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Is This Normal?

Ok. So I’m back from THE MEETING. It wasn’t exactly how I hoped it would be. But it wasn’t a flat-out no either. They had some concerns and objections which I think I answered and dealt with. Like what about the rest of the staff and my answer to that was well, if they’re in a position to take a cut in salary then they should also have proposed this for themselves. I’m not asking for reduced office hours on the same salary. The meeting ended with me thanking them for their time and hearing me out as well as thanking them for their support over the past 5 years, because as luck would have it, or should I say my attempt unleashing my powers of persuasion on them, it just so happens that this past Saturday was my 5 year anniversary since joining the company. I did want to throw that in there so its fresh in their minds when they do discuss this. My MD is going away for a couple of days, so they have agreed to brain storm the idea and meet with me late next week to finalize a solution we can all manage with. So now, here’s the part where I need to know if I’m completely and utterly insane! I got in my car and I cried the whole way home! I am so overcome with guilt on an almost constant basis since Ava was born. I seem to be beating myself up over something all of the time. I always heard that it’s a mothers lot in life to feel guilty but this seems extreme? Or perhaps its normal? Some of you will know that I am assisting from home while on maternity leave, and everyday when I sit at my desk and work, I feel overwhelmed with guilt. I hate that I’m paying somebody else to care for her, when I walk into the lounge and see her lying in Loveness’s arms, holding onto Loveness’s finger while Loveness gives her a bottle, its like somebody stabs me in the heart. When I work in the study and she lies in her pram or in her baby gym, talking to herself and playing with her baby gym toys or when she lies in her doughnut or sits in her swing and watches CBeeBies while I work, I can die on the inside from the guilt. It is so overwhelming. I feel like I’m failing as a mother, that I’m not doing enough. Shit! Fuck! Here come the tears again……….. But I do try to remind myself that she’s only 4 months old and what else is a 4 month old going to do? It’s not like she can get up and walk around or read a book. I mean, all a 4 month old does is eat, poop, sleep with a bit of interaction in between. So why why why do I feel so overwrought with guilt? Why do I feel like I’m failing this precious child so dismally? I better get a grip on myself because we’re off to the baby clinic this afternoon for weigh in’s and 16 week vaccinations!

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16 Comments

  • Reply kirstymac72

    Oh Shaz…. you will find the right balance, I promise. The over-riding emotion one feels as a mom is guilt! Even when it’s not our fault, we will feel guilty. Just wait until she’s mobile and has a fall… guess what? Even though there was nothing you could have done to prevent it, you’ll feel guilty about that fall. And every bump in the road from here on. And as the kids get bigger, the bumps in the road get bigger too…. **Deep breaths**
    Just keep on telling yourself that you are a better mom BECAUSE you work!! If I didn’t see my 5-6 patients a day, and had to indulge my kids all day…. I would kill them!!! But as it turns out, just a little bit of adult stimulation and intelligent conversation, is enough to make me treasure each moment I have with my little ones x
    Crossing fingers for a good outcome on the working hours x-x

    April 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm
  • Reply zamom

    I’m not the best person to comment as I just couldn’t bear to deal with the guilt and go back to work but the best medicine will be when she’s a little bit older and she reaches out to be in your arms as well as Loveness’s. Ava is beside herself with excitement when Joyce arrives every morning. I’m still #1 fortunately but Joyce is a very close 2nd (when dad is at work)and knowing that she’s 100% happy makes leaving them behind much easier. In no time at all she’ll be at play school and you’ll hopefully be able to fit most of your work into the time she’s not there and the guilt will be forgotten.

    April 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm
  • Reply wheresmybun

    I really hope they accept your proposal hon. I’m rooting for you and I’m sure the guilt feelings you feel are absolutely normal.

    April 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm
  • Reply thebsdiaries

    My friend your guilt does sound extreme – maybe you should talk to somebody. Maybe it’s ‘worse’ cos she’s adopted? But we all go through varying degrees of it. I do think eventually you all settle in, they stop seeming so helpless, and you realise that to have her as her own entity is a good and positive step too and letting her interact with others is a good thing. But this takes years of slowly letting go… guilt – like kirsty said – i remember the day my child at nine months fell off the bed in his nannies’ care and cracked his skull open. Guilt! But it could just as easily happened with me so we just minimise risks and take it one day at a time. Personally my work in an office keeps me sane. I have just turned down a job working from home cos it’s just not for me.

