Working girl

August 30, 2011 by Carrie Cherry
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Guilty pleasure.

  I’m having a love-hate relationship with high heels right now. I love that I get to wear them again now that I’ve gone back to work.

  But I hate the guilt that those shoes bring – guilt about putting my daughter in someone else’s care while I’m toiling away for a paycheck.

  It’s the quintessential mommy dilemma: to work or not.

  I had been working in newspapers for several years before I got pregnant. And the plan was for me to go back to work part-time after my daughter was born. Five years later, I still get a sinking feeling when I think back on the last night of my maternity leave. I had just brought this tiny little human into the world and spent the last 12 weeks bonding with her, napping with her, snuggling with her, pacing the floor through the night with her. And just like that I had to hand her over to someone else.

  It was not one of my better times. I resented my husband for not being a millionaire so I didn’t have to work. I hated myself because I didn’t feel like I was being mother. I worried my sweet new baby would think I had abandoned her. I couldn’t focus at work and I seethed with jealousy when I saw stay-at-home moms out with their babies.

  Four years later, after the death of my husband and moving back home to Charleston, I took some time off. And oddly enough, the stay-at-home mom lifestyle wasn’t the one I had idealized. Maybe because I was doing it alone. Maybe because my daughter wasn’t a newborn anymore. I’m not sure of the reason, but there weren’t a lot of these “perfect” days I envisioned us having. Yes, we played a lot of Candyland and made Valentine heart necklaces and baked cookies. But we also kinda got on each other’s nerves. We needed our own time and space.

  And you know what else happened during my stay-at-home mom stint? I felt GUILTY then too. Guilty that I was wasting my college education. Guilty that I wasn’t teaching my daughter the value of hard work. Guilty that I was letting her think that money grew on trees. Guilty that I wasn’t setting a good example.

  It seems like no matter what we do, we can never escape mom guilt. If you happen to know how, let me know. I’ll buy you a cute pair of heels.

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6 Responses to “Working girl”

  1. Angi HyreNo Gravatar says:

    Oh my goodness! I swear you’ve jumped inside my heart and head and wrote my personal story! I struggle with the guilt every day as well. I love my career but I love my baby girl more. The one thing that has made me feel a little better…… baby girl has developed awesome social skills, has made many new friends, and she loves her classmates and teachers at her child development center. She hugs me each morning and says “I love you mommy! Go to your meeting!” There are hugs and smiles instead of tears (or at least not sad ones) now during the “drop-off”. The guilt is still there some days but it has lessened. I felt compelled to make a visit recently to apologize to an old college professor with whom I debated (well, maybe argued) about the idea that a woman can have it all being the ideal wife, perfect mother, accomplished career woman, best friend! I maintained yes and he said no! While I’ll still believe you can have it all, it’s not without some measure of guilt! You go girl! You can do this…….for both of you!

    Warm Wishes as you re-enter the suit and heels world!

    Angi Hyre

    • CarrieNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Angi! I think having a good daycare situation is key. My daughter was in one last year that she did not like and literally had to be peeled off of me each morning. It was terrible. She’s so happy at her preschool here. That lessens the guilt tremendously!

  2. MonicaNo Gravatar says:

    I think you should quit your job and give me those shoes. Any chance they are a 9?

  3. CaraNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with Monica! Those are super cute. I’ve decided it’s just a mom’s place to feel guilty about everything. It’s a miracle any child turns out to be a productive member of society.

  4. Kara MooreNo Gravatar says:

    Amen, sista friend. It’s a no-win situation. I felt like I couldn’t be happy at home OR at work, and I have friends who have described feeling the same way. I think once we move into preschool I’ll try to work again, but who knows.

  5. Therese CoxNo Gravatar says:

    The same guilt appears at retirement, but not exactly about kids. I feel I should be working but I sure enjoy playing!

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