Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Guilt

"How many days of daycare am I going to have this summer? Why can't my summer just be care-free? It'll be just like school, what a drag!"

The whining. The red-rimmed eyes. The allergies? I think not.

This will be the first summer in five years that I won't be home with the kids. I will be working. I'll have vacation, of course. But there won't be the lazy days of getting up when they want to, hanging out around the house all day (driving me crazy as I try to get a particular boy off the computer), driving to programs or playdates. I'll be honest, though, I will miss it too.


I ran into one of the kindergarten moms at Costco on my lunch break today. It was nice to see her, as we'd had conversations in the playground just last June before summer break, about what the plans for summer were, and even beyond, now that the kids were getting to be school age. I had no idea at the time that I would even be contemplating working full-time again. She was talking about getting more training so she would be in a position to go back to work in the fall.

How ironic then, that I ran into her. When she saw me, with my work clothes, my access key hanging from my skirt pocket, a look of "I've got another 5 minutes before I've got to get into line to make it back to the office in time for my 1:30 pm meeting" on my face... she said with a sigh,

"I hope I'm making the right decision, being home with them now that they're both in school all day."

And I told her she had, as kids often need their moms more as they get older. I say this with the wisdom of being back in the grind a whole 7 months.

I think I made her feel better. But these words came back to haunt me as I was picking the kids up after work, and looking at the summer registration sheet.

My kids are getting older. I think I need someone to make me feel a bit better right now.


Cid said...

Work at home, stay at home, work outside the home. No matter which you choose you will always second guess yourself. The best you can do is be there to listen when you are home with them and show them that the choice you made is what's best for your family. And pour yourself another glass :-)

Mary G said...

What Cid said. I worked from home, outside part time and went to full time when the girls were 11 and 12. No matter what the pattern was, the whining persisted. My mother stayed home full time with one kid, me, and put her considerable talent and concentration into raising me perfectly. I did not enjoy this much. And she confessed to the adult me that it bored her; probably why I felt like the toad under the harrow.
See, a kid can whine about anything!
I think that if you are a caring mom you will do fine, whatever your choices.

Kami's Khlopchyk said...

Aw, you shouldn't feel guilty at all! Look at it this way, they had what, five years or more of you at home with them? Many, many kids don't get anymore than maternity leave. They are blessed and one day they will realize it!

Hugs!!! and a virtual bottle of the best red wine I could find!

Ginaagain said...

The guilt is always there, it doesn't matter what you choose to do. I stayed home and now I wonder if I shouldn't have gone to work in order to be a better example to them, (with a stay-at-home mom and a work-at-home dad they don't have a traditional role model) and I worry about all of the money that didn't go into their college funds because I didn't earn it, and I fret about how spoiled and dependant they are... Oh, and they still complain.

You are a great mother and they are lucky children but even the luckiest children won't realize it until they are all grown up and trying to raise their own whiners.

karin said...

I flip flopped with you. In January, I left my career for a new life as a student and SAHM. I worry and wonder every day if I made the right decision.

I think we each need to do what we need to do for ourselves. You are a great mom. Your kids will have fun in their summer daycare, they do so many fun activities with school aged children.

Don't beat yourself up, you and your kids will all be fine!

Anonymous said...

I feel you. I'm looking at summer plans for the 6YO and wishing I could spend the summer with her like I did with my mom back in the day. And then I remember how much I hated summer because I was bored all the time and how much I loved going back to school every year.

Something about me loves and craves the structure. Fortunately Boo takes after me with that and, in her case, she really hasn't known anything different.

Hang in there. Every mother is different but we all pretty much do what we think is best for our kids in the long run. Just think of it as an opportunity for them to expand their social skills and learn things they won't normally get to experience in class.

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Kat said...

Every mother struggles with this. It is hard. I often think about going back to school for nursing when all of the kids are in school full time though I have a feeling life may get even busier then. I just don't know. We all just do the best we can. Your kiddos are lucky to have you, whether you work full time or not. :)

Tara R. said...

No matter what we as mom decide, work at home, work outside, there is a bit of guilt over not going the other way. I think in the long run, our kids are better off when we are happy and are doing what we enjoy.

Kori said...

Only the truly good parents question their decisions, and wonder if they are doing the right thing; I firmly believe that. And I also believe that kids can thrive in ANY situation if their parents care enough to question, becuase it makes us better parents. I think you are feeling what any good mom feels, whether it is one who chooses to work outside the home or one who chooses to leave the outsdie work force to stay home. You ARE a good mom; I have been reading you for a long time and I know this to be true.

Tooj said...

Oh.....oh oh oh my. Yes. Indeed. The dilemma is never-ending. NEVER ending. Summer school can be fun, though. Maybe ask the kids to talk to the summer school teachers about it so that they can "sell them" on the fun differences between regular school days and summer school days.

Heidi said...

OH the guilt the guilt!! I get a lot of it here too. My son asked if he could go to daycare this summer because he doesn't want his big sister to babysit him, even if it's just for an hour a couple times a week! He likes it also because he gets to see some friends he might not otherwise see.

imbeingheldhostage said...

I have nothing I could possibly add to Cid's comment... You just do the best you can do and stop being mean to you!


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