How I Deal with Working Mom Guilt

Look at that face. That face says play with me, mama! That face also says let me sleep on you at all times because I may be a tad bit clingy. She is a very snuggly baby and let me tell you, I am here for all the snuggles requested. I’ve got a 24/7 snuggle hotline open and she has the number. But do you know what is very, very hard to do while snuggling a baby? Basically everything.

So here is our story of how we get anything done and how it almost broke my new mama heart in two.

Since both B and I work from home, we knew that we would need childcare eventually but honestly, it was a topic both he and I avoided. I think this was out of ignorance mostly (that sweet, sweet ignorance, oh how I miss thee) as we didn’t really know what it took to care for a newborn. There was a part of me that thought — truly thought — that I’d be able to work on KE, which is my very full-time job, and keep up with her with no issue, my very full-time baby.

Let’s take a moment to laugh quietly at my sweet innocence.

Ok. Feel free to stop laughing at any time.

You guys, I had NO idea what I was in for. Each stage that we come to is a new day and a new night, just as we figure her out she changes again. In theory, someone this small should not be able to command so much attention, right?? Wrong. She is our tiny elephant in the room at all times. And I’m not even talking about her needs — WE literally can’t leave her alone. We play, we coo, we swing, we dance, we talk, we laugh. Gemma basically has the cast of Sesame Street as her parents. And before I know it, its 6 pm and nothing got done.  No emails were answered, no content was created, no photos were edited. Let’s not even talk about that kitchen sink or that laundry pile that multiplied into 3 overnight.

But. But look at that sweet face!

I came to my senses around November of last year. I knew that there was no way that we could continue running KE as a business if I didn’t have the amount of time I had before. (Which I still don’t have but I’ve learned to be very fast and very efficient in what and how I do.) We had gone to Gemma’s three-month check-up and my pediatrician was talking about dropping her babies off at daycare. We were talking about working full time and how challenging it can be, trying to not feel guilty when you have to choose work over staying home with your baby. (My guilt felt multiplied since technically I am at home!) She mentioned how her kids went to the school just next door to her doctor office and that she could peak out and see them play on the playground and even just seeing them for a second made her feel okay to carry on with her day. Seeing them happy and playing reminded her that they were just fine!

I trust my pediatrician like a best friend, she’s amazing and so calm with everything about parenting. She calms my crazy new mom feels at every appointment. I was oddly encouraged when I saw this successful doctor running her practice had also struggled with the idea of someone else taking care of her little ones. It’s a hard choice when a computer and a long list of to-do’s are looking at you but your baby is looking at you too. That choice will always be my baby. But to get anything done, I knew I needed to find a secondary care for  Gemma, so we started looking at school’s we could place her in. She still felt too young at 3 months and as I was talking to my mom about this she mentioned that she could watch her for a few hours each day during the week. I immediately thought — why didn’t I think of this? She’s in our neighborhood and this was the perfect solution. I could go see Gemma at any time since I was just around the corner, everything she needed would be a call away.

The first day I dropped Gemma off at my mom’s house, I was a mess. It wasn’t like mascara running down my face kind of a mess, but just an anxious mess. I was just on very high alert. I am not kidding when I say that I texted her every 20-30 minutes. ‘Is she okay? What is she doing? Do I need to come back?” And this was with leaving her with my own mother, a person she has known literally since her first hours on Earth. I was this way for about 6 weeks, each day we would drop her off and my stomach would pit. Ya’ll this was my mom. A block away from me. I can not stress to you enough HOW CRAZY I WAS. I look back now not with regret but with admiration of how much I just wanted Gemma to be okay.

And you know what? She’s MORE than okay. Gemma thrives. She gets to play with new toys, she gets to talk to new people and see different faces. She is such a social baby that she just loves being with people and honestly, she gets bored a lot of times if we are at our house all day. Changing her scenery and giving her different things to see and play with has really helped her developmentally. She gets SO excited when she sees my mom now — she KNOWS its play time. And now I have full confidence in not only leaving her in secondary care but also in a more structured and educational environment when the time is right. And honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if that time comes sooner than later. This girl is social, moves like crazy and has energy for days.  And if finding her a place to thrive is the best for her, I can let my mama anxiety go. When you find someone or somewhere that you love and trust to take care of your baby, it’s the best feeling in the world. So as we begin to look for outside childcare facilities, it is comforting to know that there are places out that have value the importance of parental confidence and comfort.

