This week I was hit hard with working mom guilt. My 4 year old son, Michael, was having difficulty at school and the first thing I did upon hearing the news from his teachers, was blame myself. Michael, who is a sweet, sometimes timid, playful, energetic, average 4 year old started “acting out” at school. At first I thought this is a phase and is something all 4 year olds go through. All kids are going to “test the water” at some point in their lives and I kept telling myself that my kid was doing just that; testing his teacher’s and my own limits.
For the most part, Michael has always behaved. The mother in me couldn’t let this go. Why now? What has changed? And then bingo, bring on the guilt! My going back to school at night equals less time with Mommy, which equals Michael “acting out” at school, which equals my fault. Hence, working mom guilt.
So what do I do? I actually contemplated dropping one of my courses, to spend more time at home with my son. After talking it over with my support system I decided not to. The best advice I was given was that everything I am doing is to better our future. If I quit, what message will I be sending to Michael? I’m not sure the answer to that question, however I do know the message I am sending by making this small sacrifice and staying in both my night courses.
I am instilling hard work and dedication. I am showing my son what it means to be a lifelong learner. I am showing him what it means to work hard for something you want. Why should I feel guilty about any of this? I should feel proud that I can teach my son, firsthand, the definitions of hardwork and determination. And that is what I am going to continue to do.
But, why do I still feel guilty!?! At the end of the day I know these things, but it doesn’t help me deal with the guilt. So what is the answer? How do I balance being a mom with being a teacher who is pursuing her education.
I don’t know the answer. All I know is that I am going to continue to talk with my child, teach my child, and make the most of our time spent together. So, cheers to another snow day! I’m looking forward to baking cookies, playing board games and being with my child. And when he is exhausted and needs a nap, that’s when I’ll worry about Tamara, the grad student.
Life is about finding that happy balance.