The desire to be the person who witnesses these firsts is hard when you're a working parent, because the truth is you won't always be there. Before I had my son, I read somewhere that even if you miss your child's first steps, when you see them next, it will still be your first time seeing it. I'm sure it was written more poetically than that, but you get the point.
It never really made me feel better to think about missing our son's "firsts" that way. I still remember picking him up from daycare one day when his caregivers proudly described to me how he took his first steps. And all I could think was, "his first steps, without me."
Enter the g word. Guilt. It's all around us as mothers, as parents, and I find especially for working Moms who are not with their children during the early years. Even when you love your job and choose to work, it doesn't negate the guilt. I've found that there's really no good answer other than to do your best to keep the guilt at bay and keep reminding yourself why you do the things you do and why they matter. I know I am not alone and it's a struggle for us all to figure out what works for our families.
Which is why this morning, when I heard my son run into the bedroom to proudly tell his Daddy that he "went poo poo in the potty" the night before (Daddy was in a night class, so missed it), it just made me smile. I felt so lucky to be working from home on this particular day and able to overhear this exchange and the pride in our son's voice as he relayed his tale to his Dad. It also felt pretty good to be the one L hugged after he did his doo on the potty the night before, because he was so darn proud of himself. Maybe it didn't matter so much that he had already done it at school without me. After all, it was poo.
It's never easy to miss those firsts, but it has gotten easier. Maybe that's because life has gotten busier, or the milestones have gotten messier, or maybe in fact it is true that the "firsts" are still a first for you.