My friends - it is hard to be a working mom. Not to say it isn't hard to be a stay at home mom, because that has its own set of difficulties. But one thing that working moms have that stay at home moms don't is the addition of mom guilt for not being around.
This hit me hard last Monday when I had to drop Thatbaby off at school. He'd been off since Thursday because of the strep throat. Mondays are always hard at school drop offs. He loves being at home with us during the weekends, so Monday mornings the last thing he wants to do is go to school. It's even harder after a long weekend, or being home sick for days. And when he's been sick, I feel terribly dropping him off at school as he cries for me to stay, or says he wants to go home. I feel guilty about the fact that if I wasn't working, I could take him home and cuddle him until he felt 100% healthy.
So how do you deal with feeling like you're not being the best mom you can be?
1) Self talk. You know who the best moms are? Moms who feel fulfilled. This is a great thing to remember because fulfillment can come from so many sources. For some staying home with their children gives them that sense. Other women feel fulfillment from working in a complicated field. Or having stimulating conversations with other adults. Or making loads of money. Whatever it is makes you feel whole, then don't feel guilty about doing it, because rather than making you a bad mom, it makes you a better mom.
2) Time away makes you a better mom. I love Thatbaby. To pieces. He is my favorite child in the world and I would do anything for him. But he drives me nuts. He wears me down and exhausts me. And if I had to spend 24 hours a day with him every day I think I would lose my cool. There would be yelling, there would be tears, and Thatbaby would probably cry too. Having a little non-mom time is good for me so I can be a better mom during mom-time.
3) Family time. I really try to spend as much time with my family as I'm able. So when I'm with them, I'm really with them. The computer and television are usually off until Thatbaby goes to bed. Weekends are usually about doing things together, I do girls' night during the week, and get up before sunrise to do long runs so I don't miss out on time with the boys. This means my weekends are usually packed with events and I am often more exhausted Sunday nights than I am on Friday nights, but in a couple years Thatbaby is not going to want to have anything to do with us on weekends, so I'll take advantage now.