Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Guilts

After almost four months off I go back to work next week. I technically started this past Friday with a staff meeting, but my tutoring hours don't begin until after labor day.
And now begin the "guilts."
I know there are other moms who suffer from the "guilts." This is the feeling of not doing what is best for your child by doing something that you need or want. I suffer from these frequently. In the beginning it kept me from doing things for myself. Now I do those things for myself anyway, but I still feel guilty.
With work I feel guilty, but not for working. I need to work in order to make ends meet in our family budget and have a little play money as well. I am lucky that I am able to do something that I enjoy and only a few hours a week. I feel guilty that I leave my children in the care of someone who is not their father or mother.
I know, the horror!
There are plenty of parents out there who do this. There is nothing wrong with it. But when my kids cry and tell me they miss me and that they don't want me to go I feel guilty.
Part of it stems from the fact that I don't NEED to leave the house to work. When Madeline was younger I babysat in my home during the day. I didn't leave, my work came to me. It was nice that Madeline had a little girl to play with and I got payed to stay at home. The girls got along great and we were still able to do things like library time, playgroups, museums and such.
After Owen was born it became a lot more difficult. Madeline and M are a year apart in age, but were at the same stage with potty training which made life stressful with a newborn around. I was tired all of the time, and the hours of watching M were getting longer. Taking three childrne out, with two of them so close in age was not easy. M and Madeline were up and down with how well they behaved in public as well. There were no major problems, just a lot of minor ones that kept adding up.
I realized that while at some point I want three children, that was not the time. Jon and I talked a lot. At first he did not want me to work at night. That to him is family time. But as I increasingly became more and more miserable and tired and stressed he realized that it was better for me to stop babysitting. To add to it I suffered from post partum depression after Madeline was born. I took medicine to help with it and weaned off of them before Owen was concieved. Things were much better this time around, and I was able to handle my feelings with Jon's help and what I learned in therapy after Madeline was born. But I was starting to get scared that the stress I was feeling might become more than I could handle on my own. After some long discussions I started looking for other jobs. I went on a few interviews and then was lucky to find something in my field at only ten hours a week. I would make the same amount of money (after gas and childcare) for a third of the hours. The best part was I could make my own schedule. The center that I work for is open 9 to 9 four days a week and 9 to 12 on Fridays. As long as I work 10 hours a week, with a regular schedule, they were fine with whatever days I preferred. Plus when my kids or I get sick they are great with working with me to rearrage my hours for that week. Not a bad deal.
Madeline of course was sad to miss her "bestest friend in the whole world". I felt like the worst mommy in the world. On a daily basis she would ask for M. Then it slowed to weekly. Now she asks once in awhile. Thankfully.
And Owen of course hit the beginnings of the clingy stage and would cry whenever I left for work. That made me feel awful, but we got through it.
So now I tutor and someone else watches my kids a few hours a week. This year Jon will be taking a course at the same college I work at so we will be going in together once a week and are hiring a babysitter. I will leave while they are napping and return home after they are in bed. The other night I leave an hour before Jon can get home so my parents will watch Madeline and Owen. Again I will leave while they are napping and return while they are in bed. I wish I could work more nights with fewer hours each night (now I work two nights for 5 hours each night). But with a 30 minute commute each way it just doesn't make sense to do it that way.
All in all I can't complain. And I try not to. Now if I could just get over this case of the guilts life would be great again!
I have one and a half weeks to work on it. Any suggestions?

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