“I Miss You Mommy” – Working Parent Guilt

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I’ve long been an advocate for continuing to work after having a child. After SB was born I went back to uni and straight into work. When I’ve left previous jobs, the job hunt has started again straight away. I don’t judge stay-at-home parents in the slightest – I just didn’t think it was right for me.

When she was smaller, I didn’t really think anything of going out to work. I was setting a good example; providing for her. Besides, she had Daf. A dad is every bit as worthy and suitable a caregiver as a mum; we never went for the whole “daddy is babysitting” shtick. If anything, he was the primary caregiver; I was the novelty parent who appeared at weekends and evenings. I could cope with this while she was younger; smaller; quieter.

Then she started to speak, and it got a whole lot harder.

I have absolutely loved the job I’ve been doing for the last six months. Really and truly, I’ve never found a team I’ve slotted in with so well. Even at uni there were teething problems until we all settled down, but at my current job, it’s like a little family. There’s banter, there’s a whole lot of laughs and we work together well. They’re lovely people, and the customers we see are lovely too. The job is great.

But I’m burned out.

I can’t remember the last time I felt truly healthy. I’ve bounced from virus to virus with the odd coeliac attack thrown in for good measure (I’m getting better at managing it, but you’d be amazed at the “surprise gluten” foods that you don’t realise contain the stuff until you’ve eaten it). I’m exhausted and stressed. I come home and rather than spending time with SB, I curl up on the sofa feeling rough.

And that’s not a reflection on the job in any way. It’s a reflection of the way I’ve lived my life for the last few years; rushing from one project to another, never pausing to appreciate the life I left behind at 9am every morning. Not even pausing to appreciate the amazing things Daf has done in all the time he’s spent caring for SB.

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Add that to physio and occupational therapy every couple of weeks to try and stop my joints from going their separate ways, realising that much of my life has been affected by a disorder that has knocked me for six and the general outside stresses of living with a two year old, and you’ve got a recipe for burnout.

I know how self-centred this reads right now, so bear with me. Don’t think for a second that I don’t appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given. Lots of women fall into the automatic, assumed position of stay-at-home mum when they would love to work, for a variety of reasons, and I know I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to go out and work, and I’m so thankful for everything Daf has done for SB, to enable me to go and do that.

If I’m honest, I could have coped with all of the medical problems and the tiredness and the toddler tantrums. We’ve coped with worse in the past. What made it difficult was when I realised that SB was being affected by me heading out to work every day.

“I miss you mommy”.

If ever there were four words that can drive a stake right through your heart, it’s those. It started as a very occasional thing – she’d say it when I was getting out of the car in the morning to go to work, or coming home at night, she’d snuggle up to me and say “I missed you mommy”. Realising that my little girl has spent so little quality time with me since I went back to uni when she was 5 months old was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face up to.

Which is why a decision has been made.

My notice has been handed in. I’ll be leaving my current job at the end of August, and I won’t be straight on Indeed looking for new ones, desperately filling in applications and attending interviews. Daf and I are going to do a swap – he’ll look for work, to fill the gap in his CV and bring some money in, and I’ll take over as the primary caregiver for SB.

I’m gutted to be leaving work, I’ll be honest. It’s a great job – interesting, educational, with plenty of scope for career progression – it’s just not right for me right now. I’m ready to spend some quality time with my daughter. I’ll be doing my OU course alongside – I never do anything by halves! – but my absolute priority will be enjoying the next however-many-months with SB, watching her grow and develop and play.

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It’s a decision I’ve battled with. At times I feel selfish for choosing to do this; at other times I know I’d be selfish if I continued to work. This is no reflection of my feelings on parents who work or stay at home – I think you’re all freaking awesome, fighting your own battles in the best way for you -, just on what is right for our family. Right now, that means me staying at home with SB – for my health and SB’s happiness.

We can’t predict what the future holds, and it might be a struggle for a while, but I know we’re making the right decision for now. I have a month until I leave work, and I’m nervous and excited in equal measure.

Until then, at least when SB cuddles me in the evening and whispers “I miss you mommy”, I can say “Not long now, baby girl”, and mean it.

