Friday, January 3, 2014

The Mommy Guilt


On Christmas Eve's Eve it totally hit me... I have so little time left with my sweet baby girl where I just have to worry about taking care of her during the day. 3 days from today, I start school. I told Devin this is my "last full week" where it's just me and her. It might sound silly but it feels like the end of an "era" to me. The end of the "new mommy and new baby" era. I definitely feel mommy guilt. A LOT of mommy guilt. Mostly because I am partly EXCITED to be going back to school (and also terrified). But I am also SO SAD to be leaving my girl for a few hours a day. She is my little buddy! It's been just her and me for so long and now I am putting my trust in someone else to watch over her.  All too often I feel like I am being judged for going back to school. 
Don't you WANT to stay home with Charlotte all the time? 
Can't you guys AFFORD for you to stay home with Charlotte? 
WHY would you want to go back to school if you already have a degree?
Being a stay at home mom is THE BEST thing in the world! WHY would you want to do anything else?
Don't you feel like your relationship with your daughter will suffer with you being gone so much?
Let me address these questions in the most frank way I can (and I'm sorry if it offends you but it's how I feel). 
#1.YES I DO want to stay at home with Charlotte MOST of the time (99% of the time). There are days when I RELISH in the fact that I GET to stay at home and be with my babe. There are days when I totally rock the "mom and wife" thing. My house gets clean, my baby has been an angel, I got in a good workout, Lucy has been on a walk and dinner is made when hubby walks through the door. BUT there are also the days where I am dying for a break. Especially now that she is teething she has become a little chomping cute monster. But I still feel like I need to do something ELSE... something that breaks up the monotony of diapers and feedings and house cleaning. Yes, motherhood and being a wife IS meaningful and they both bring me so much joy however the things I wanted before I became a mother and wife are still a part of me and who I am. My dream of becoming a doctor downshifted into a dream of becoming a nurse. This is hard for me to explain to people who don't understand why on earth I would want to do anything besides be a wife and a mother and if you don't understand this part of me IT'S OK! A lot of prayer and thought and discussion and more prayer have gone into this decision.
#2. Yes, we can afford for me to stay at home. But money is very tight these days without me working and it is going to be even more tight these next few years while I go to nursing school. We have been very blessed that I have been able to stay at home with C these past 7 1/2 months. 
#3. When we moved here we realized how difficult it was for me to find a job with my current degree and with Devin in the military I NEED something that A) will follow me wherever we move and B) would allow me to support me and Charlotte if something were to ever happen to Devin. I could not do that with the jobs I had before. 
#4. Being a mother is extremely rewarding in ways that I could never have imagined and Charlotte is the most wonderful gift we have ever received. BUT I am a firm believer in education AND more importantly education for women. I believe I am setting a great example for my daughter (just like my mom did for me!) And I believe that the knowledge I will gain from going to nursing school will help me be a BETTER mother and caretaker for my family. 
#5. No. My relationship with my daughter NOR my husband for that matter will suffer on the whole. Yes, it may suffer during finals week or when I start clinicals, but I get 2 weeks off after every quarter where I can recharge and just spend time with my little family. For that, I am grateful. My mother ALWAYS worked 2 jobs when I was growing up and my mom and I are super close and she is my best friend. I was in daycare a lot growing up and I never felt like anyone besides my mom was raising me.

To each their own. Staying at home or working is a very personal decision for every family. Growing up, I didn't have the stay at home mom like a lot of my friends did. I had the mom who worked her bootay off all the time. That's the example that I had so I always assumed I would work too. When C came it did not feel like the right thing to do. Now that she is older, it's time to do this.
It's hard to explain but when she was 4 weeks old I sort of applied on a whim. When I got called in for an interview I thought, "SERIOUSLY!?" When I went in for my entrance exam I didn't feel like I had studied enough. I remember praying and thinking, "Ok Heavenly Father, if I am supposed to do this please let me feel like this is right." And I passed with flying colors, and things have just worked out. Yes, I KNOW this is going to be hard but I definitely feel like it's going to be worth it.
I know that I will always have mommy guilt for the things I feel I am doing wrong, but I don't think going to school is one of them.

4 comments:

Karaleigh Garrison said...

I don't think you need to justify yourself at all. I can completely relate to wanting and even sometimes needing to do something else. Not give up being a mom in any way, but keep yourself growing and progressing in your own chosen field outside/in addition to motherhood. And I think your daughter will admire you for it. Motherhood is a lot of work, but it doesn't have to be the end of every other dream we've ever had. I have to keep telling myself this all the time because I haven't yet reached the point where I can do more : ) And with #3 on the way it seems almost impossible, at least impossibly far away. My point is that I get it, and you have been blessed with a wonderful opportunity to live another dream. It's awesome : )

Karaleigh Garrison said...

I don't think you need to justify yourself at all. I can completely relate to wanting and even sometimes needing to do something else. Not give up being a mom in any way, but keep yourself growing and progressing in your own chosen field outside/in addition to motherhood. And I think your daughter will admire you for it. Motherhood is a lot of work, but it doesn't have to be the end of every other dream we've ever had. I have to keep telling myself this all the time because I haven't yet reached the point where I can do more : ) And with #3 on the way it seems almost impossible, at least impossibly far away. My point is that I get it, and you have been blessed with a wonderful opportunity to live another dream. It's awesome : )

Diane's Photography said...

Whitney, you have a good head on your shoulders. You would NEVER make a wrong un thought out choice. It's a good time to go to school, get it done, time will go by fast.
oxox

Afton Brinkerhoff said...

I'm a working mother and I hate when people ask me those questions. But you have great responses to all of them. We just have to do what feels right for ourselves.