Mommy guilt, it’s a real feeling that unfortunately plagues many new mom’s. When you are pregnant you read countless books, scour the internet for baby related articles, and receive endless advice from friends on what to do, what not to do, what works best, and what to avoid. You attend breastfeeding classes, decide you want to try for a natural, epidural free birth, and only feed your child organic pureed foods. While all with good intentions you quickly learn that life doesn’t go as planned and no matter what decision you make you are often left second guessing if you in fact made the right one.
If the combination of societal pressures with the constant bombarding of advice from other mom’s leaves you feeling trapped then you are not alone. Whether by choice or by necessity many mom’s must return to work at the end of their maternity leave. Working mom’s feel badly about sending their child to daycare, is my child too young to be cared for by someone else all day? While stay at home moms aren’t sure their child is getting the appropriate level of social interaction. Is she learning to share? Is she too clingy? Will she be able to integrate in with the other children when she does attend school? No matter what you are left feeling torn. People often feel strongly one way or another about these decision and project their opinions to others even when such advice is unsolicited.
I currently work part-time and was told by a potential boss at a job interview a few months after I had my son that if I took one thing away from our meeting it was to make sure I had time for myself. As a part-time employee she advised that I enroll my child in full-time daycare and use the extra hours to go to the gym, read a book, etc., but to do something that I enjoyed as I needed that time to unwind. Her comment left me thinking was it worth the extra money to have time for myself? Wouldn’t I rather spend those additional hours with my child or did I truly need that time for myself in order to make myself a better mother when we were together?
As hard as it can be, I try to make the best decision at the time and move forward. Constantly reminding myself what is best for my family might not work for yours. I take the neighbors advice on introducing solids with a grain of salt, remembering this is my child and I know better than anyone else what is best for him. Live and learn and TRY to stop worrying…
By Jessica S.