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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Does this guilt make my butt look big?

When I left the law firm a few years ago, I did it mainly because I felt so guilty about all the time I spent at work compared to the minute amount of time I was spending with my...then... one child.  I wore that guilt suit around on a daily basis and it became nearly unbearable when I was in the middle of a trial...in the middle of the holidays....and I went a full week only seeing him from over the top of his crib in the middle of the night.  I knew I had to make a change ~ and I did, although I eased into staying at home slowly, still going into the office daily but only for a few hours.  

When Catherine came along, her health necessitated me being home full time.  And full time it was.  I found myself suddenly with a toddler and a newborn with a bad lung who couldn't be exposed to sickness.   Remember that movie about the bubble boy?  That was us.  The bubble family.  For the better part of a year we didn't go anywhere.  ANYwhere, people.   I was like Nell when I finally got out of the house...screaming in an indecipherable language and running around in circles flailing my arms.  At least I had on clothes.  Talk about going from one extreme to the other.

Then came Stu.  I was actually working on getting things in place to go back to work when I suddenly craved hot dogs and fell asleep at the wheel at 2pm one afternoon running to Target and realized that I was pregnant.  I didn't even need a pregnancy test to tell me that.   Shock and awe, that was.   So I made the decision to just stay at home a little longer because...I mean let's face it....would you have wanted me working for you?   What do you think were the chances I'd ever even make it out of the door in the morning?  And I didn't see my firm agreeing to me working between the hours of 1 and 1:45 in the afternoon.

So I wouldn't give anything for the years I had at home with my babies.  I joke and jest and probably embellish a lot on here in the name of creativity, but I truly loved being at home.  But the flip side of that was the fact that I felt...and here's that word again... guilty for not working and using my education and hard earned skills.   So when the opportunity came along a few months ago to return to work in a much more flexible and less stressful capacity, I jumped on it.   Because I was afraid to let that boat sail.  So I jumped back into the world of working mommyhood.  

Only now I find myself peering over at three sleeping babies instead of just one.  But only sometimes.  Thankfully.

I do have it good.  I know I do.  And trust me, I am more than thankful to even have a job in today's world.  I could quickly make you a list a mile long of all the pros of working.  But sometimes in that deep dark place inside I wonder if a mile long pro list outweighs the one con...

missing them.

So here I am feeling guilty once again.  But I realized the other day that when I was home full time I felt guilty.  Not only about not working, but I'd get to the end of the day and feel guilty because they watched too much TV....because I yelled at them....or they only ate goldfish for every meal....or I let someone get away with something....or punished someone too severely....or because I should have read to them more....or...or....or.... and on it went.

So I'm thinking that as Moms maybe we need to accept the fact that once you give birth, that cloak of guilt will just become part of your wardrobe.

Maybe I should learn to accessorize.  With grace.  And mercy.

8 comments:

Laurie said...

And peace and prayer ...

Kelly said...

Well put...

Jim still will give me a hard time with the "bubble boy" comment...

Thank goodness they are each doing as well as they are!

Colored With Memories said...

all so true. striking balance is hard...mommy guilt follows us wherever we go!

Booster MPS said...

The hot dog pregnancy test...you should market that.

Indeed if you made concessions and set bounds around your schedule at work, do your best to stick to it and not get too drawn in. Not that I would know, but you truly can't get these years back.

Busy Mom said...

And grace and mercy do not make your butt look big! Love your perspective! I think we as mom's do always have guilt of some sort. But we deal with it and move on!!

Plant Freak said...

Hey Cousin! I've chosen for the Proximity Award. Check my blog for the details.

Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...

I agree. Though personally I think the cloak of guilt is actually a girdle.

Hi from one Mobilian to another!

Mary Anna said...

You are my hero. No, seriously. I don't know how women keep up their career and have babies...and take care of a house and a husband too. It's ridiculous how amazing you are for being able to manage that. My mom did it too and I don't know how in the world she came out of it alive.

I am trying to get in all the career I can now before marriage and babies. It's going to be difficult to give it up someday, but I know it's got to be worth it.

You're a good Mom. Keep up the good work and cut yourself some slack!