I went back to work outside the home when my son was about 10 months old. While it was hard in a lot of ways -- missing kiddo, pumping at work, etc. -- it was easy in a lot of ways too. Make no mistake, working a typical desk job is a million times easier than being at home with an active baby or toddler. At work you get to have casual conversations with adults, periodically check email, go to the bathroom by yourself and even go out to lunch. Any stay-at-home mom will tell you those are rare luxuries. And going back to work was extra easy for me because childcare wasn't much of an issue -- I'm working part-time hours, my husband has a flexible schedule, we have grandmas and other family close by and a few mornings a week my son goes to a church preschool program we adore. Plus, on top of everything else, I really like my job.
So if things seem to have worked out so perfectly... Why do I feel so guilty?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately -- I'm really happy with the work/baby/life balance I've come up with -- and that makes me feel bad. What kind of self-loathing nonsense is that? I wish I was one of those moms who felt completely happy with staying at home. Before I had kiddo I thought I WAS one of those moms. But I'm just not. Now I have to come to terms with the fact that I really need outside stimulation and purpose beyond motherhood to make me feel like a fulfilled, whole person. I love everything about my son and (almost) everything about parenting, but I really enjoy talking to other grown-ups, working on projects, writing and being active in environmental, political and social justice causes. It's important to me. And I know I'm a better wife and mother when I'm happy and fulfilled.
The title of this post might not be 100% right. "More than Mommy" implies that just being mommy is some how less, and that's not how I feel at all. I just need to be a little "Mommy Plus" or "Addition to Mommy" to make me feel complete... but I'm a sucker for alliteration.