A Mother's Guilt
I am plagued with guilt. Going back to work this year has been the most incredible experience of personal fulfillment since I birthed my fourth child. Yes, wonderful other than the shadow of doom, the guilt that tries to soak up my happiness. I wonder if it is the long lasting type of guilt? The kind I should take note of in a serious fashion and possibly change my circumstances to alleviate the nagging thoughts that venture in and out of my mind throughout the day. I struggle to know if it is the newness of working that is the root of my guilt and only a temporary feeling that accompanies all change. The change that occurred because of me and my desires, my longing to embrace a life other than the one that attaches to my family. Though I feel happy in this endeavor, the guilt rides with me and particularly the guilt over my two year old son spending his days with a nanny. Big deal, you say, but to me it is a big deal and I well know this is time I will never get back.
When my older three children headed off to preschool, went to kindergarten, headed to camp, I have always felt a tinge of sadness mixed with guilt. I had made choices, choices to send them to a large public school where they would be one in six hundred. My husband and I had foregone the private school option and homeschooling too. As much as people love to lambast homeschoolers, I am well aware that the families that offer it are indeed offering a superior experience but I am too lazy truthfully to embrace this education myself and don’t juggle that many things that well. Again, that type of guilt is fleeting and I have moved on through the years accepting those decisions our family has made with enduring fortitude. I was home their early years, perhaps a sitter one morning a week but generally we moved as a unit until preschool began, two mornings a week at age three and then three mornings at age four. That was all.
I recognize my newness to this situation, being a working mother, does not encompass the many mothers who have been working throughout the lives of their children. However, I need their support and encouragement and their real thoughts. I long to know what they wish they could do versus what they feel they have to do for financial gain or emotional peace. I feel trapped in a stranglehold and like a traveler to a foreign country, I’m confused with the guilt that I can not ignore and wonder from whence it comes. I have made the decision to allow my two year old to be cared for by a modern day Mary Poppins and that situation fills many of my needs and desires for both of us. I am hopeful the guilt is as transient as the cold weather that chills my bones at the April soccer games of late. I hope that my contentment will come with the changing of the tides. If not, there is always tomorrow and I have been wrong before and that too, is okay.