I was not sure how today would go for me.
Today is the first week where we increased my son’s weekly daycare visits from three to four days.
And it was a great decision.
But I wasn’t confident in that until now.
You see, it’s the end of the day and I’m really proud of my accomplishments. I went to a networking breakfast, checked off my to-do list, planned for the week, set up new sales meetings, caught up on emails and paid some bills.
While this was all happening, my son was in the care of others about 5 minutes down the street.
When it was time to pick him up, I felt ready for that transition. Now he could come home and my focus could be on him alone.
Instead of trying to push him in front of the TV so I could answer emails. Or take him to the park so my husband can get some work done. Or entertain him and the barking dog so both would just CALM DOWN.
It pushed me to frustration. I found myself short tempered. And at the end of the day the dreaded “mom guilt” crept in. I wasn’t happy with how I handled the day because it’s tough to run a business and coordinate finger painting at the same time.
Joey has only been in daycare since March. We managed to get help from family up until that point but when that stopped working as our best option we looked for an alternative. Daycare has been great for us. He loves the play time and friends and his teachers.
It was also three days in daycare versus the two days of family help. It felt like we’d hired a part-time person with the time we got back. And when we had Joey at home, that time was quality time, not rushed or pushed aside or please-let-me-multi-task time.
Then, we got busier.
Business has grown tremendously this year. We even hired a full-time person.
The workload was growing and Joey was yet again being served as many cream-filled cookies as he could hold and given the iPad to watch whatever really weird thing toddlers are into on YouTube these days.
It wasn’t working for us anymore.
I loved this idea of owning a business and having my kid home at the same time. Until it felt like I was living a pretend life where I was a working woman and a stay-at-home mom.
It was time to ask for help.
So, we decided to add an extra day.
I still love the idea of a three-day weekend (kind of, there’s still stuff to do), but one where Joey can have more of my attention and I don’t feel like the worst business owner putting off returned calls and emails.
Even with that in mind, I felt guilty up until the moment I dropped him off.
It hit me that the only reason I felt guilty was that I was afraid of what other people would think.
It wasn’t because I was worried about Joey or how he was doing in school or if he was feeling a change. I actually think we’ll all start to feel more balanced – all because I wasn’t afraid to admit I couldn’t keep up.
I’m pretty certain there is no perfect mom. There is no perfect parenting. There is no perfect way to do it.
Just as each one of us is different, so is each family.
We have to be OK with choosing our own way. We have to stand up for ourselves, our kids and our spouses and acknowledge that we can make sound decisions.
No matter what someone else may think of our choice, how they may do it differently, I have chosen a way that works for me and my family. And that feels really good today.
I’m sure it isn’t the last time I’ll feel mom guilt creep into my life but it also isn’t the last time that I look at the situation and realize that I can let that feeling go.
And now, excuse me, I have some quality family time to get to.