No one can deny that parenting is one of the toughest yet most exhilarating jobs in existence. Where else can you experience total blood-vessel popping anger, hair-pulling frustration, insomnia-causing agony, and yet heart-melting love? We would give our lives for our children, make sacrifices, reorganize everything to meet their needs, and yet we are still left wondering if it is enough. Should we stay home or work? Daycare or home care? Activities or family time? Where do we cross the line with discipline? How do we know we are doing a good job? No matter what we do, we face parental guilt. Are our choices the right ones? Could we have made better ones? Are we harming our children through the choices we’ve made?
All the hugs and kisses, pictures and snuggles cannot overcome this guilt. All it takes is one set of tears at a choice made and all the fears and doubts come flying back. Do you take a promotion even if it means putting your children back into daycare, which they do not want? I had to face this issue when I was forced to decide between a promotion that would put me back to full time or staying in my current less-than-full-time role. The promotion was what I was brought into the company to do, while if I stayed in my current role, I would have been training my new manager. To compound the issue, I had literally just negotiated the less-than-full-time schedule not six weeks earlier because of my issues with daycare. My kids cried and begged me not to accept the promotion but to decline the opportunity was to risk career suicide. Do you risk career suicide to keep your children out of daycare? Are you supposed to sacrifice your career for your children? When do we stop making sacrifices for our kids and start looking out for ourselves?
For each parent, the answers are different, and there is definitely no one-size-fits-all answer. I still question whether I made the right decision, especially in light of the new job description and some other political happenings at work. Sometimes, we’ll get it right and sometimes, we won’t. All we can do is make the choices that best fit everyone’s needs, try our best, and hope. In the end, that is the one element of parenting that never changes.
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I've always adopted that philosophy as well. I will be working long after the kids leave the house. Then again, I do know that the kids will be leaving the house soon enough, and I have been enjoying my extra time with them. I do hate to give that up, which I think is truly what is causing me so many problems.
I've always worked and never felt guilty about it, so I'm not quite certain what it is about this situation that has hit me so hard. I suspect it is in large part because six weeks prior to being offered the promotion, I successfully negotiated a shorter work week in order to be home when the kids get home from school. I've enjoyed the extra time with them, as well as the additional time available to get the kids to and from their various activities. I suspect that had the promotion been offered at any other time, my guilt would be significantly less.
Would definitely be difficult. I think you have to do what is right for you too though not just what is right for your kids. They might hate daycare now, but it's not like being in daycare ruins their lives. Kids are dramatic. They might look back and realize they loved it. I think career should come first, but then, I don't even want kids 🙂 And what Jenn says is true – promotion might be best overall down the road, and daycare is not exactly killing them!
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I, too, felt a great deal of guilt when I went back to work after having my boys. Of course they are going to tell you they want you to stay home & not go to daycare. But you have to look at it this way: taking this promotion is the best for your family overall, down the road. If you want to take it, take it. You may regret not doing so later.
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