When I used to read of other women’s desires to return to work–even though they loved their children–I would shake my head knowingly: They just don’t understand motherhood.
Even though I would wake up, terrified, knowing I would be home with my kids, I told myself to remain faithful and eventually things would get better. I mean, I was doing what was right for my kids and fulfilling the role I agreed to take on when I became pregnant–that of being a stay-at-home mom.
Gradually, I saw my life swinging out of control. No amount of happy pills can make someone enjoy something that is chinking away at their sanity.
So when I saw our money dwindling away, and realized that I would need to find a job ASAP, I jumped at the chance.
I don’t have a job, yet, but will be interviewing in the next few weeks. Anxiety is creeping in as I realize this is really happening. But, for once, it isn’t negative anxiety, it is eager anticipation as I think about leaving the house and everything that entails: no more cleaning up after messes all day long; no longer will I hide behind the gate in the kitchen, trying to seek some moment of peace; and I will finally have company–besides my own thoughts–for at least 7 hours of the day.
Here’s the clincher: I feel horribly guilty for my excitement. I thought, for sure, I would be a stay-at-home mom and I would love it. I guess I did not foresee that my husband would be in medical school, I would have two very active toddlers at once, and that I would be solo parenting for 16 + hours a day.
And yet I find myself wondering, am I giving up too soon? Will I regret this decision?
I do have one necessity: survival (if I don’t get a job we will be in a dire situation soon); however, it is more than that. My emotions are crumbling. I can feel myself sinking into a place that will soon leave me alone, angry, and unapproachable.
Coming from my very judgmental past (personal experience only), I find myself rolling my eyes at the excuses I give for embarking on this new adventure. Excuses that I once flippantly ignored or arrogantly berated–in my head–when I heard them from other women and chalked up to their obvious weakness.
But now I understand where they are coming from and I will soon be joining the ranks of working moms. Guess what? I’ve never felt surer of a decision in my life.
Yet my past is coming back to haunt me. Excited though I am, the guilt for wanting to leave my children at a daycare or babysitter’s house, is slightly overwhelming. I worry over being condemned and/or looked down upon by friends and relatives. I am also worried that my kids will resent me. And, to top it off, I feel that I am giving up on a dream I had for so long, which makes me feel like a huge loser and clearly incapable of setting any type of goals.
Clearly I am conflicted and it is painful. Even though I am much more assertive now than I once was, and I will not be backing down from my decision, I am still worried about what other’s will think of me and wondering if I am a failure after all. However, I will continue forward, even if it means angst for a little while, because I know I will be better off–mentally–when I get a job.
For you working moms out there, my kids will be fine, right? Did you experience the same angst? And how do I go about finding daycare?