lives to provide the best possible lifestyle for our family.

It’s not always easy, but I am grateful for the fact that the choices are mine to make. The guilt certainly prevails from time to time. Okay, more often than not. But that’s okay too … maybe it’s just there to help keep the balance.

Today, I’m linking up with Shell’s Pour Your Heart Out!

7 comments:

  1. I have many of your same guilts when it comes to my family. Obviously different yet the same. Growing up I had the working mom who traveled constantly for her job and I think I turned out okay. We adjust and adapt to the situation and sometimes the no routine is the routine. You are doing a wonderful job Jenn!

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  2. Oh Jenn, what a heartfelt post. I think once a person becomes a mother they always have a sense of guilt in every decision they make, even when they shouldn't, like you shouldn't in this case. Working mothers are true inspiration.

    Don't feel bad about going to work because you are doing it for the good of Baby's life and your family that you love.

    A big hug

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  3. I definitely remember those days. And I even still have a few though my older kids are in their teens.
    Sometimes I still even count up the hours the little ones are awake at home vs. awake at the sitter's.
    But the the guilt has dissipated since I see my older kids are fine. We are very close. The time spent playing with kids at day care did not have an adverse affect on them.
    You are making a choice, but it not the wrong one just because you go.

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  4. I think you would be crazy if you didn't have guilt! But also making the sacrifice for your family, is awesome too! I keep going back and forth about that...how it would be nice to have more of an income, and not have to worry so much, and possibly get some stuff paid off, but then I think, nope I can't leave Marlee. And if we do get pregnant again soon, I don't think I would want to leave that baby either. So for that, actually getting up and leaving I totally commend you for it!

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  5. Awwwwww, I feel for you!!!I think we as mom always feel like we should be and could be doing something more! I'm sure she doesn't understand exactly what all is going on, but when she gets older she will know that her mom ROCKED!!!!!!!

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  6. It must be such a hard balance. But, I think you are teaching Baby flexibility. And you are there for her, that is what matters!

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  7. there is always a sense of guilt, but it gets better!

    I am following you (suelee1998) from the blog hop, you have a great site. Would you like to follow me back? http://susansdisneyfamily.blogspot.com/
    thank you :)

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