New year. New goals. New mommy guilt.
I am sure that every mother has mommy guilt for one thing or another. Whether it's breastfeeding or bottle feeding, working or staying at home, giving in to tantrums or letting your child cry it out.
As a parent, there are so many decisions you have to make and so many choices. We exhaustively weigh each choice to determine which is the right one for our family, child, situation, time and so on and so forth. No matter which we choose, there's always a little bit of guilt in it.
My first experience with mommy guilt was at bedtime. After reading books, researching online parenting websites and talking with friends and our pediatrician, my husband and I decided the "cry it out" method was what we would use to get our son to go to sleep on his own.
The first, second and third nights I HATED hearing my son cry himself to sleep. Each night I would feel so guilty and question my decision. Eventually the crying stopped and our son got used to the bedtime routine and slept through the night. Today, I have no guilt in using that method at all. It worked for our family and our son sleeps like a champ. But, at first, mommy guilt was all I had.
My new instance of mommy guilt has come with daycare. My work schedule has changed and after 14 months of taking care of my son at home, he now goes to daycare. My husband and I searched all over the Triangle for the right daycare center for us. Our long and exhaustive search led us to a center we absolutely love and more importantly that our son loves.
Unfortunately, that doesn't make it any easier dropping him off or picking him up. Every day as I drive to work after dropping him off, I feel so guilty. Like I am letting him or my family down in some way. Rationally, I know I am not. I know that by going into work, I am fulfilling my own needs and goals and in turn fulfilling my family's.
Come on, if mama's not happy, no one is happy! My career fulfills one of the goals, needs, desires and passions in my life. But mommy guilt is anything but rational. So, in the 10-minute drive to the station, all of my irrational thoughts creep in. I'm not going to list them but I am sure you can guess at what they are.
I have no intentions of quitting my job so I have to get rid of the mommy guilt. But how do I do it? It's only been a few weeks and I know at some point it will subside, but right now, it's fresh.
Will it ever go away? Will I feel like this up until my now 16-month-old son goes to kindergarten? How do you deal with mommy guilt?
Kianey is the mom of one and a WRAL-TV morning news producer. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.