Our family is in a new season. This is a season of new routines, new habits, and new challenges. Having just moved back to the U.S. from South Korea, we find ourselves facing some degree of culture shock…some positive shocks and a few negative. On the positive side, we are loving the clean air in our lungs (sorry Seoul friends), the time with family and friends (on this side of the ocean), and the cheese aisle at Trader Joe’s. (This place is my personal oasis. I mean, I constantly look at things at this store and say to myself “I never knew I needed this until this very moment.” Habenero and lime flavored tortillas? Yes please.)
One of the new routines we are getting used to, slowly but surely, is me (Abby) going back to work. It’s only part-time, but it’s still an adjustment after being home with Jude for the past year. While I loved being home with my baby (I mean who doesn’t love watching a little human grow and start understanding this crazy, wonder-filled world), but I also really missed the interaction, creativity, and exchange that go along with being at work. As an arts educator, I always loved the challenge of developing ideas and finding ways to get students excited about them. As you might guess, it wasn’t exactly torture when I returned to teaching dance a few weeks ago.
So, why these feelings of guilt?
The way I got this dance teaching job was in itself a huge blessing and answer to prayer. Since I grew up in this area, I messaged my very first dance teacher, almost on a whim, to ask about potential subbing opportunities. This woman is amazing. Aside from the fact that she does she not seem to age, she is just full of love for her students, encouragement, and creative ideas for choreography and performance. She helped me fall in love with this beautiful art form back when I was about 8 years old. Back to our story…she messaged me back RIGHT AWAY and said that she couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw my message because she literally had a teacher tell her she was moving the day before and needed a teacher to start at the ballet school as soon as possible. !!! Holy smokes Batman! I know an open door when I see it.
Since then, it’s been so refreshing to get back into the studio. I get so much life from teaching. I love explaining new steps and dynamics of moving, but more than that I love getting to know students and understanding what drew them to this art form, who they are, and seeing them find their voice as a person and artist.
So, why do I find myself frequently pulled between feelings of excitement at doing something I love (and was made to enjoy and do!) and feelings of guilt over leaving my 1 year old at home?
Am I being the best mom I can be? Is that good enough? Are others judging me for working and not being with my son all day? Do they think I’m a bad mom? Am I a bad mom?
These are feelings we will (un)affectionately name “Mom Guilt.” I believe we are hardwired as moms to have these feelings. But here’s the thing: every family is different and every season is different. We happen to be in a season of me working outside the house more and Ross working from home more. This is not only okay, it’s an amazing opportunity for Ross to bond with Jude in a way he hasn’t had the opportunity to before while he has worked full time.
This is not just a season of Mom Guilt. It doesn’t have to be that. It won’t be that.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one out there who has experienced Mom Guilt. Moms out there: what are your experiences? I’m sure we experience Mom Guilt for other reasons as well, not just as working moms. What sets off your Mom Guilt?
Photo cred for all these fabulous photos of our little fam: Abby Stalsbroten!