Mom Guilt

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

This post is for all those women out there who feel some type of way about their “work” status. Whether they be guilt ridden working moms with little ones at home, guilt ridden [for not being guilt ridden] working moms with little ones at home or moms who stay home and want to rip their hair out for not having an escape all day from their little ones. I now fit into all three of those categories. Let me fill you in quickly…

I was a career woman, working in Manhattan as a designer, switched to teaching because it was the “family friendly” career and many years in, following my tenure, started having babies. I HATED having to go back to work, especially leaving a 4 month old at home…twice.

The time I got home was definitely nice, and part of the reason I did make the switch. I would be home at 4 and still had 3 hours with the baby before he went to bed. Wasn’t much and I felt like I was missing so much of his life. Luckily, we had the most amazing woman watch him, Annie the Nanny. We actually found her in the dog park one day and after 2 hours of talking, we trusted her to care for our first born! [Don’t judge me!] If it makes you feel better, we had a lot of reasons; mutual friends, etc, that led us to knowing she was trustworthy. She watched our son from 4.5 months until he was about 2 and we left Hoboken. Insert sobbing emoji here. We tried to get her to move down here but she wanted to stay up there with her own kids. While I consider us to be the luckiest people ever by having had Annie as our son’s extremely young and beautiful “4th Grandma” figure, I still hated not being with him all day, everyday. I relished in my summer off and once I had a taste, I knew I could never NOT have my summers off again.

Enter baby number 2 and a similar situation, except now the kids were in daycare. I hated the thought at first, but it was time for socialization and learning and it was definitely the right decision. What was nice is I had a peaceful maternity leave with the second baby because we continued to send our first to school, since it took a full month to get him willing to go without screaming and crying every morning at drop off. Knowing I had to go back to work, I couldn’t, in good conscience, pull him out and put him through that all over again just 4 months later. Then baby number 2 entered the daycare routine and back to work I went, every day feeling guilty that I had to rush out the door so quickly and only got a few hours with them a day, after pickup.

Now enter baby number 3! The shut down gave me a welcomed 2 weeks off leading up to my delivery date and then the continuation of it, kept everyone at home long after the birth of the baby. Just a few weeks into my leave, 3 to be exact, I received a “zoom” telling me that my position had been lost due to budget cuts and I no longer had a job. I did try to find one for this school year, but Art Teacher jobs are not easy, because once an art teacher secures a job, they don’t leave until retirement! I think I’m the only Art Teacher that’s left 2 districts, especially being tenured. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, right?!

So now, here I am, a SAHM of 3 under 4. Everyday. All day. ALL. DAY. And let me tell you something. It is ROUGH! I feel guilty saying it, sure, but I also know it’s not abnormal and I am not the only one. If anyone has seen my ig stories, you’ve gotten a glimpse of what my boys are like. They’re the wearing their underwear on the outside of their pants, jumping off the coffee table type of boys…and that was actually my 2 year old! I have very wild boys that make semi quarantine life HARD. My youngest is amazing, such a great baby, but inevitably, when I sit down to nurse him, my toddler will be in the toilet, on the island, upstairs in my makeup…just anywhere he shouldn’t be. Please note, when I sat down to nurse the baby, the toddler was sitting quietly next to me affixed on the baby shark video or Frozen for the 7,265,327th time. Never fails. Now, before you suggest it, I can’t lock the toilets, like I did with the first, because then the first can’t open them when he has to pee, emergency style, because he insists on holding it until he’s doing the dance and practically peeing on his way to the bathroom.

My amazing baby is also the lightest sleeper I’ve ever seen, so life in this house is rough for him and he started his life on a cooling blanket for almost 2 weeks! You’d think he’d be happy to just be in clothes and in a warm crib. NOPE. So After I get him down, the other 2 wake him up and then it’s a vicious cycle. My husband goes to the gym every day, or for a drive to get coffees for us, or to get gas, or take a work call, or maybe just to take the garbage out at night….and I harbor resentment for each and every one of those reasons because it’s time he gets to himself! He doesn’t understand…

Don’t get me wrong. I love my boys more than life itself and kick around the idea of still, maybe trying for our Emma Grace, but being a SAHM is NOT easy. It’s way easier to go to work everyday. 100% easier. Being a SAHM is a thankless job for sure. I don’t want to yell at my 4 year old, but when he’s about to jump off of the back of the couch onto the baby, who’s on his play mat, I have to. Then the 2 year old tries to copy him. Obviously, I’m yelling or if not yelling, reprimanding, even just having to use the word no, or explaining why something is not safe. It’s a lot. The other night I went to put him to bed and he told me he didn’t like me. My heart broke. I know he didn’t mean it. He didn’t even know what he was saying. The next day he told me that he liked me again, so that was cool, but I couldn’t help but let it eat away at me ever since. Am I doing something wrong? Am I a bad mom? Do I yell too much? Do I not yell enough?

