The Working Mom Guilt Pendulum

A week ago, I felt terrible because I had to call out of work after picking up some of PJ’s germs that kept me home the whole previous week taking care of him. Even though my company is very family friendly and my boss was nothing but kind and understanding about it, I still put myself on a massive guilt trip over the parts of my job I wasn’t getting done. So I coped by telling myself that I was being a good mom and in the big picture, that counts more, right?

Cue the pendulum swing…

Sunday night, PJ’s teeth were bothering him, and he woke me up early on Monday morning. Like, 4 am early. That was rough, but I figured I could deal. Until Monday night, when the “putting baby to bed” plan that started at 8:30 stretched on, and on, and on…until all of a sudden it’s 2 am and I’m collapsed in a puddle of tired on the nursery floor next to a baby that just won’t stop crying. And because his teeth hurt, every time I pick him up, I get bit.

At this point, I know that if I go past the 24 hour awake mark there is no way  I’m going to make it to work, and I can’t call out again because I have a big meeting with several people I won’t be able to reschedule easily if at all. So I went back to my room and was tired enough to pass out for a three hour nap and get up for work.

My husband can tell you, I paid for that nap all day long in feeling guilty – I was so sad that I couldn’t stick it out and cuddle the baby all night like he wanted and then be home to sleep during the day when he finally went down for a nap. And even with Paul telling me over and over that it was OK and PJ was fine,  I totally felt like one of those awful stock photos they use on the cover of every magazine article about working moms ever published. You know, the ones where a crying, neglected child wails while Mean Feminist Mommy takes a business call, types on a laptop, and is much more interested in her cup of coffee than her kid (although I can kind of sympathize with that last one if she’s as sleep deprived as I am).

Most days, I’m happy about being a working mom – I like my job, feel good about what I do, and who wouldn’t get an instant mood boost from coming home to this every day?

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But then, no matter how good I feel about what I’m doing, at some point I start to feel bad about what I’m not doing. There’s that pendulum, swing swing swing!

I feel much better today, not coincidentally because he slept last night. But I have a feeling this is just the first of many times where I’ll end up having to decide who needs me more, and then second, third, and fourth guess myself.

Tell me it gets easier, please! And yes, it’s ok to lie!

Veggies With A Steaming Side Of Guilt

I’ve been looking forward to today – my first shot at making baby food! I spent a lot of time reading about techniques and what fruits and veggies to start with – although holy crap people, enough with the “You MUST do it like this or your baby will DIE!” dramatics! I’m preeeeeetttty sure that our species managed to survive without the aid of a Baby Bullet or even, gasp, an app that tells you the perfect developmental time to introduce sweet potatoes so your kid can make it to the head of his class at Harvard.

Anyway, in my head, today would go something like this: Paul and I would take PJ to the farmers’ market and take his picture with some pumpkins, and then come home with our delicious, locally grown veggies, which I would puree and freeze into perfectly portioned cubes of delicious mush while PJ happily bounced and played with his toys.

Yeah, not working out like that. On Thursday, I woke up with a nasty stomach bug. And the only thing less restful than staying home with an illness that has you running for the bathroom frequently, is having that same illness with an infant, who of course needs just as much love and attention as if Mommy is feeling terrific. So not fun. And just when I’m feeling better, and looking forward to baby food day, PJ wakes up with the bug this morning.

So no pumpkin pictures, and our first batch of baby food veggies came from the produce aisle at Walmart instead of the farmers’ market, and I feel terribly guilty. Guilty for getting my baby sick, guilty that I have to put him down to manage the steamer, and guilty that I don’t eat enough of these veggies myself. I eat a lot of fruit, but am very picky about veggies. I guess now is the time to get better about that, but I still feel bad that I haven’t already.

So I guess I’ll be spending most of today cuddling little man and wishing I could make it better!

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Mommy, me and Bear feels yucky in our bellies 😦