When my daughter was four months old, I began a new job. Because I’d been laid off shortly before delivering Annalyn and was scraping the bottom of the budget barrel, I was relieved and ready to start right away.
But first I had to find someone to take care of my tiny baby while I went to work.
Thankfully, we quickly found a babysitter who became an extended family member and made my transition to work seamless. But while I felt secure in my daughter’s care and was thankful to have a job, I still missed that sweet face during the day!
I know many of you feel called to be stay-at-home moms. I’ve had several friends share that when they worked, they felt guilty for spending so much time away from their family. And when you’re feeling that pull from home, but unable to leave your job – for financial reasons or otherwise – I can only imagine how frustrating it must be.
That wasn’t the case for me, though. I enjoy working and did not necessarily feel that staying home with my daughter was the right choice for our family. I’ll admit, though, that at that point it was an easy choice when faced with bills that well outweighed one salary.
Nevertheless, the tension I felt when I thought of my baby girl as I sat in my cubicle wasn’t borne of guilt or regret. It simply stemmed from missing her while we were apart.
To be honest, I’d forgotten about that time until my friend Sarah e-mailed me. She’d just returned to her job – that she loves – after her maternity leave, and she wanted to know how to deal with missing her baby. Since my days are currently filled with hour upon hour of in-my-face, on-my-lap, talking-without-ceasing quality time with my darling girl, it took me a moment to truly remember how it felt back then.
But I do remember. And even if you love your job, it’s HARD.
My way to cope was to fill my desk space with photos of Annalyn. Some framed, some taped, some on my computer screen – I surrounded myself with her little face. I also was fortunate enough to spend many lunch breaks with Annalyn and Mark, which really helped me. (And, I’ll be honest, thinking of how hard it was to listen to her cry during bouts of teething or time changes kind of took the edge off, too.)
It’s been a few months since my friend asked me about this, so she’s probably figured out her own coping mechanisms for making it through the day without baby snuggles. But I can’t imagine she’s the only person dealing with the issue of missing her kids while she’s at work. So will you help out and share your experience?
What helps you feel connected to your kids and avoid missing them (as much) while you’re at work?
This post will be linked to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.
I fall into the “longing to be a SAHM but have to work as the only adult with a full-time job” category. For me, the ache that is missing Lincoln and missing out on everything I could be doing with him is always present, but I’ve learned just to repress it. Because I really don’t have a choice about working, and that’s the way it is for now.
But I’m hopeful that in the future, when hubs goes FT, I’ll be able to be home with my boys. Although I know I’ll have to work PT, partly for $$ reasons and partly for my sanity, anything less than FT teaching+tutoring+GED at night will be an improvement!
I was working when I had my first born, and I still remember what a struggle that was at times, even though he’s almost 15. Putting up pictures helped enormously. I was also fortunate that my mil was able to watch my oldest the first year of his life so she kept me posted on his daily doings.
I do have one photo of each child on my desk at work…but what helps me is knowing they are in great care and having fun and that what I’m doing is providing good for them, setting a great example and even helping them with their coping skills. While my children were in the infant stage, I only worked part time and I pumped or actually drove to nurse them and this helped me feel connected even when we weren’t together.
Now I work full time, but still get to leave the office by 2pm most days and so I’m able to pick up from school and spend the afternoon/dinnertime in their company. Being a the same job for many years has earned me flexibility that makes it possible to ‘escape’ for reading time at school, cupcakes at Preschool and I do all I can to instill to them that I’m always available if they need me.
As a mother, I think we will always feel that “guilt” whether we are working outside the home or taking care of the business within our homes. What I’m still learning is that we aren’t taking from our children when we aren’t there for every minute as long as they know we are present for the time we do spend together. Isn’t being a mommy grand?
The most important thing to me is knowing that I have a wonderful boss who will allow me time off and a great co-worker who will cover for me to attend my kids functions. I too have pic’s of my boys all over my desk but to me there’s nothing better than having a great job, getting paid for it and being able to take time to be with my boys! If they have a filed trip, I’m there. If they have a doc appt, I can take them. They ask me everyday “Mommy can you come eat lunch with us” and although I can’t go everyday the times I do I ask my co-worker if she’d mind switching lunch hours with me; she always happy to do it. Whoo Hooo! That’s the great part of having a wonderful boss and a great co-workers who basically kicks me out of the office to attend my kids functions. She makes sure I don’t miss anything! It’s so important to be there for your kids while their young. They will always remember you were there for them and that means everthing to me. My parents where there for me and I know how happy that made me feel so I’m glad that my children can feel that same kind of happiness! I’m enjoying this now because they’re getting older and sooner than later “I’m sure” they’re not going to want mommy around as much-:-(. Time flys by so very fast and I’m so happy that I’m able to be a working mom who can spend time with her children!
