Fear & Loathing Through Parenthood, Part 3: Separation, Time, and Watching your Baby Grow

This one gets a little philosophical, but a nice refresher to never doubt yourself as a mom. Ever.

As a parent, or soon-to-be, you’ll receive lots of advice and opinions you didn’t ask for. Sometimes all you can do is just smile and nod.

On Being a Working Mom, Stay at Home, Part-Time, Full-Time – whatever you choose is the right decision.

The other day a coworker was asking me about my daughter. We briefly chatted about mom stuff. She, reminiscing about her son who is now 20. I mentioned it’s really hard for me to be working but I also know personally it’s best for me and my family. So she went on to say she’d never give up being at home the early years for anything, even if she had to do it all over again. I felt like shit. Distraught. Her words hit me in the face like a glass of ice water. A wave of crippling self doubt overcame me. At that moment all I could envision was my daughter in a room full of other kids at day care versus home in my arms and under my guidance. I thought about her looking around the daycare room. Maybe wondering where I was, or my husband. Those moments are tricky and deceiving. If you think a little more calmly you see her in a room designed to help stimulate her growth, with a bunch of other babes her age, learning together and keeping one another company. They play kid music, sing kids songs, teach them activities to advance their cognitive abilities (or so they say), and prepare toddler-esque meals. I’m maybe doing half of one of those things at home. I’m more or less making toast once every few weeks and teaching my daughter about Metallica.

I googled some inspirational quotes about working moms and came across these ones. I then welled up a few more times and emailed my mom to let her know I was having a moment. Thankfully her mom/spidey-senses must have been on high alert. She not only responded back right away but she said everything I needed to hear. “You didn’t work as hard as you did with school and your career to let it all go. You’re doing the best thing for Ruby because you’re working to provide her with a great life.” Thanks again, mom.

Then, I shook it off and assured myself I was doing the right thing. If anyone’s been following along, I had literally just started this new position at work. It was day two of my new job. It was a huge career move for me so to hear Linda say all that about staying at home sent me down a spiral of confusion. There is no amount of preparation for the gamut of things you don’t realize make up being a mom. So many conflicting emotions. All you can do is take them as they come and keep your head up. I proceeded to have a wonderful day and before I left I felt good about all that’s to come.

I have a friend with four kids who bartenders a few shifts a month to keep her sanity and know other moms who are full time at home, and a hodgepodge of schedules in between. At the end of the day whatever works best for you and your family is the right decision. Period. Anyone else that has something to say can shove it!

For the moments you get upset about your growing baby and the passing of time:

I read something that set me straight for every time I find myself getting upset or misty eyed about my baby’s milestones and growth spurts. Take a second to think about all the parents who have missed out on the things you are getting sad over. All the parents with children who’ve passed on, or are in some type of physical condition where they’ll never be able to do the things your child is doing. All the people who can’t even have kids…it puts EVERYTHING into perspective. You have kids to help them grow and watch them discover the world. I know it’s bittersweet to see them get bigger and be out in the world, but if you ever need reassurance or someone to help put life into perspective call your parents! Imagine what they must be feeling now having watched their babies grow and have kids of their own.

At the end of the day time has been going at exactly the same rate and pace since the concept of time was created. Your child is growing just as fast as you did. By reminiscing too much you’re constantly reminding yourself of the fleeting paradox of time. There’s never enough but always too much. Life happens either way. You can enjoy it and savor the good moments to the fullest or you can constantly fret over what’s being lost. If you do that though not only are you losing on the present you’re losing out on the future. You’re in the midst of your life too, never forget that. Go for the girls night, set up a date with your partner for some one on one time, take those moments for yourself when you can and need. Your kids need parents who have full and happy lives themselves.

What is your baby situation? Do you work? Are you home full time? Do you do one and wish you did the other? Chime in below with any of your thoughts and share with us, I love learning what makes other people tick!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more to come from high, momma.