What do you do when your 3-year-old daughter doesn’t want you to go to work?
|A few days back as I was ready to walk out of the door, M came running to me saying she wants me to stay with her. Now, most mornings when I leave for work, M is asleep but that day she opened her eyes just in time to see that I was ready, about to leave. And she didn’t want any of it. She just wanted her mom. She just wanted me to stay at home with her so that she didn’t have to go to the daycare. So, she ran to me and started removing my scarf. At that moment, I felt so guilty that I cannot even begin to explain. At moments such as these, I always wonder if I’m doing the right thing by working even after becoming a mother. The working mom dilemma!|
You know she has been going to the daycare ever since she was 7 months old. 7 months! Of course, I know couples who have had to send their babies to the daycare when they were just 3-months-old. Let me tell you it’s not something parents love doing, this staying away from their babies but they have to. And I have huge respect for parents who manage everything on their own. I really do because I know how hard it is without having a family support system in the same city. But I also know that they too suffer from this guilt. Still, there is no other way, is there?
That day as M held on to me, I felt like the worst mother in the world. Of course, it’s a recurring feeling what with my lack of patience and M being at her mischievous best with me. But still, that day I wondered if I was being selfish trying to hold on to that part of myself which is just me while she spends time in a daycare. My head knows it is not wrong and that it is perhaps good for her in the long run. But the heart, it always has these moments of doubts which makes me confused.
I have seen her learn so many things being in the daycare, things I’m sure I couldn’t have taught her so soon myself. I have seen her happy in her daycare. I have seen her perform too. She has discovered this love for dance which makes me so happy. I’m not sure if she spent all her days at home that would have been possible so soon. So, I’d like to believe it has been good for her overall. Holding on to my job has been good for me as well. It gives me a sense of independence and also acts as a security blanket. Of course, I could do with a better workplace and better pay, but still, it has kept me sane in many ways. Well, as sane as I can manage to be. Still, each time she doesn’t want to go to the daycare or she cries when I leave for work, I’m back to square one reevaluating my decision.
So, even after 2 years of doing this thing of a working mom, I keep wondering if the tradeoff is worth it. There are days when it makes no sense at all. Then there are days when I realise I need to do this for myself and even for her in the long run. But yes when your 3-year-old hugs you like she’s not ready to leave you, all reason goes flying out of the window.
Maybe when she is older I can explain to her why I’m doing this. Till then I guess I need to try and make up for this lost time. I need to make less more like I keep saying to myself over and over again.
If you are a working mom, tell me how do you deal with this guilt? Does it ever reduce?