Okay, the first title of my first post is harsh. But I have to be honest this is how I feel.
Friday morning I was enjoying my time at home with my daughter. I was embracing all of the things I don’t get to do with her throughout the week, mostly napping. In the background the quiet sound of the Today show caught my attention. Their guest was Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and the topic was praising the stay at home mom. I too praise the stay at home mom. You are amazing and you are patient and your are lucky. You have been afforded the choice to be at home with your child and you have chosen that path. You struggle with the trials and tribulations of being with your child 24/7. You are heroes and saints and your children are blessed.
I am not one of you.
When my maternity leave was coming to an end in January of 09, I began to panic. I couldn’t go back to work. I couldn’t leave my baby with strangers. Would she forget me? Would she love them more? Would she be damaged from being a DAY CARE baby? And then the day came. The moment really where I had to make the decision to be ok with it. I had NO choice, Dr. Laura. My husband and I barely bring home enough money to keep the bills paid. Groceries for us are often a luxury. I wasn’t afforded the choice to stay at home with my child. And that did not make me a bad parent. It me a realistic parent living in this world, in this economy in 2009.
The day I dropped her off at day care for the first time was hard. I was sad, and scared for her. I wanted her to feel safe and loved. And the crazy thing is….she did. She adjusted, she learned to love new faces. The people I entrusted with her care loved her and held her and provided all the things she needed throughout the day. And she smiled when I picked her up.
My daughter has been a DAY CARE baby for nearly 3 months now, and she is just fine. I am surviving too, and I’ll have to admit, I believe our time apart makes me a better mom. It makes me appreciate each moment we have together that much more. It makes each smile a little bit more special, and each cuddle a little bit longer. When I am home with her I forget all the things that “need” to be done and I cherish our moments together. That is what makes me a good parent.
Why did the Today show choose to show a segment about how much better stay at home moms are for their children on a day when it was likely that working moms would be at home? DO we need the added guilt? Was it a little slap on the hand for all of the working moms who made the wrong “choice”?
I have so many things that I could feel guilty about, but what would that change? I cannot choose to stay at home with my daughter. Not now and maybe not ever. But what I can do is choose to be ok with the situation, to be positive for her, and to be the best mom that I can be every hour of every day. She will definitely know she is loved.