More than anything, more than the financial challenges even, what I’m finding really hard to deal with as a single mom is the guilt. I feel guilty that I have to leave each morning to work. I feel guilty that I’m gone for most of the day. I feel guilty that somewhere between when she was born and now 8 months later, I have missed or failed to capture an important milestone in her life. Every time I come home in the evenings, when I look at her and she looks back at me with a huge smile on her face, I feel a pain in my heart because she is one day older but I only saw her in the beginning and towards the end of that day. I didn’t see her while she was discovering the world outside. I was not there to help her discover it.
It is painful. And I don’t really know how to make it easier. I want her to need me. But since I’m not around half of the time, I also want her to be independent. It’s a dilemma, this thing. But I have to do what I have to do.
I try to do things that would make the situation more bearable for me. Like on weekends, I spend all of my time with her. I take her everywhere with me if I can. We’re like a package deal. You get me, you get her. If you extend an invitation to me, you are inviting her as well. If I accept, she accepts. I talk to her all the time when we’re together, like she’s another grown up. I tell her I love her a lot. I hug and kiss her a lot. If I were rich, I’d probably buy her a lot of stuff, gifts, and treats. It’s a good thing I am not rich. She would have turned into one hell of a brat.
Sometimes I worry about leaving her with the nanny on a daily basis. A few months ago, I saw this video on Facebook showing what I thought was a nanny abusing and hurting her charge (later I found out she was actually the mother, that awful woman). That freaked me out. I imagined my baby going through the same ordeal. I wanted to go home right then and there. I even entertained the notion of putting up a hidden camera somewhere in the room so that I can spy on them or to make sure that the nanny was not hurting the baby. Of course, I would not have been able to afford that. It’s just one of those things I think of when I’m being paranoid.
But I also worry about the opposite happening. That the nanny is actually really good and my baby will love her more than she loves me. I know . It’s a horrible, horrible thing to think about but I do think of it. I cannot help it.
So there. I have revealed how much the guilt and paranoia is eating me up inside. How do other mommies deal with their own guilt?