    April 8, 2010 at 2:21 pm
  • Reply thebinges

    Sharon, I can relate. I am very fortunate that I work from home, but I still have days where I have this horrible guilt for going “back” to work when J was 4 weeks old, about all the time I’ve missed out with him, about all the 1sts that his caregiver got to experience. It’s horrible! But, you will get to a point where the guilty days are far less and the 2 hours you get to spend with your little angel get better. I promise 😉

    Nix
    XXX

    April 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm
  • Reply zeud

    Sharon, I have a bit of a different perspective on this one forgive me if it is wrong…

    Firstly Ditto to all the other comments about guilt, you will always have that as a Mom, it’s like waves in a ocean, some will be bigger than the others, but they will always keep on coming.

    Now this is my take on it. (Apologies if I offend you)… You have this extreme feeling of guilt because:
    a) You have what other still so desperately want, and it makes you feel guilty for experiencing it. And subconsciously you still care about the opinions of infertiles, but you’ve seen the ugly remarks some of those infertiles made, which have given you an insight into their minds, so you desperately want to protect Ava, in case somebody thinks you not appreciating her enough.

    b) You have this need to prove to others that you can be a “normal/real” mother even though she is not from your own womb so you overcompensate – trust me you are more “normal/real” mother than most of the people I know out there with kids/babies!

    Just know that you are doing the best you can, and that is more than enough!

    April 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm
  • Reply marina1605

    Hi Sharon

    I had terrible PND after Claudio was born {I probably still have it, but I’m on AD’s so feel fab}. The thought of going back to work made me feel so much worse, but once I got back and was in the swing of things I started to feel better and realised that I too can not be a SAHM, and Claudio is better off with me being back at work because he now has a happier mom. I only get to spend 1-2 hours a day with my little boy and it’s so little, but I can’t tell you how excited I am to get home to him and to make the most of that time. We play a bit, I bath him and give him his bottle before putting him to sleep. It’s our special time together. Yes I feel guilty, but reality is I have to work and there is no option of flexi-time at the co. I work for, so there really is no other option for us.

    I know how you’re feeling right now, but I promise you that it won’t be as bad as you think it’s going to be. I hope the directors accept your proposal because half day is ideal, but if they don’t it’s not end of the world.

    Good luck!

    xxx

    April 8, 2010 at 4:12 pm
  • Reply Sharon

    Thanks for your comments girls! I really do appreciate the support and I’m loving having my blog be private so taht I can express these things to people I trust will respond in a loving manner.
    Diedre, you’re not offensive at all. I’ve often thought that a lot of my extreme feelings of guilt, of not being a good enough mother etc stem from the fact that my daughter is adopted. I never got 9 months to thinkt hese things through, I was thrown in the deep end, had a 6 day pregnancy so to speak. Not that one can ever fully prepare for parenthood but having the extra time to sort things out in ones mind must make it easier.
    I have spoken before like still feeling like a fraud because I never birthed my child, so part of me does feel like an imposter and I would imagine that certainly would feed into my guilt.
    And lastly, yes definitley when I see the terrible pain my IF sisters are still going through I feel so unbelievably guilty for my good fortune. I desperatley want to be supportive of them but I’m so afraid of coming across as smug. Mainly because so many times in the past when somebody tried to be supportive or encouraging of me my first thought would be: “Easy for you to say… you’ve got a baby” (charming I know. still going to write a posting about the delightful person I realize I was in the past 7 years) So I feel like I’m in aprecarious position, I don’t want to be smug and all knowing but do want to be supportive.
    So yes you’re 100% correct in what you’ve said and its in no way offensive to me!

    April 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm
  • Reply orbit365

    Guilt is unfortunately one of those 4letter words that goes with being a Mom. I think Zeud makes some really good points.
    I do hope that you find balance – it can take some time.
    I have been a Mom for nearly 10 years and I still struggle with it.
    All the best with the outcome of your proposal. Sounds like it is meant for you to be a part-time working Mom. You are sooooo lucky.xx

    Julia
    xx

    April 8, 2010 at 6:33 pm
  • Reply mozzie01

    I unfortunately can’t say much to make you feel better about the guilt thing because I am feeling it too…BUT, what I can say is that I know I need to work and that it makes me a better mother. I just need to work through the feelings of guilt!!! Easier said than done!!!
    Mwah!
    x x x x

    April 8, 2010 at 8:25 pm
  • Reply lollypie

    hi sharon
    Well done on even giving the proposal, many ladies out there think about it, but not many actually follow through! so GO YOU!! and at least they havent said “no”, so its still on the cards.
    Some may think Im mad, but i hear you! Jessie is now 3 months off 3years old, and the longest i have ever left he is 5 hours. and i cried the whole way to my friends 30th and just wanted to get back.
    I hate the the thought of missing anything! I have an awesome support system in my mom and brothers, and my kids adore them, but the “what-if’s” leave me feeling so guilty, that B and I have not done anything on our own since theyve arrived.

