I finally fessed up. To my husband. To my Church group. To myself.
The guilt of a working mother.
The two things really helping me with the guilt right now
1. I know baby girl won’t remember these days.
2. Running. It keeps me on an endorphin high – my drug of choice.
Even still, the guilt lurks beneath the surface, rearing its hoary head anytime I take a moment for myself during her waking hours.
Stomach rumbling, I quickly whipped up Bacon & Onion Linguine (my favorite Lidia Bastianich recipe) and inhaled a bowl. “You shouldn’t be wasting time like this,” whispers my conscience. “You could be eating a peanut butter sandwich and get to her more quickly.”
I don’t even sit to eat. I burn my tongue as I inhale my supper. My eye is on the clock.
Now, a quick shower. After a long day of work, I stink and I need to clean up.
The guilt rises. “If you wouldn’t have wasted time with food, you wouldn’t feel so bad about taking the time for a shower.” The stress mounts as the clock ticks on.
By the time I reach my Mother-in-Love’s house to pick baby girl up, she’s asleep. She’s been asleep for 15 minutes. She had a tough time going down and had to be carried and rocked. The guilt is overwhelming. “See. I told you so. If you would’ve just sacrificed more, this wouldn’t have happened. YOU would’ve been the one there for her when she needed you. Someone else had to bear YOUR burden. So selfish.”
I purse my lips and try to ignore the sinking feeling in my heart. To get her home I have to wake her up and take her into the bitter cold, strap her into the car seat, listen to her poor little tired cries as I drive the short distance home, all while wishing this evening could’ve worked out differently. I had planned it differently. Sometimes our plans get derailed and the outcome simply sucks.
And sometimes something happens to turn it all back around.
I got home, and as I pulled into the garage, I thought baby girl must be asleep. She was quiet, so she must be asleep. As I crawled into the back seat, I was greeted by a big, toothy grin. The cries were long gone. And so was my guilt.
We played happily for nearly two hours, a rare evening to be sure. She crawled, she laughed, she squealed, she pulled up, tried to walk and talk. Amidst the joyous babbling, my heart swelled and my soul found contentment once again. She may not remember these days, oh, but I will. And when I do, warmth will fill my heart and the joy in my soul will be reflected in my smile.
The following morning, I was up at 4 am for a 6 mile run. It was an incredible run. I had absolutely zero knee pain and I felt on top of the world. I attributed it to an extra day of rest, but looking back… I think it was the joy of a baby’s laughter that carried me through those early morning miles.