Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Working Mama Guilt (Quotable Bits #1)

The phrase 'working mother' is redundant. 
~ Jane Sellman

I came across this quote the other day and it really struck home.  So much so that I figured it was the perfect choice for my first 'Quotable Bits' linkup with the lovely Bits of Bee.  So here we go...

I often say that being a working mother is the hardest job in the world.  We have to be the ultimate multi-taskers.  And also able to switch personas quickly and often. I can remember several times where I answered my phone in confident career woman voice and immediately fell into baby-talking mama at the sound of my sweet girl on the other end. 

I always knew I wanted children but was also sure I would never be a stay-at-home mum.  It just wasn't in my DNA...I like to work.  I like to have adult conversations.  I like to have my mind challenged every day.  And - I will freely admit - that I also like the freedom that work provides me.  A few hours every day to myself...where I don't have to cut anyone's food, watch Barbie movies or read "The Paper Bag Princess" a hundred times in a row. Although I do love that book...

I stayed home the first full year with my oldest and it was wonderful...but a part of me was itching to go back to work.  Itching for adult conversation...itching to do something more creative than building a castle with blocks.  So after a year I went back to work and left my daughter at home with hubby. 

They seemed to handle me leaving okay...
There was definitely a part of me that felt guilty about leaving my lovely little girl at home.  But I knew she was in good hands with her daddy and that going back to work would ultimately be best for both of us. 

Soon the time came when hubby had to go back to work as well.  And we managed to find the most amazing daycare for our girl. A place where I have never once worried about dropping her off at.  A place where she was cared for and loved by some very amazing people for her first 5 years before kindergarten.  

I struggle sometimes to find the best way to express my appreciation for the people that care for my girls while I am at work.  I have yet to find a way to adequately thank them...to tell them that they ease my working mama guilt everyday because I know that my kids are happy and taken care of. 

A few times over the 5 years that my girls have attended daycare I have socialized with the staff outside of the daycare. And I was amazed at the fact that they tell stories about my kids like I do - with pride and humour and love. And that was just another reinforcement for me.

Every day when I pick up my girls from daycare or school I get to experience one of the best moments as  parent...that moment when your child spots you from across a room or a playground and that smile spreads across their face.  "Mummy!" they shout and then they run...god I love when little kids run.  And my girls throw themselves into my arms and it is amazing.  No matter how rough the day has been that moment makes it better.  

They have fun with friends and teachers during the day.  They do crafts and play games and go on field trips.  They learn new things and all of that helps to shape them into the people they are.  But at the end of the day...they want their parents.  They want the comfort of knowing that we are there for them. That we will always be there for them.

My life is good...I haven't achieved a perfect balance and I may never.  But as much as I may complain and as hard as it might be to juggle both my 'lives' I really wouldn't have it any other way.  Because I can't be defined by one of those lives.  

I am a mother. 
I am a wife.
I am an employee. 
I am a co-worker. 
I am a friend.  
I am a sister.  
I am a daughter.  
And all of these 'me's' are a little bit different.  And all of them are important...

But maybe that first one is just a little bit more so than the others.  Because of these little faces...


  1. Very sweet, and oh so true! Will we ever find the perfect balance? Welcome to my linky, great quote!

  2. I think the perfect balance is a constant battle, so much so that I no longer strive for it - instead I strive for happiness. And with happiness tend to come a little more balance. Usually :)

  3. This is a wonderful post. I got goosebumps when you said the daycare providers told stories about your kids with pride and love. That is so sweet. I still take my son back to visit the ones who are still there. I love your photos.

  4. welcome to the linky -- a great quote for your first link up! and so true...we all work hard, whether at home, from home, or outside the home. as a mom, I don't think you are ever truly "off the clock".

  5. The perfect balance is so hard to find. This year, I am fortunate to work part time. My kids go to daycare 3 days a week and are home one day a week with me and one day a week with my hubby. But on my day off I struggle with the balance of getting stuff done like laundry and housework and doing fun things with my kids. Going out with the kids usually wins out and as a result, messy house.