At a facility like KinderCare, I would be able to leave Gemma knowing that she is on her schedule, getting lots of love and laughs, and being cared for by a dynamic teacher. KinderCare strives to build the confidence in children from the cradle to the classroom, but also confidence in parents to focus on their day and work ahead because their child is in the very best care. This commitment to families is shown through their 1400 centers nationwide as well as the robust network of experts for children. (PS: If you want more info about KinderCare, find it here!)

Gemma knows our morning routine now. She watches me get ready, we get her changed, and we pack her bottles in her backpack and whatever toy she’s decided she’d like to chew on that day. We get our bag together and if the weather permits, we take a quick stroll over to my mom’s house. I drop her off with no tears — from her or me — and in a few hours I pick her up, just as happy as I left her.

I know that eventually our time with my mom as her caretaker is limited, but this has really helped me ease into the idea of a part-time school or daycare for her when she’s a bit older. I no longer feel that guilt a lot of us working mama’s know all too well.

And just look — look at this happy face.

*Special thanks to KinderCare for collaborating on this post!

17 Notes

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  1. EvaNadine says:

    girl, you are NOT kidding that the MOMGUILT is real for leaving your kid with someone else so you can work. i only WISH my mother or MIL lived near enough to watch my son while i work.
    we were lucky enough to find an amazing day care that takes AMAZING care of my son, giving him both what he wants and what he needs. but MAN, is it expensive!
    i have often wondered if it would be better for me to quit my job + stay home with my son. i know many parents have chosen this option, but i know in my heart of hearts that i am not built to be a stay at home mom (whether working out of the home or not). so its all the MORE important to me that the place and people i choose to watch my son while i work take care of him as if he were their own!
    (but MAN, when we got our tax document for last year’s day care…who knew we could have afforded a second home all this time?!?)

    02.08.18 · Reply
    • Kendi Everyday says:

      It is SO expensive! Especially here in the metroplex (or wherever you are too, I know it’s no different!)

      Everything you said is how I feel! I’m kind of a half stay at home mom — which I never intended to be! And honestly, if I wasn’t full time with KE, I’d be in an office working. I think for me, I thrive best in a working environment and if that’s what’s best for me and my sanity, that’s what is best for our family. 🙂

      02.08.18 · Reply
  2. Tania says:

    what a cutie!! and the best-dressed baby around, no surprise.
    leaving your baby – especially after months of being with them all day every day – is so difficult. i felt like i was going to have an aneurysm the first days that i left luca in daycare. i missed him SO, SO badly. it is still hard because i feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day – i’m always in a rush! – and weekdays i never get to see or snuggle my bunny enough.
    but i also really love my work and honestly, i feel guilt-free when i’m at work because i’m thriving and succeeding and that’s important for my son to (one day) see. and i know he is also thriving in daycare. he’s developing so, so fast with other babies to play with and all these competent and kind adults whose actual job it is to take care of babies!!! they are so good with him, know so much about baby care, and are helping him develop his skills so much more quickly than i would. plus, i’m sure once we survive this cold season, he’ll have the best immune system ever, ha!
    i have come to feel not just that daycare is an okay solution for us, but that it is actually good for all of us, and a way better situation than one of us staying at home with him. i’m glad to have that peace of mind even if i run from the office every day at 5 to see him and count down the minutes until the weekend.
    thanks for sharing all of this so openly…it’s really nice to see and read and hear about your experiences!

    02.08.18 · Reply
    • Kendi Everyday says:

      It is SO difficult! And I only leave her for half to 3/4 of the day!

      Sweet Luca is just my favorite. We are planning on an arranged marriage, yes? I think that is my thing if I have to be honest, I don’t ever feel like I have enough time with her or to get work done.:/ But you said it exactly you are guilt-free at work because your baby is being loved on and cared for. I love that he is thriving with other babies, I wonder if Gemma would too!? ANd yep, those colds only make them babies stronger.

