Yesterday, for the first time in my parenting career, I left a sick kid to go to work. It was kind of a big deal for me.
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since a month before my oldest was born. He is now fourteen. My youngest is now twelve, and she was the sick one.
I’ve always taken my mothering gig seriously. I say that because I know there are some people out there who don’t. But I do. I always have. I’ve taken it so seriously that being a stay-at-home mom was a major priority for me.
But a few months ago I was offered a part-time position doing something I love. And after a bit of debate, I decided that my kids were old enough for me to branch out.
The first few weeks of working were hard for me. Even though I am only there a grand total of three hours each day, I felt so extremely guilty. I felt like I was doing everything that I didn’t want to do when it came to raising kids. In my mind, I was abandoning them. Never mind that I am married and their father is perfectly capable of providing care while I am away… I felt guilty.
But after a few weeks, the guilt faded. We all settled into the new normal and things have been going well. Then my daughter woke up sick.
She basically puked all. day. long.
It was gross.
I didn’t want to leave her. But I was expected at work and my husband came home and there was no excuse. I have a job now. So I went. And for three hours I worried. I worried about her throwing up again. I worried about my husband getting frustrated. I worried about my son and his anxiety going on overdrive with illness in the house. I worried more than I’ve worried in quite some time.
And when work ended, I went home.
And when I got home, I found a calm household. A husband that took care of things. A son that found a comfy spot on the couch and just chilled for the evening. And a daughter who had finally started feeling better.
And now I know what working mothers have been feeling for years. I’ve seen it from the other side. And I believe it has made me a better person.