After six years of being a SAHM, it was time for me to go back to work. I was so excited to get back. I thought that being home was turning me into a MOM-ster. Getting back to work would surely fix it.
It felt like I was living the same day, every day, for six years.
Breakfast, baths, school, cleaning, cooking, laundry, bedtime on repeat. I was getting burnt out. I wasn’t enjoying the time at home with my family on the weekends because that is the only place I ever was. Home.
The first week I started a full-time job was the first week the kids were sent home for virtual learning due to the pandemic. Our lives turned to complete chaos.
We decided to put our children into daycare, which was something I swore I would never do, hence being home for six years. But it was our only option. It was definitely an adjustment.
Earlier mornings, later nights, and still the same home workload as before with less time to get it all done. The MOM-ster was back.
I wanted to quit my job immediately. The mom guilt sank in. I felt guilty for sending them to daycare and selfish for wanting to be out of the house. I went from making hot meals three times a day to praying I got home before the sun went down and that there was something in the house that takes less than twenty minutes to make.
Let’s just say we ate a lot of spaghetti for the first few weeks.
Finding My Balance
After a few months, a lot of trial and error, tons of prayer, (and more coffee than I would like to admit), I found a balance.
I don’t think that I found a balance because we got into a better routine or found a better option than daycare. I think the balance came from realizing that, no matter what we do, we will always feel guilt as parents and that’s okay.
When we stay home with our babies, it’s inevitable we will feel guilty. I felt mom guilt for not contributing financially. I felt guilty for being so tired of mom duties that, when my husband came home, I had no energy to give him. Also, I felt guilty for not wanting to be home on the weekend because I spent my entire week home and my husband spent his entire week at work and wanted to be home. I felt guilty for snapping at my kids because I just needed five minutes of alone time.
Now, I feel mom guilt for not being the one to take them to school every day. I feel guilty for eating out more than we should because I just don’t have the time to cook. And I feel guilty for giving my kids cereal for breakfast. I feel guilty for hiring someone to clean my house once a month because when you work five to six days a week, you either have to choose to read a bedtime story or clean the bathroom. The story always wins.
Mom guilt is real and it’s perfectly normal. Whether you stay home or work full-time, none of it is ever easy. But it is always worth it. There is no perfect way to parent. And that is the beauty of it.
Originally published May 2021.
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