The other day a friend asked me for ‘mom advice.’ Basically, what would you tell a first-time soon to be mom? My advice was to set your expectations low, at least when you have an infant.
It seems I could stand to take my own advice, at least sometimes. My husband stayed home with my son yesterday because he was sick. Since he was still sick today, I stayed home with him (we trade off when we can, so neither of us takes too many sick days). But both days, I spent a good amount of time beating myself up. Yesterday, I was frustrated with myself for going to work, despite knowing my son might be sick and unable to go to school. After all, I thought (going into mommy guilt mode), should be there for my son, even if it was my husband’s turn to stay home. Today, I was worried that I was missing something at work and even attempted to work from home. I ended up canceling my afternoon meetings, as my son was fussy and needed to be held a lot.
I guess I really am my own worst enemy, holding myself to higher standards than I would expect of others. Even though I would not hold it against others when they have to be home with a sick child, I secretly think my coworkers see me differently because of this. I still struggle with the need to prove I am a committed employee, even though I know my priority is, and always will be, my child. I often have to remind myself that most of my coworkers once had small children themselves.
But sometimes, shouldn’t I allow myself a day of those lower expectations? Shouldn’t we all? Unless I am actually deathly ill myself, I seldom give myself that amount of grace. I am either trying to do everything I can to still feel productive, or I am internally scolding myself for my lack of productivity. But you know what, today I got one load of laundry done. And I held my son while he napped. And that was enough. I didn’t (or shouldn’t have) need to do more in order to feel good about myself. Or in order to feel worthy of missing the day of work. I was with my son while he wasn’t feeling well, and that was exactly where I needed to be. I just need to remember to tell myself that… After all, if I am always mentally somewhere else, I’ll miss out on some pretty special moments with my son. Cuddling with him at nap time may not lead to much ‘productivity,’ but he won’t always be small enough to nap in my arms. I might as well enjoy it while it lasts.
When could you stand to go easier on yourself? Any tips on how to actually do that? (I know I’d appreciate the input!)
This post is linked up at 100 Happy Days Link Party.