More Snow Days…More Mom Guilt

We’ve had another monster snowfall in Derby City, and, of course, more days off of work because of road conditions.  For me, that meant some extra time to get some work done, as I’m working toward a national certification in my field over the next three years, but it also meant some extra time with my little man at home.

Snow days home with my kiddo are tough for me, partly because of the fact that snow days mean bad roads, which means I can’t go anywhere but the living room.  My little guy requires so much stimulation and attention, and it is really difficult for me to keep up with what he needs.  It’s exhausting.  I don’t even try to replicate the stimulation that his day care can give him, and it’s still exhausting and overwhelming.  I can only read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” so many times before I feel like a crazy person.

The other reason snow days are tough for me at home with the little man is because this time of year is hard for me in general.  The lack of sunlight and vitamin D really takes a toll on my mental health.  I struggle with depression this time of year every year, and the pressure that I feel to entertain and educate my son makes that worse.  Or, the depression makes that pressure worse.  It’s a chicken-egg situation.

During these snow days, my husband and I discussed what we were going to do with little man during the summer.  Our daycare will allow us to take him out completely for the summer and keep a spot for him once school starts back up in the fall, which is an amazing perk. It’s part of the reason we chose our daycare. But these snow days have been really hard for me and have made me more aware of how much preparation I need to make for our summer together.  I don’t want him to be behind in the skills the daycare teaches, so I’m trying to plan out what I can do to educate him.  At the same time, I recognize the benefits of the social aspect of daycare.  He really thrives at his school with the other kids, and playdates here and there over the summer aren’t going to replace that.

We’re seriously considering keeping him in daycare part time during the summer, and I feel incredibly guilty about that.  It makes me feel inadequate.  Even though I know that I can’t do what his daycare does for him, and I know that he thrives so much in daycare, it makes me feel bad that I can’t do what his daycare does for him.  I feel bad that I can’t teach him what they can teach him.  I feel bad that I can’t replicate the socialization. I feel selfish sending my little guy to daycare twice a week when I’m off of work.  It makes me feel like I’m pawning him off for other people to take care of so I can be alone, even though that has never been part of our reasoning.

I’m trying to keep in mind that daycare is really, really good for him.  I’m trying to be realistic about what I can do for him and what I can’t do for him.  I really believe that keeping him in daycare part time during the summer is the best thing for him.  My husband is completely supportive about keeping him there part-time. And yet, I still feel incredibly guilty about it.

I don’t know what it is about snow days that stir up all the mom guilt in me. Well, yes, I do.  It’s because my little man is so busy.  He’s ridiculously energetic, and he’s teething, and he requires a lot of stimulation.  And I’m tired.  I’m struggling with my depression.  It’s hard for me to keep up with him.  It’s hard to pretend to have the energy required to keep him entertained and stimulated.  At the end of the day, I’m exhausted.  It’s affecting my moods and my ability to do other responsibilities.  And that makes me feel terrible.  If I don’t enjoy my son all of the time, especially on days when I get extra time with him and get to snuggle with him and play with him, something that other moms would kill for, I feel guilty.  It makes me feel like I’m not being a good mom.

But I love my son.  He is cared for and nurtured and loved.  He is healthy and growing and thriving.  I’m trying to remind myself that if my mental health isn’t prioritized in addition to prioritizing him, then I’m not as good as a mom.  It’s not about perfection.

Stay tuned for what I’m sure will be more mom guilt musings.  Hopefully it will be a while.

Snow Days and Mom Guilt

The weather here in Derby City has been wintry to say the least! We have had about a foot of snow and crazy cold temperatures, which means that schools and businesses have been closed for a few days. I’ve been able to stay home with L so far this week, and it has been so fun to not wake up to an alarm and be lazy and play with L.

But I have to say, I am not built to be a stay-at-home mom. Oh my word, being cooped up in the house with a toddler is tough! I do my best, but I can’t stimulate him as much as his daycare does. He has been going through some attachment issues with me, too, and I worry that this extra time at home will make that worse. But I love the extra time with him!

His daycare was open today, and I decided to take him in. He needed more stimulation, I wanted him to get back into his normal routine, and I needed some time to myself. And I feel so guilty about it. And I hate that I feel guilty.

“Mommy wars” about staying at home versus working have permeated our culture so much that I feel bad to take my son to a place that loves him, cares for him, teaches him, nurtures him, and provides socialization with other kids that I could never emulate in my house, even if I have the day off. They help him learn and grow in ways that I know I can’t. He loves his teachers and his friends at school. He has flourished in the toddler room. Why should I feel bad about that?

I think it’s because I care too much about what other people think. I worried that the daycare teachers would judge me for taking him in even though I was off work. I worried that my other working mom friends would judge me because they might be jealous that I chose to send my son to daycare today when they had to go to work. I worried that my family would judge me for not keeping at home to spend extra time with him. I even worried about any potential reader might think while reading this–see the last sentence of my second paragraph as proof. I added that during my editing process because I didn’t want to come across as if I don’t enjoy my son.

I’m still fairly new to this motherhood thing, but from what I hear, mom guilt doesn’t really go away. I just hope that as I grow as a mother and mature as a woman, I start to care less about what other people think and focus on what I know to be best for my family. For today, that means having my son in daycare while I spend some time alone and look forward to his smile when I go pick him up. Tomorrow, it may look different. Like, actually going to work and getting back into my routine. Hopefully.