I often get asked if I feel guilty for leaving Charlie and going back to work. Indeed, I see lots of blog posts from Mums who have gone back to work saying they feel guilty about leaving their baby. I don't actually feel guilt. I know that Charlie will be a rounded person and will benefit from having interaction with other children and adults from an early age (that's not to say if you're a SAHM that they won't be the same!). He has so much fun with the childminder; they go to Mums and Tots, Songs and Rhymes and he gets to play with the other children she looks after. So I don't feel guilty for leaving him. I did at first, but he had smiles for the childminder from the second day I took him there, so I know he enjoys going and I know he likes her and feels at ease.
I always knew, that when we planned a baby, I would always have to go back to work after six months, our finances just wouldn't be able to take it. We could have saved for years in order to ensure we had some money so that I could have extended my leave, but I knew that would have taken years. My hubby is diabetic, and older than me, and often diabetics can have problems conceiving, especially as they get older. So I didn't want to risk waiting much longer. And I didn't want to be an old mum! I wanted to be hip and trendy. Although, I can't say I am that hip and trendy anyway!
So what I do feel about leaving him is sadness. Sadness that I couldn't have had longer with him. Even nine months instead of six, or even until he was a year old. I think perhaps, a year would have been my goal if I could. It would have meant that I was there for important moments, like crawling and first steps etc. I feel sad that we don't get to enjoy things just the two of us anymore. When I was off, it was just him and me whilst hubby was at work and it was blissful; we did what we liked, when we liked. I miss those days and that's what I feel sadness for. I think, also, that as Charlie is getting older and starting to take a few steps and be more independent etc that I am missing him being so tiny and fragile and so utterly dependent on me for everything, particularly feeding. I know they have to grow up but I wish they wouldn't do it so fast! And of course, I miss him immensely. Like nothing I ever thought possible.
I also feel jealously. My instagram feed is cluttered with pictures of SAHMs doing lots of fun and interesting activities with their children. And for me, those pictures are limited to the weekend when I get to spend time with him. I'm jealous of all those mums who get to stay at home with their babies.
What I find ridiculous, is that women are made to feel guilty for leaving their children in the hands of someone else, but then they are ridiculed for being a stay at home mum. They are asked do they feel worthless now they don't have a job. It seems that there is no right answer, labelled whichever path we choose. I'm jealous of these women who stay at home with their children, but I certainly don't ridicule them, or moan about them or think they are worthless human beings. In fact, shouldn't they be praised?! They have given up their career to dedicate their life to another little person and surely that is the best job in the world?
I need to start remembering that I do like my job; it many ways it defines me. From being a small child I would pretend I was a teacher. I'd get my blackboard out and dress up in my Grandma's skirts and tell my teddies and dollies off for not listening. Teaching has been a part of me since I was so young. I need to remember that and focus on that when I am having a bad day and missing Charlie terribly. I am, for the most part, good at what I do. I am creative in terms of lesson planning, but seem to have lost it along the way.
So back to my original point, no I don't feel guilty for ensuring that I am providing for my child by working. But I do wish I could afford for it to be different.