Much to my Jewish mother’s chagrin, I’ve never really done guilt well. I think I just don’t have the guilt gene. Much has been written about Mom Guilt, but I really have to say, I don’t suffer from it. I hear about it so much, that I occasionally wonder if I should be feeling it. But generally, I think it’s a waste of energy. As a single, working mom, my energy is a precious commodity.
Of course I want to be the best mom I can be. To me, that means not driving myself into the ground to do so. I truly believe happy mom equals happy baby.
I don’t feel guilty for not exclusively breastfeeding. Sunshine is 7 1/2 months old, and I am still nursing. But she has been getting formula in addition to mommy milk for quite a while. I pumped for a couple of months at work. It was awful. I don’t have an office where I can close the door, so I was pumping in an overheated utility room. I was stressed about the time it took (I never got the hang of double pumping), and getting my work done. All that stress meant I often didn’t produce much milk. So I gradually cut back on the amount of time I pumped, then the number of times per day, until my supply adjusted so I could go through the work day without pumping and nurse Sunshine at home. She has never had any problem going back and forth between boob and bottle. She’s very healthy, so what is there to be guilty about. (BTW, I also use “generic” formula and disposable diapers without guilt. Target rocks.)
We live in an apartment without a washer and dryer. The washer and dryer are in the basement. I have to go out of the building and around to the back for the basement door. Did I mention I work full time? So no guilt for me about disposables. (FYI, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Target brand diapers. They provide better coverage than the name brand ones, and are half the price.)
I miss my daughter like crazy when I’m at work, but I have no guilt about daycare. I looked into other childcare options, and am very happy with her daycare. As a single mother by choice, I am obviously the sole source of income for our family. In this economy, I’m lucky to have a good job with excellent benefits. Sunshine has been in daycare since she was 13 weeks old. She has gotten exactly ONE cold. She caught it when she was 5 months old, and knocked it out in 4 days. She was a trooper. I caught it from her, and felt like crap for a week and a half. I love that I can put her down of the floor of the infant room at her daycare and she can safely roll and scoot all over. I can’t say that about our apartment. They have loads of toys, they read books and listen to music, and in nice weather they go out to their private playground. Sunshine has no stranger anxiety at all. She’s curious about everyone, but when she sees someone she recognizes, she lights up. Big smiles and laughter. I think she also enjoys the other kids at daycare. She’s a social one, my girl. The staff has also succumbed to her charm. Last Friday, when I picked her up and was about to put her in the stroller, the pre-school teacher came over and asked if she could hold her for a minute. She often helps out in the infant room, and said, “I haven’t had any time with her for the last few days. I’ve missed her.” Why should I feel guilty about more people loving her?
I recently read a post on a message board by a mom who was feeling guilty about getting rid of some of her kid’s toys, as the child had so many. Oh, please … give a kid a pot and a wooden spoon. Some paper and crayons. More stuff does not equal a better childhood. When I was pregnant, a few people asked me about the nursery. What nursery? It’s a one bedroom apartment! It’s tight, but we’re fine. We will soon be moving to a bigger apartment. It will be great for us. But Sunshine will probably continue to sleep with me for a while. Yes, we cosleep. Without guilt, of course.
Then there are the big issues. Donor conceived and no daddy. Oh yeah, and older mom. We’ll just have to deal with these things as they come up. No matter how families are formed, there’s always something. Feeling guilty about these things will not make them easier. I think it would make them harder. Children sense their parent’s feelings. I hope that since I am more than okay with how our family came about, I’m proud of it, that she’ll be proud, too.
People constantly comment about how much she smiles and laughs. I figure I must be doing something right.