      02.08.18 · Reply
  3. Kim says:

    I can’t even imagine how hard it is to leave your baby – but I’m glad you’ve found a solution!

    Kim .. NYFW – what to expect!

    02.08.18 · Reply
  4. Andrea says:

    You’re so lucky to have your mom nearby! We don’t have any family locally that are free during the day, so we were forced to go the daycare route, starting at 4 months when my maternity leave was over. I cried a LOT that first week, every time I left the daycare parking lot. But it turns out, she loves daycare. Just like you said, she’s social and she loves the interactions and change of scenery. It’s harder on the mommy than the baby for sure. And while it would be so nice to be with her all day, it’s also nice to have money, so there’s that. 🙂 And my babe is 8 months now and still happy every time we walk into the daycare, so that helps my mama heart heal a little.

    02.08.18 · Reply
    • Kendi Everyday says:

      SO lucky! Don’t I know it! In fact, when they moved by us two years ago I wasn’t pregnant and 2 months later I turned up pregnant with Gemma! It passed through my mind that hey maybe if we had a kid she could help out, but I didn’t know it would be in this capacity! 🙂 I count my blessings daily.

      Gemma is SO social. I just know that a school or daycare is in her future. I have so many working momma friends that daycare and they say exactly what you say — they are happy, babies are happy. Can’t get much better than that 🙂

      02.08.18 · Reply
  5. J says:

    We also live far away from our family so couldn’t enjoy that benefit. We looked at different options for our baby, but daycare is ridiculously expensive where we leave and it was basically for half day. After looking at many options and praying a lot, we ended up finding an amazing lady that comes to our house 3 days a week. My husband works from home so he takes care of our baby once a week, and my company allowed me to work from home once a week. So we take turns when we’re both working from home. And I love the extra time I get with both hubby and baby.

    02.08.18 · Reply
  6. Teri says:

    Need to edit a bit: “down” should be done, “peak” should be peek…but its ok, being a mom is way more important! Love the sweet pics of your darling daughter.

    02.08.18 · Reply
    • Kendi Everyday says:

      Ughhhh I know!! I noticed that and then walked way from it :/ Thank you! I’ll update.

      02.09.18 · Reply
  7. Helen Parsons says:

    You’re just so lovely Kendi. I love reading your blog. I look forward to your candid, wise, funny, self-effacing words.
    Gives me hope after reading some of the other fashion blogs. Where most of time I just want to shout “get over yourself!!!” YOu are very very different. Thank you.

    02.09.18 · Reply
    • Kendi Everyday says:

      You are SO kind, Helen!! This made my day. 🙂

      02.09.18 · Reply
  8. What products are you using on your hair these days? it’s so shiny and gorgeous!

    02.09.18 · Reply
    • Kendi Everyday says:

      Hi! I need to do a post! I use Avalon Organics shampoo and it has been a game changer for my post-partum hair! It has a B-complex that makes my hair real shiny and full of volume! And I use a Davines Oi Oil, every single day on the ends 🙂

      02.09.18 · Reply
  9. Joy says:

    Thank you for being vulnerable with the world. It’s hard to be honest in a judgy world. You’re a good mom. You have a great blog. Keep up the good work!

    02.09.18 · Reply
  10. Amanda says:

    Leaving my baby was hard, but so great for my sanity! It was hard staying home during my maternity leave. She’s only 5 months old, but I also noticed how much she’s grown since going to daycare. It’s like she sees the older babies crawl and wants to be like them! My mom also watches her twice a week and I love seeing their bond grow!

    Thank you for being so open. It’s nice to hear I’m not alone in being so protective!

    02.12.18 · Reply
  11. Dee Durrant says:

    When I had my first daughter my mum looked after her while I went back to work part time. It helped me knowing I was leaving her with someone who loved her just as much as I did. Another fantastic bonus was seeing the relationship my daughter has with her Nan – they are so close, even now at aged 6 when she’s in full time school. I decided to stay at home with my second daughter and we do spend a lot of time with my mum but they don’t have the same closeness as my first daughter does.

    02.17.18 · Reply