Working Mommy Madness: Mother's Day In

By: Harmony Hobbs

Ugh … daycare. How I loathe and love you.

The hardest part of being a working mommy is the issue of childcare. I love to work, but I hate leaving my son. It sent me into a major depression-like funk for the entire first year of his life because I was so laden with guilt over it. We did our best to choose the best possible daycare for him, but no matter how wonderful the staff, or how much fun he seemed to have, I still felt like I was falling way short as a mother.

There are two schools of thought on this subject. My mother said it was “unnatural” to leave my child while I went off to work. She’s right. It is. I hate it. My co-workers (read: working mothers) told me to buck up. And they are also right. If the path I’m on is working motherhood, then I have no choice but to make the very best of it. So I did. I bucked up.

It has gradually gotten easier with time, but dropping him off at daycare is still a task that bothers me so much that I straight up refuse to do it. My husband has to. We really do have a wonderful daycare, but it’s still that – DAYCARE. Let’s not sugar coat here. People who are pretty much strangers take care of my child for 8 hours a day. And even though my son is almost three years old, I still feel like I’m failing him every day that we aren’t together. I deal with it by not dwelling on it.

That is the honest, ugly truth of working motherhood – there are parts that really suck. There is a lot of guilt. You just have to take that as part of the deal and accept it, own it, and work with it.

You might think, based on what I just said, that when I have a day off during the week (a rarity), I would keep my son at home with me without exception. I used to, when he was small. Before I understood how hard motherhood was going to get. Before he learned to walk and talk and exhaust me beyond my wildest dreams. Whatever fatigue I felt as a new mother pales in comparison to the weariness of raising a gregarious, boisterous toddler. This is why I feel that people who have never raised a toddler have no right to judge the actions of other parents who have raised, or are currently raising, toddlers.

You just do what you have to do to survive. Sometimes you do things you might call “crazy.” Or “desperate.”

Don’t worry. You don’t have to tell anyone.

As for me, I need breaks. Now that he is bigger, and more of a handful, there are times when I thank my lucky stars that I have somewhere safe to send him. It’s like what stay-at-home-moms refer to as “Mother’s Day Out.” I send him to daycare so I can have what I like to call “Mothers Day In.”

At first the whole concept seemed terribly wrong to me. I wondered if I was becoming desensitized. I worried I was selfish, a bad mother, or neglectful. And you know, maybe I am all of those things. But my child stays on his schedule, and I get a whole glorious day to myself to regroup. Or, if I happen to be sick, I can actually REST – in my own bed – knowing my child is doing what he’s used to doing every other day of the week.

The very thing that causes me so much guilt – daycare – often saves me from crossing over to the dark side.  I love it and I hate it, all at the same time. Just like how I feel about underwire bras, three-inch heels, and family gatherings.

It’s complicated.

Harmony blew into Birmingham after Hurricane Katrina and is a self-proclaimed “never home maker” striving for a balance between her career and family life. Visit her blog Working Mommy Madness to read more!

2 thoughts on “Working Mommy Madness: Mother's Day In

  1. Wow – it’s like you are in my brain right now! As a working mother, I too have those exact same feelings. I feel guilty every morning when my son asks if he can stay home with his mommy and sit in the recliner. I feel guilty when he holds on to my leg and doesn’t want to go in his classroom. But other times, I feel great to see him playing with his friends and loving it! I know he has a great time at daycare and I know they are taking great care of him. That doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’m not being the best mother to him or I am failing him somehow. I guess it’s just something we have to deal with 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts!

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