I knew when I started working that I would eventually face the Working Mom Guilt. At first, I felt guilty that I didn't miss my kids more. I felt guilty that I actually ENJOYED dropping them off at the sitter's house and getting out of the house. I felt guilty because I didn't feel guilty, if that makes any sense.
So, I've been cruising along fairly guilt free for the last few months. Today, all that guilt caught up with me in one crushing blow. I was discussing with a co-worker (also a working mom) about Adelae feeling shy at school. Her response was not what I expected. I expected her to say that everything would be fine. After all, we're both working moms. Instead, she said that I should pull Adelae out of school, quit my job and stay at home again. That's when it hit me right between the eyes.....The Working Mom Guilt.
I've always had an over active imagination. So, the picture I mentally pained quickly went from bad to worse. I imagined poor Adelae being left at the door with out a "Have a good day!" or a "Have fun!" I imagined poor Adelae playing all by herself at recess because her teachers didn't know she was shy. Why didn't they know? Because I couldn't tell them because I was too busy at work to drop her off or pick her up from school. I imagined all the other kids thinking that the babysitter was her mom. I imagined Adelae alone outside the school waiting on a Mommy that never came. The Working Mom Guilt was in full force. I was trying to wait on customers while holding back tears. I wanted to rush out of the bank, drive as fast as I could to my daughter's school, pick her up, hug her and reassure her that I loved her.
Then I got a grip. The girls baby sitter is one of my good friends. Adelae gets dropped off at school with the baby sitter's son, who is in Adelae's class. I know she's never dropped off without a "Goodbye!" or a "Have a nice day!" I know that it doesn't matter if the other kids think that the sitter is Adelae's mom. I know that she'll never be left all alone in the front of the school waiting on me. That Working Mom Guilt was trying to take hold deep inside. It was playing on my insecurities. I knew that none of it was true.
You see, I thought long and hard before I went back to work. I didn't jump at the first job that came my way. I didn't accept the job before Ben and I really looked at the pros and cons. I know that in order to do the things we want to do, I had to find a job. I had to go back to work, at least part time. And, despite the Working Mom Guilt, I'm confident I made the right decision.
Adelae's teacher sends home a progress book every day. I'm able to communicate with them through that book. I've written notes about how shy she is feeling. They are doing their best to work with her. Adelae won't ever be left in front of the school crying because Mommy didn't pick her up. The girls know that they are far more important to me than any job could possibly be.
I still can't quite fathom why another working mom would lay that Working Mom Guilt Trip on me. I don't know that I'll ever understand. But, the next time she tries, I can keep the Working Mom Guilt Monster at bay. I had 4.5 very good years at home with my kids. Now it's time for mommy to go to work and make some money!