The guilt of trying to seem like I’m always there for them physically and emotionally when really, I’m not. Having to spend significantly lesser time with them and feeling it straight from them everyday – in the case of them hugging me tightly when the finally see me at the end of a work day and not wanting to let go – makes my heart sink. And on days when I’m exhausted from work that I doze off while feeding the kids or reading stories to them…only to wake up half hour later and see their disappointed faces that I slept through our supposedly quality time together? Those moments make me feel like a really bad mum.
– Natasha, 1 Mar 2016
There, I said it. The guilt that has been weighing on my shoulders since I started full time work a month ago. A friend had asked for a quote on the kind of mum guilt that I feel as a FT working mum during our conversation this morning, and the words just came out. My friend sent a virtual hug in response. I was obviously emotionally and physically spent. And as tempted as I was, it wasn’t like I could pack my bags and book the next flight out to somewhere for a me-time retreat.
When I made the decision to spend my weekday afternoons in the office instead of being at the park with the kids, I was all geared up towards being the multi-tasker mum that I’ve always thought I could be. You know, the one that could juggle and strike a good balance between family and work and life and friends. The one who read enough life hacks to apply at least half of them in her life. The one that hardly gets defeated by challenges and roadblocks. The one that has enough financial independence to plan whatever she wants for the kids without needing to seek approval. The one that knows her purpose. The one that continues to be close to her kids even if she’s around them less – okay at least I’ve got this one checked, thanks to pockets of quality time and physical affections.
But nothing could be further from the truth. I was nowhere near multi-tasker mum level. I even need my super helper’s assistance to get Liam ready for school every morning. And I’ve no idea how I’m going to manage prepare both boys for school when she goes for her well-deserved break. We’ll see.
So we had a rather exciting start to March today. It was Olliebear’s first day at preschool – still can’t believe that I’m sending him in at 17 months+ which is way earlier than Liam’s first day – and he seemed to managed okay despite a teary start. Even Liam started crying during drop-off. What amazed me further was the brothers trying to outdo each other in a crying symphony despite sitting next to each other! I thought the beauty of having a sibling in the school is that it makes you feel less alone!
Anyway, thought I’d also give a mention about our excited little boy who greeted me this morning at 6am, all eager to put on his shoes and (finally) bolt out of the house together with us! Tried to get a proper “first day of school” photo, but this was the only non-blurry shot of the lot. Not the best shot, but definitely one that I’ll remember for a long time!
It was also heartwarming to see how enamoured the K1 girls and boys were with Ollie at assembly this morning, stroking his arm and head gently and attempting to make him smile and laugh. Most of them were amazed at how soft his cheeks and skin were and kept asking if they could give him a hug. Don’t you love the social interactions preschools offer?
Here’s to more happy school days ahead Olliebear!