Where do you work? I want to work there:) LOL!
I long to be a stay at home Mom, but am working because of bills and commitments. It is a definite struggle. My husband has taken short little videos of our son – laughing, crawling, chatting and I have them saved to my computer. When I’m having a bad day, feeling depressed, and missing my baby I watch him laugh and remember why I’m doing this. Why I’m at work.
I know it may not be possible for everyone, but I chose a daycare within walking distance of my work. When she was little, I could go nurse her at lunch; as she got a little older, I still went and visited and even brought her back to work if I were missing her insanely.
Also making the most of time at home helped. I rocked Libbie to sleep each night–which I know may be silly, but I needed that time. And we spent a lot of time playing every night and on the weekends.
I have a picture of the two of them on my IPOD, so when I check the time, I look at their picture. It’s my motivation!
I work just down the driveway from my house, so I feel like for “having” to work we have a *Most blessed* situation. God’s also blessed us with a babysitter/fairy godmother who takes care of me as much as the boys!
I don’t work away from home more than a couple hours a week usually, so that doesn’t really count, but when my son has stayed with his grandma for a week at a time I have definitely used your teething/tantrum tactic to remember the times I was longing for a little space and I also just appreciate being able to talk about my feelings.
As the “Sarah” from above, I certainly have adapted to being away from my little lady. I’ve learned to cherish our evening times together. It also helps that we have found a great daycare. It was a bit scary to leave my only offspring (can you tell I teach biology?) in the hands of a capable, but virtually unknown person’s hands. Luckily, my husband and I agree that we have lucked out with our daycare. While it is great to know she is in safe hands, she is nowhere near my work. That is the trade off though in her being less than a mile from our house. I’ve also learned to work harder at work so I have less to bring home on the weekends. I feel very blessed to have found a balance. I think that balance is different for every single mother. “We” need to stop judging others and wish them the best. It is nice to see all the advice of the above readers. It’s hard work to be a mom!
I’m so glad that you’re liking your daycare! It really makes a WORLD of difference!!
I came from the blog hop. You are an amazing woman!
lol I have 6 photos of my girls in my office and I was just thinking I needed a couple more. I miss my kids painfully when I’m not with them, mostly because I know there will be a time soon when they probably won’t want to spend time with me they way they do now (they’re aged 5 and 7) so I soak as much up while I can and try not to think about it when I can’t. My girls are my world. Don’t get me wrong, I have many other interests, hobbies and activities in my life, but I’d give any one of them up for a minute more with my little ladies.
I’m a new dad. First time. I went through a bad divorce in my early years. I wanted children then but it was best that I didn’t get what I wantd. Happily married and in mid 30s, I’m now a dad! This is day 2 back at work. Yesterday was one of the hardest days I can remember ever having. It got hader when I got home next to them both again. It was hard to enjoy our time because I knew it would end again. I did enjoy them … deeply. We all hung out until I fell asleep. Back at work again…. now…. but knowing I won’t be present during the weekdays of my baby girl’s life is crushing. Knowing my sweet wife is working her little heart out all on her own is hard for me to bare. She deserves more of me there. They both do. It is hard for me to even type this without tearing up. I miss my baby girl and momma — so much.
Your story made me tear up! I’ve been back to work for 3 months already. This week I’ve caught myself crying twice because I miss my 4 month old so much!! I wish I could bring her with me. I wish I could work from home. If I could I would love to be a SAHM and freelancing on the side :) I miss my baby so much right now! Cannot wait to get home and grab her for cuddles and kisses. :)
I’m a daddy. A good one. Little boy and my baby girl. I’m a welder who works on road better part of the year I grieve over my babies. I can’t watch their videos look at pictures I instantly cry. My son craves me to be with him he’s just as depressed. I need to be home for them. But I must provide.