I also started this blog to truly inspire people and in the midst of it, it sort of turned into a business opportunity. I will tell you, I wish I started this when I was single and in Hoboken. For one, I would’ve had a lot more awesome places to shoot and I did so many wonderful DIY rehabs on my apartments, but I could’ve given it the attention it needed to take off. Now, I’m doing it while trying to balance the kiddos and it is not easy. I love being a mom, but I also love being creative, teaching and sharing my creativity. This blog is that for me. It’s an outlet. It’s something for me. Yet, now I feel guilty again. I feel like I should just be getting up every day and devoting it to my kids. I haven’t had a pedicure since the beginning of 2020, might have even been 2019, for my “holiday nails”. I know that sounds all “first world problems”, but I worked my ass off my whole life to get to where I am now and enjoying pedicures every now and then was something I looked forward to, especially after being on my feet all day! I haven’t had a date with my husband, a night out with a girlfriend [other than that bachelorette party]…you get the picture.

So after seemingly rambling on and on for what WIX says is about 9 minutes, what is my point? I guess, just like the purpose of my blog, to identify with anyone out there who is having any of these feelings. You’re not alone. Hopefully I’m not alone! No matter which type of mom you are, you’re a fantastic one. If I’ve learned anything throughout my rollercoaster of a life so far, it is that while I felt going to work took me away from my kids and caused me so much guilt, it ultimately made me a better mom. I enjoyed my time with them that much more and I was able to give all of me because once I left work, I left and I was fully present for them. I also had an entire day of something that made me happy. Sure, work is stressful and working with kids or adults is not the easiest day in the world, but it is definitely fulfilling when you get those sweet notes from a student, see a breakthrough, see a student find pride in themselves or see themselves as having a talent they didn’t know they had. I can go on and on and I feel the emotions coming on strong, so I’ll move on!

I loved my job, short and sweet. And I love my kids. And now I love my blog. I love making my photo shoots an artistic experience. I think about everything; lighting, rule of thirds, angles, locations, backgrounds…I instantly switch gears to graphic design mode when creating stories or posts of sale items…and it’s now like a job. Except, my kids don’t understand and think I am just ignoring them while I am on my phone. After I post, the first few minutes of engagement [commenting, liking and so on] is the most important for my post to reach more eyes. If I put my phone down to play with the kids, my engagement goes down and it ultimately hurts me and all of my prior hard work is for nothing. Forget about trying to clean the house, do laundry or any of the renovation tasks! [and no, my kids do not all nap at the same time, they like to stagger.]

So, how do I balance it all? When I figure it out, I’ll be sure to write another blog post. For now, I just lay awake at night, attempting to decompress while ultimately running the whole day over in my head and overthinking everything. “Tomorrow, I’m not going to yell; not even once.” “Did I play with the kids enough today?” “I literally got nothing done all day. How is that possible?” Do you do this when you get into bed at night? Writing is truly therapeutic for me. So, I enjoy sitting down to write these thoughts out and THAT does help me relax a bit. As I sit here, “working” on one of the things that I love and brings me joy, I look left at the baby monitor and see another thing that I love more than anything in this world, sleeping peacefully and I think to myself, what a wonderful world! JK…it was too easy to insert those Louie Armstrong lyrics. It’s not untrue though. These are definitely good problems to have and some might read this and think I sound like a huge jerk and that’s ok. Everyone has their own story but this is mine. As always, one of my main goals is to show my true self and be relatable. I want to inspire others or at least let you know that when you’re feeling uninspired, you’re not alone.

I don’t book massages, I don’t go to regular doctor checkups, I don’t do a lot of things that my friends make sure they find time to do…because I feel guilty being away from my kids. Is this wrong? Maybe. Just the other day, I was complaining to my husband that I don’t have enough time in the day for all I need to do and especially just for myself. He said, “I’ll take the kids to the park for a few hours and you can do you.” To which, I retorted, “Well, I want to go to the park. I don’t want to miss out on family time and seeing them run around, laugh and play!” Does anyone else have this struggle?

I feel like the saying, “the grass is always greener…” couldn’t apply more to this situation. When I worked full time, I resented the world because all I want to do it be home. Now that I’m home, I resent the world for our house not having more structure so that things just roll smoothly. I want it all. I want me time but not at the expense of my family. I wish all my kids WOULD nap at once, so I wouldn’t have guilt about doing something for me; watching a show, doing my nails, engaging on instagram, writing blog posts, you get the picture. I want to be the perfect mom and I am far from it. Our new goal is to establish a routine in the house, that could somehow, miraculously solve all the world’s problems. In the meantime, my advice to you is, keep up the good work and try to let go of the mom guilt, even just a little…because it’s a real thing and no matter what, I think we’re going to have it for the rest of our lives. Remember, YOU ARE AMAZING!!

There may have been next to no reason for writing this post, but I certainly feel better having gotten it all down in words. As always, if it helps even just one person…I consider that a win.

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