When you’re a working mom you are doused almost daily with guilt. Guilt that you leave your child with someone so you can go to work. Guilt that you don’t spend enough time with your child. Guilt that you leave your child with a babysitter so you can have some adult time. Guilt that you set you child in front of the television for 30 minutes so you can make dinner. It pummels you from all corners and some days are so much worse than others. . .
The other day I had a heavy workload day and towards the end of the day I look up only to have an “oh shit” moment. It was 4:11, I need to shut down and haul butt out of the building. I usually leave work at 4 so I can pick up my child no later than 5pm. I leave hurriedly only to be reminded by the gauges on my car that I’m going to have to stop and get gas on my way between work and daycare. The whole way driving to pick my child up I am riddled with feelings of guilt. I don’t like leaving him at school any longer than I have to. I should have been paying better attention to the clock. Traffic just plain sucks the whole way and I finally wind up at his daycare about 5:15.
Already riddled with guilt I step into his classroom only to see his crying face through the glass door leading to the playground. My heart crumbles and I pick him up as soon as I make my way outside. I take inventory of the situation. Not even a handful of kids are outside and the teacher is not one of his normal teachers. She leaves her post talking to the other teacher from across playground gate separating the older kids from the younger to make sure I know he has been “fussy” for about the last 20 minutes or so (The time I normally would have picked him up by.) as she lets me back in the building. Another teacher is inside cleaning and lets me know she had been sitting outside with him holding him while he fussed until she was summoned away to begin her cleaning duties. This does not bring me any comfort.
My heart is heavy. I hug my child and carry him out to the car. We take our time getting in the car while. When I slide into the drivers seat I fight back tears and clear my throat to get rid of any sadness. I am angry that the teacher was just standing around chatting and not making an effort to comfort my child. I am so angry I wonder if this situation warrants an email to the director. . . I am also feeling guilty I left work late and picked him up late. I hate the barrage of feelings that are bombarding me from all directions.
We get home and cuddle and play and do a lot of his favorite crazy rambunctious things to take our mind off the roughness of the afternoon. My husband assures me that things like this will happen on occasion and I cannot let the feelings control me. Just enjoy the time we do have together instead. So we do. We squash away those feelings of guilt and flood our hearts instead with joy and togetherness.