23 April 2018, by Flora Isabelle
I’m writing this at 5:13am in the middle of the night. Despite having being able to fall asleep at only 2am, I forced myself up 3 hours later, attached my breast pumps to my boobs, and will do it again in another 3 hours.
Nights of continuous sleep have become a thing of the past since I became a Mom seven months ago – in fact have I ever experienced 8 hours of sleep at a stretch? I don’t remember.
Even though my boy now sleeps through the night, sleeping soundly doesn’t seem like it will ever be possible again. There is always something to worry about (“is he too hot?”), check on (“is he too cold?”) or do.
And in tonight’s (or rather, this morning’s) case, it involves having to pump as I am some 400 km away from my baby, thanks to work travels.
Motherhood is a lonely journey, they say.
But what they don’t say – and probably only because they can’t find the words to express – is that Mom Guilt is real and that it eats you, all the time, every single waking (and non-waking) moment of your life.
If you’re a working mom, you obviously feel guilty about leaving your child in the care of someone else 8,10 or even 12 hours a day.
You probably feel even more guilty that you enjoy your job, the mental stimulation, the synergy with your colleagues and the achievements you reap… at the expense of time with your little ones.
If you hate your job but have to work anyway, it’s perhaps worse. Having to be away from your baby’s milestones yet being stuck in a situation you can’t really get out of.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re a stay-at-home-mom, you maybe feel so bad that there are moments in between changing the umpteenth diaper and your own milk-stained clothes, you kinda wish that you were back at work and not reduced to just being a cow at home.
After all, shouldn’t caring for your children be your sole and utmost priority?
The thing is, I’ve realised, is that Mom Guilt is real and that it happens every single second to every single situation we are put in and there’s no escaping from it.
I’ve also realised that the grass is unfortunately always greener on the other side.
I don’t have a solution or miracle to solve or deal with this pain we are feeling but perhaps, it’s good to know that we are not alone.
To the mom who’s working, you’re not a bad mom for working.
Bills don’t pay themselves and every day, you’re showing your little ones what is it like to chase your dreams.
Your little girl will grow up knowing it’s possible to kick a*s both in and out of the home and your little boy will grow up knowing that their sisters, female friends, girlfriend, wife and female colleagues are equals.
To the mom who isn’t working, kudos for trying every day to be the best playmate, teacher, cook, waitress, nurse, alarm clock, counsellor and event planner… all without holidays, annual leave or any sick leave.
Either way, we choose the best ways we can for our children to grow up, with the best means for them to have a safe place to sleep, good things to eat and to be cared for in a nurturing learning environment.
Instead of beating yourself up (or worse, mom shaming another mother over her choices and non-choices), let’s remind ourselves that from the day we become a Mom, whatever we do will never be an easy decision to make or accept.
But we do it out of the love in our hearts — and that is all you or your child could ever ask for.
The Mom Guilt will always be there, but so will the mighty little one you’ve lovingly raised.