Guilt. That word. It has so many meanings and connotations.
Guilt. I am a teacher who works full-time and also coaches basketball in the winter, which brings my work to over full-time. I also recently became single (J’s dad and I are getting divorced). All these things put together mean one thing: Guilt. I ask myself, "Am I a horrible mom because I work?" This question, I don't have the answer to and probably never will. But the question remains and is always in the back of my mind.
Guilt. I come from a family of very strong-willed, independent working women. They told me from the moment I got pregnant and knew that I would be working, “it’s quality time with your kids, not quantity.” I wanted so badly to believe this. J was born in March of 2010 and in 7 weeks time I would be leaving him to get back to work (I only worked for 3 weeks though because summer vacation started). However, extreme guilt took over when I returned. I knew it would only be for 3 weeks and then I had the entire summer with J, but it was very hard especially because I was nursing (another blog will be written about how I breastfed him for an entire year without formula while working). We, however, all survived and have a nice routine that has worked for us the last 3 years.
Guilt. I am a working mom because I need to be- financially and emotionally. I WOULD NOT be a good mom if I stayed home. That is personal for me only. I know so many great mommies who stay home and are fabulous! They can do it all and still be amazing. I am just not one of them. I am very much an independent person and need “adult” time which I get at work with my colleagues. My job as a teacher also keeps a roof over our heads, food on the table and money for J and I to have our weekend walks to Starbucks. :)
When I get vacation time like summers, Christmas break and spring break, I don't take them for granted. This is the "quality" I alluded to back in paragraph 2. J and I spend days catching up on things I don’t get to do with him because I am at work. We take vacations and day trips to see friends and family.
So after 3 years, do I still believe that “it’s quality time, not quantity?” Yes. I do everything I can to make the quality time with J educational, fun and memorable. In these moments the guilt goes away. The feelings of regret go away.
Written by Chantell