Everyday that I say goodbye to my daughter and leave for work, I leave a piece of my heart behind. This is a little story about my feelings on being a working mother.
Our bond is so much stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced before. I don’t even know when it started, maybe it was the day I found out I was expecting a baby. I was elated; my dream from a very young age was to be a mummy. It was overwhelming to know that this was finally on its way to becoming a reality.
Fast forward nine months on, to when my daughter was born. The bond between us was so strong right from the very moment she came out of me and was cocooned on my chest. We were inseparable from that point onwards although it’s fair to say that it wasn’t always by choice. She had to be by me at every moment, in my embrace, asleep or wide awake, whether I wanted to or not. I perfected the art of eating, going to the loo, and doing chores while holding her.
There was a short period during my maternity leave when I felt slightly suffocated and overwhelmed. I didn’t have a lot of family or friends around me and longed to be alone for short periods, to be able to take deep breaths and remember that I wasn’t just a mummy, I was me, and I needed to give myself some attention to stay sane amidst the new life I was now submerged in.
Time flew by and as a result of buying a house riddled with cleverly hidden problems now visible and no longer possible to ignore, my husband and I could no longer afford for me to not work. Seven months of maternity leave suddenly felt squeezed into what more felt like seven days and I panicked wondering how I would cope. I spent the first week back in work crying in the lady’s toilet, missing my baby. I would express milk for her but she wouldn’t always take it. She much preferred to be breastfed in order to be close to her mummy. She’d have hunger strikes during in the day anticipation of my return. Tiny pieces of my heart broke away with each day but over several months things slowly became more and more bearable. We both started to come to terms with things a little more and treasured our time together at the end of each day.
At nearly 2 years old now, my daughter is such a blessing to mine and my husband’s lives. She’s our little piece of heaven. It’s still difficult for me to say goodbye each morning and I wonder sometimes how she feels about me leaving her all the time, whether it hurts her or it’s enough to know I always come back.
If she minded and could express this to me, I would tell her I never want to go to work and leave her; I always want to stay, watch her play, laugh, even cry. I wonder how she’s doing every single day while I’m away. I know she’s well looked after by her loving grandparents but I feel as though I’ve negated my responsibilities as a mother by leaving her for up to 10 hours of every active, happy, playful day.
Now in truth it’s important to note I also feel that it’s right to provide for the needs of my family by working and earning an income. I am securing my daughter’s future by providing for all her needs now and in the future.
I tell myself she’ll thank me for all this when she’s grown up; she’ll see her mother also as her role model.
But it still hurts, every…single….day. I miss her smile, her frown, her giggle and even her groans.
She’s made me feel that God placed me on this Earth especially to love her. Who knows whether the pain and guilt will ever subside.
I just do the best I can each and every day and hope that am doing what’s best for her and my husband, and that she will be grateful for it when she comes to the point where she has to make similar decisions in her adult life.