Toward the end of my three-month maternity leave I must admit that I was excited that I had gotten a call from my manager asking me to participate on a conference call for a project I’d be on when I got back to work. “They still need me!” I thought and beamed with pride at the request.
I planned it all out. I’d put my son down for a nap about 15 minutes before to make sure he was in full on snooze. His room was next to the home office and I could close the door so he wouldn’t be disturbed. It’d be perfect and I was about to prove to myself that I could do it ALL!
The plan was working masterfully. He went down to sleep like a champ and I was dialed into the conference line early and waiting for it to start. I was about to show them that I was back in business. Once again I was shown who was really in control – my 3 month old.
With about 15 minutes left in the call he started to wail right in the middle of the juicy part where we were outlining the agreed upon next steps. Immediately my mommy instinct kicked in and my thoughts quickly moved to “Must help child. End call now. Run to crib.” But, I already knew his cries and I knew he wasn’t in danger so I composed myself and without a hitch wrapped up the call with poise and grace.
Then I ran to his crib and cried, and cried and cried. I felt like a total poop-bag. This was the first time I chose work over child and it didn’t feel good. I wasn’t a good mother and I wasn’t a good employee. Let the guilt begin.
Fast forward seven years. There have been tons of guilt-filled moments. But more often, there are moments of pure joy that my son is in my life and that he wants me as a part of his. He doesn’t want me to waste time feeling guilty, he just wants to spend time with him, enjoying the moments we do have.
So, shake off that guilt because working and mothering don’t always mix but there’s always enough love to make up for it.