    I think its normal, or maybe its just normal to some of us. But she is yours, and its great that you have somebody that you can trust and that Ava trusts. so lets just pray that they accept your proposal.

    April 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm
  • Reply lea2109

    I think you feel more guilty because of how long you tried, and how suddenly it all fell into place, so it must feel that if you work and are not the one taking care of her then you are not being a mom. And as for the tears – could it be that you feel you are letting your company down as well? I find that the longer I think about something, the more “worked up” I get about it and then I sometimes end up crying because I anticipate how difficult the meeting might be.

    What I want to say is this:

    – It is better that Ava learns from a younger age to trust others too. From around 6 months onwards separation anxiety sets in (often big time), sometimes it takes a bit longer, but then it becomes harder for them to get used to somebody else also being there for them. Not impossible, but just harder and takes a bit longer. And when she goes to big school, she will know that she can trust others, that you love her just as much even if you are not there at that specific moment in time and she’ll have the confidence to know that you will come back.

    – You are a mom and you are most definitely not failing by also working.

    – Just because you are a mom does not mean that you can’t also do something for yourself. You love working and it is important for you. And having that adult interaction, challenges and feeling of satisfaction is also really important. If you take care of yourself also then you can be there more for Ava. She’s well taken care of by somebody you trust when you are not there. It is harder because you are working from home, but if you do manage to work at the office for the part-time hours it will be easier Sharon because you will do something you love and then go home to Ava and spend quality time with her.

    Hang in there. It is okay to want to work and be a mom at the same time. Both my kids have always been happy in care (okay they went to daycare – Bianca at 4 months old and Caitlyn at nearly 2 after being with an Au Pair since 7 months) but they absolutely love it and Bianca was so well prepared when she started big school.

    And finally – my mom always had to work and for most of it full time – I can tell you that it has never bothered me, we’ve always had a great relationship and I know she’s always done her very best for us. I’m sure Ava will feel the same way with you working.

    April 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm
  • Reply anynamesavailable

    yup to everything said above – guilt is there forever when youre a mom and shari youve waited so long for Ava to come into your life its natural that youd be feeling extreme guilt for leaving her – BUT she will reallly be ok. Its wonderful you can work from home and still have someone watch Ava – its flippen hard to work and look after a kid espescially when she starts crawling- I did it and nearly broke! Then I got the most amazing nanny for 2 months and it was such a great change- also cried a lot in the beginning that H loved Cindy more than me – haha. Its so awesome to have someone you trust with her. lots of love and strength to you you will find a good balance.

    April 9, 2010 at 12:30 am
  • Reply aussiekim

    Sharon I confess I could not go back to work when my only child was born and so we lived on one income. After so many miscarriages and waiting such a long time for our much longed for child I could not bring myself to go back to work and even thinking about it made me teary. Now in hindsight I wish I had returned to pt work. I do love the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” As long as your “village” aka family, special trusted friend/person has a vested interest in seeing to it that your child is well cared for (and Loveness sounds ideal) then I feel the balance that working will bring to your life will be good for your whole family unit. Don’t let guilt eat you up like it did with me at the time. I was my own harshest judge and had such high expectations of self, not wanting to miss a moment. Seriously though my nose would not have dropped off or the world would not have ended, nor would my child have loved me/valued me any less if I had returned to p/t work. I think feeling as you do at the moment is quite normal. We do need to stop being our own harshest judges/critics I feel – easier said than done though hey~!

    Hugs

    Kim
    xxx

    April 9, 2010 at 2:44 am
  • Reply Yvonne

    Hugs Shaz. I really, realy hope that they agree to your new working hours – am keeping everything crossed for you!!!

    I do think the guilt is normal – exacerbated by the fact that you had no pregnancy to prepare for this, and the fact that you’re not able to completely switch off and absorb yourself in your maternity leave.

    You’ll adjust, and so will Ava. The ladies above have also made loads of good points.

    April 9, 2010 at 8:13 am
  • Reply trishdg

    Oh Sharon so sorry that you are feeling this guilt. I have no advice on how to get rid of it as I feel it constantly since becoming a Mom.

    I have to confess that I feel incredible guilt that I don’t want to be a SAHM. I work until 2pm everyday which I also negotiated and took a salary cut for after my first was born and just recently my dh got a increase that covers my whole net income but I just don’t want to quit my job – I love it. I feel so so guilty and like a bad mother because shouldn’t I want to stay at home with the babies all day? but after a day spent with them I have no patience left and have become a screeching sobbing wreck. I feel like such a fraud but I need a small daily break from them and then in the afternoon I am so craving them that I inhale their baby goodness and relish every precious moment with them. I know this is best for us but I can’t stop the mom’s guilt!!!

    April 9, 2010 at 9:13 am
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