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14 thoughts on ““I Miss You Mommy” – Working Parent Guilt

  1. mumof3 says:

    Good for you! Sounds like a tough decision but the right one for you at this time. I worked part-time when my oldest was little and found the balance about right, but unfortunately didn’t enjoy my job. It’s so hard to find the right solution and balance as a family, and we just have to follow our instincts and do what is best for all of us at a particular time, I guess. Now I have toddler twins I still hope to return to work when I can, though might have to start all over again. But for now I’m happy to focus on enjoying this time with them while they’re still little. It lasts such a short time, but there’s plenty of time left to work! All the best… #KCACOLS

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  2. mumisthewordblog says:

    Life doesn’t half give you some tough moments but you know what you have to do what you’ve got to do. I’m a stay at home mum, and I have for about six months now. I would love to do part time work but obviously jobs don’t just fall in your lap. That being said though, jobs come and go. They’re always going to be there, our children’s youth isn’t something we can get back. I totally understand and respect your decision and its time for you to now sit back, relax and make some precious memories before the next part of your life begins #kcacols

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  3. Sarah@teammomlife says:

    It’s so hard to know what to do. I was a stay at home for a year while finishing up grad school and have been working now for almost a year. I feel that mommy guilt almost every day. For a while my son would scream “no work mommy no work” as I dropped him at my aunts and cried the whole way to work. It’s gotten better but still very hard most days. I hope it all works out for you and makes you happy! #KCACOLS

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  4. Savannah (@HowHesRaised) says:

    I know that must’ve been such a tough decision! Many people are so terrified of change, so good for you!! I’m so glad your family has been able to have such a wonderful dynamic to be sure that SB is in the best hands always. I hope you enjoy these next few months at home with your girl ❀ #KCACOLS

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  5. Rebecca says:

    That must have been such a hard decision for you. But well done for making a decision and facing change. It is a shame to be leaving a job you love so much but the future will hold even more for you now. Getting to be with your little one and focusing on your health will be amazing. Enjoy every second. #KCACOLS

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  6. Upside Mum says:

    Such a difficult decision to make but you have done the right thing, for the right reasons. I hope you can see an improvement in your health as a result and enjoy the quality time with your little one. I too work full time and I miss spending days at home with the kids. I would prefer to work part time but it’s not possible at the moment. Good luck with your new chapter x #KCACOLS

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  7. rachelbustin says:

    I m so pleased for you. I wish I didn’t have to go back to work in October when my maternity leave finishes. I just don;t want to leave my baby girl but to provide for her I must. we have to eat and pay the bills. I m looking into trying to find job where I can work from home but I don’t have any experience and I don’t earn enough from my blog yet to buy the monthly food shop! xx
    #KCACOLS

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    • The Speed Bump says:

      It’s so difficult isn’t it. Unless DP can get a full time, steady job, we’re going to really struggle to pay rent and bills. I know that if we had a mortgage and a bigger house, there’s no way I’d be able to leave work – as it is we’ll be scraping by – I just can’t take the constant hits to my health anymore x Being able to pay for the monthly shop from blogging would be nice haha! Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. Kaye says:

    Aw, we face so many difficult decisions as parents and no one can tell us what is right or wrong – every option has it’s pros and cons. I think hearing those words would break my heart too, I’m lucky enough to have the balance of only working 3 days a week. Hope you enjoy the lovely time you’ll both have together now. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

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  9. Someone's Mum says:

    I just left my job as a secondary English teacher after 13 years because of working mummy guilt. I am not sure what the future hold either but I knew I couldn’t sustain it. Good luck! Thanks for linking up with #KCACOLS. We hope you come back again next week.

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  10. lyns2503 says:

    You have clearly made the right decision for you. 😊 I know that I would struggle to go from full time work to SAHP. The ideal would be for both parents to work part-time – if only that were more easily achievable in some careers.

    Get ready for ‘I miss you Mommy’ to turn into ‘Where’s Daddy?’ Or in our house, ‘I want Mummy to go away…’

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    • The Speed Bump says:

      Haha I think that’s the problem, it’ll be from one extreme to another! Ideally we’d both have part time work, it’s just so hard to find jobs that work around each other. Thanks for stopping by! x

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