The 'Mom Guilts'

Today, I find myself suffering from a supreme case of the ‘mom guilts’. I’m sure “Dad Guilts” exist as well, but I’m a Mom so for the purpose of this post I will refer to this feeling as the ‘mom guilts’. (Yes, I am well aware that ‘guilts’ isn’t actually a word).

I have two children. One will be five years old in May and the other is just 15 months old.

For various reasons, I have been working since my youngest was 3 months old. It was mainly evenings and weekends until September when I returned to work full time. As such, I have this sense of guilt that I have abandoned my youngest son.

I have held my current position since December 29, 2014. I have yet to receive a full pay cheque. Between day home issues, family illness and child illness I haven’t been able to put in a full two weeks of work. This week, I am extremely close! After today I have just one more day!

My youngest and I have been suffering from a head-cold for the past few days. Starting yesterday he was a bit warm. Nothing too serious. I took his temperature and it remained under the fever threshold. Other than being grumpy, I thought he was fine. He has this cold plus his two front teeth are coming in. It’s a given he’ll be grumpy in that situation. We went about our morning as usual and I noticed he was a bit more clingy than usual. That is usually a sign of impending illness. But as a working mother, I took him to the day home and went to work anyway. It was at this time that the small pangs of ‘mom guilt’ started to grow.

At about lunch time I got a message from my day home provider. My youngest was warm and wouldn’t stop crying. Just kept crying for an hour. Nothing she could do would calm him down. Cue the swelling of the ‘mom guilts’. After some discussion we agreed to give him some baby advil and if it didn’t get better she would let me know.

It didn’t get better.

I ended up having to dispatch my husband because I have been trying so hard to get a full pay cheque at this job I didn’t want to risk losing time. Cue the excessive swelling of the ‘mom guilts’. I work a half day tomorrow but I have to get our dog licensed with the city and register my eldest for Kindergarten because NONE of these things can be done outside regular Monday-Friday 9-5 hours WHICH IS WHEN I WORK and all of these things must be done face to face. Nothing by mail, over the phone, or online.

I also worked my other job last night. Because I am a crazy person and I work two jobs. So there I am, working away, while thinking of my poor little son and my poor husband and the undoubtedly horrible situation. At this point the ‘mom guilts’ are so big and insane that I can barely stand it. I rush home from work and the kids are both in bed and my husband is obviously worn out and he too is suffering from the ‘leaving-work-early’ guilts’.

Last night my poor little son was up every hour. At 4:30am he was definitely up. His little body was on fire and he was so upset. Thermometer said he didn’t have a fever but he was not normal. He had poor little shivers and that little suck in of breath that happens when they are too exhausted to fully cry. We gave him the last of the advil we had and let him sleep in bed with us. My husband called in to work and he is home with the kids as I sit in my office, consumed by the ‘mom guilts’.

I’m sure other parents have felt this way. We feel terrible when we can’t be there for our children, especially when they are suffering. Especially as the mum where I feel it is my job to be that nurturing provider of safety. I am glad my boys are very attached to their dad right now. But it makes me sad that they don’t seem to miss me even a little bit. I feel horrible that I’m putting my job before my kids, or at least it feels that way. The fact that both boys would prefer to cuddle their Dad and not me also makes me feel like I failed some secret test somewhere that grades my performance skills as a mum.

Maybe it’s just been a bad year so far.

It’ll get better, right?

Posted by Sarah Jayne

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