Sunday, July 5, 2009

guilty as charged

the last few days have been on the emotional side. i have really grown to love Jack. Yes, you know, every mother "loves" their kiddo and I truly have loved my kid from the moment he showed up and was swaddled in my arms. I didn't have any specific attachment to him in the womb. I think it was almost like I had a parasite or an alien growing inside and then you give birth to it (ok, weird concept, I must say). But once he was out of my body and laying on my stomach, I loved him in a true, agape, unconditional love. 

The last few weeks have really been amazing. I have seen him roll over both back to belly and belly to back. I have seen him sit up unassisted for at least a little bit. I have heard his adorable little giggle and have learned how to exactly tickle his chin. He can roll his tongue to tell me he's excited and talk to me when he's playing. My heart aches when he cries and I want to do nothing else but take it away. I...am...totally attached to the little guy. I couldn't even begin to think of life before him. he is the absolute greatest little kid and I am getting to know him and his nuances. I never thought I could be attached to a kid before. But now I am, more than I knew possible. 

In this time of learning how to attach to a child, I have now understood the guilt a parent can feel when you can't give them "the best" (whatever that means) and feel like you are under performing. I have felt really guilty lately about working. I didn't feel that in the first 14 weeks. I enjoyed going back to work, getting a baby break, having 25 hours of solid adult interaction a week. Yes! But in the last 2 weeks, I have felt guilt. I love my kid. And I even like him! (imagine that!). And honestly, I don't want to leave him during the day. But I also feel a big source of fulfillment from work. I feel like a productive person who can contribute more than baby talk and dirty diaper changes. It's been this awkward tug of war in my heart. I love working and yet, I love my son. I love seeing his smile and gurgles. I love how he recognizes me and knows I am Mommy. I hold a special place in his life that no one else can fill. And I hate leaving it more now. It's been so weird. I just love him so much and hear in the back of my mind that as I work I miss out on bonding with him, I miss out on milestones and the guilt sets in. The guilt is enough to rob me of the joy I do find in work. I can't let this keep going and holding me back (not to mention we honestly can't afford for me not to work, even if I didn't find self-fulfillment in work :)).

But, even with me dealing with this false guilt, I think going back to work has made me realize how much I need to cherish the moments I have with him. When I am home, because of the time I am gone, I am present. I am engaged on where he is right now and not on the moments in the future that might be easier or more fun. I also want to bond and grow close to him. He's my baby and he does need me. And I need him. it's so ironic how afraid of the bonding process I was before J was born. But now I embrace it and love it. 

Anyway, all this to say, I have felt a lot of guilt lately, that I am not a good enough mother because I do not have the ability (or the interest) in staying at home full time. I'm trying to not listen to the destructive voice but it's hard. I'm trying to remember that God will redeem this and knows my heart and yet I ache. I don't know what this all means. I am trying to live out my calling as a mother and also as a pastoral figure. It's so weird to be in this juxtaposition. I just don't want to screw J up. 

But, in the meantime, I am going to go to sleep. In the end, at the end of the day, I long to be near my baby so for now, I will sleep my guilt away. 

3 comments:

Mamatoosi said...

It's OK to feel what you're feeling, but just know that little Jack isn't going to be messed up just 'cause you went to work! I had a really hard time leaving my job. I didn't want to leave it for the same reasons as you. I don't regret leaving now, but at the same time, you shouldn't regret working. Like you said, your time with him is that much more precious to you because you don't get to see him as often! Quality time is better than the AMOUNT of time, right? *HUGS*

kellyd said...

i am right there with you in the wanting to be with them and wanting to work. i have never wanted to be a stay at home mom, but putting them in daycare at this point would negate any job i could possibly get. so i pursued my graduate degree and now will pursue a credential next year when our last child (yes we are decided 2 is great!) is in preschool so that when they are both in primary school i will have a job that will fullfill me in so many ways that cleaning the house and doing laundry won't with no little ones home during the day.

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