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As a full-time Working Mom, I feel a lot of guilt.
I mean A LOT of guilt.
There are the days where I'm ecstatic to drop the Munchkins off at the YMCA in the mornings, a full hour before their day actually should have started, so I can make it to work in time to fix a pot of coffee before answering the first phone call. Those are the days I feel guilt about leaving them after I drop them off...when I'm settling in to my morning routine of five cups of coffee and two fistfuls of pretzel M&Ms while fielding calls from cranky clients at 8:05am
Then, there are the days where the Munchkins have been so sweet and cuddly and helpful and loving that I'm loathe to drop them off at all. Those are the days I give them embarrassingly long double hugs at the door to the YMCA in the mornings and feel the sharp stab of mom-guilt pricking me immediately...before I can even leave them.
And then? There are days like today.
Days where we only had four or so major meltdown in the mornings, and where we were all glad to see the backs of each others heads at 7:55am as we're dashing in four different directions. These days it's not until around 11:50am, when I finally get to take my first glance at the NY Times for the day and see a sweet, sad, depressing photo of a six-year-old Palestinian girl clutching her baby brother in her arms, that the momguilt sets in. And suddenly, out of nowhere, I am stabbed with the force of a thousand guilt-knives all at once.
I want my babies. There is such tragedy and sadness in the world, and today I have been selfish enough to wish for "...one morning! just one morning! is that too much to ask you three?!" of peace and quiet. And the guilt is almost suffocating.
Not only can I not stay home and spend every precious minute of my time with these little humans that I've created... Not only am I missing them developing each facet of their personality every day, but when I AM home, I'm doing it while cranky at least 50% of the time. And that's being generous, I think. Because I'm so completely and absolutely exhausted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that I can barely see straight, let alone happily raise three children, guilt-free.
And, at the heart of things I know that parenthood, much like any road in life, is comprised out of necessity of a lesser-of-two-evils sort of approach to the day-to-day. I know that if I was home with the kids I'd have mom-guilt, same as I do away from them. I know
that by 8:05 of these mornings I'd already be separating two of them for fighting and trying to fish some awkward Playskool toy out of the toilet, begging to go back to work just one day a week...
I know this, intellectually. But it makes my heart ache no less to know that I'm missing out.
No matter how you slice it, life's a trade off.
And a very large chunk of me will wonder, every day, for the rest of their lives, if I'm doing things the wrong way.
And I'm not sure how to make peace with that.
Not yet anyway.