It’s Monday morning. A chilly 28 degrees outside, and it’s been snowing and gloomy for days. Actually just a week—but that’s basically an eternity out here in Colorado for no sunshine. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling how I am today, but maybe it’s just a coincidence.
This morning started like any other Monday morning. Frantic. Rushed. Yelling “I’m turning off the TV if you don’t put your socks on immediately! We need to go!” Some days I dream of not having to try to hold our family to a routine that is rough for all of us. Of being that mom in the memes that hasn’t showered for three days and wears dirty yoga pants. Where putting a bra on means it’s been a good day. Some days I dream of what others complain about. And the funny thing is, I know that those moms dream of what I complain about. If that doesn’t prove how difficult motherhood is no matter how you do it, I don’t know what will.
I can manage the hectic mornings and the time away from this tiny person that I love dearly. But the one thing that never gets easier is the tear-filled drop-off. This morning Thea begged the entire ride to daycare to stay with me. She sobbed that she needed to just be held. She asked to wait for me in the car while I was at work. And when we finally got to Judy’s she clung to me for life, sobbing so hard her whole body was heaving. I had to peel her off me and leave. How completely unnatural is that?
I mean honestly, I’m leaving my kid to go respond to some emails and scroll through website data. Am I telling her that is more important than she is?
I’ve been taking Thea to Ms. Judy’s for four years now. Ms. Judy is amazing—but she’s not me. I spent years trying to become a mom. And for awhile there I didn’t think it would happen. I was willing to give up everything in my life to earn that title. And now that I have the highly valued title of Mom, I’m leaving her with a “stranger” for most of our time together.
In a recent podcast interview, I had someone ask me if I feel guilty when I complain about parenthood due to my infertility journey. I absolutely do! The other piece I feel guilty about is not spending every waking moment with her. Sharing memories. I missed her first steps. Judy says I didn’t, but that’s because she’s amazing. There’s no question they happened at her house instead of at home with me. I have to spend nine hours a day missing that glorious giggle.
On the mornings where Thea cries for me to not leave her we remind her that Mommy needs to go to work to help pay the bills. “Don’t you like our house? Don’t you want birthday gifts? Mommy needs to work to buy those.” As the breadwinner of our family, these things are all true. However, I feel like I need to start a new approach. Is this type of conversation with her promoting the idea that she should just get a job to make money in the future? That money and materialism are what matter?
I want to be able to tell her that Mommy has to work for Mommy. It makes me a better person to have this adult interaction and a separate sense of purpose.
I’m smart and valued in the business world. I love using my brain to manage important projects and be creative. While yes, it’s about the paycheck, it’s also about my sanity. I savor each and every moment with Thea due to my time at the office. I feel valued and fulfilled on both fronts. I get to show her how women can be total bosses in the business world and to strive to break that glass ceiling. That we can do it all if we want to.
So if I’m a little late to a meeting or you see that my eyes are a bit red when you bump into me at the water cooler, please be gentle. I’m struggling with juggling my “working mom guilt”. Sometimes different pieces of my life collide and I need a moment to gather myself. And if all else fails, I can always look at the text from Ms. Judy telling me Thea forgot all about me before I pulled out of the driveway. That, combined with remembering I can go to the bathroom all by myself at the office helps set the world right again.
This post originally appeared on Living the High Life. It has been reprinted with permission.