Thursday, August 22, 2013

While I Was Working, You Took Your 1st Steps

Balance Photography
The desire to be present for your child's "firsts" is natural. Wanting to witness your baby's first time rolling over, first steps, there are so many wonderful "firsts", all a part of the amazing process of growth and development. That first smile or gurgle of "Mamma" is enough to make your heart melt and fill you with a sense of pride.

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.

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8 comments:

  1. All that matters is that you raise him right with the time you have after work and also raising him to be a decent person

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    1. Thanks Michael - yours words ring true.

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  2. Hi Jes! Poo in the potty? You guys are having a HUGE summer! The Missus had a hard time if she missed any "firsts". Luckily, most of the time, the caregiver was kind enough to keep it to herself if our son had a "first" while we were at work!

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    1. Now that's a nice caregiver, I wish we had been that fortunate. It's been a big summer in the potty department, after we figured out what "motivates" L. I started putting some fun toy cars near the potty for him and he loved it just enough to get him started, now the "potty cars" are an after thought but he still enjoys them, super cute.

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  3. Sniff, sniff! I love this post! And a perfect pic :) You guys do such an amazing job at being there for L. You may feel guilty sometimes but just remember that you guys make up for working hard by playing just as hard! L has had more "firsts" than most of his peers so I think you're doing just fine -- you may have missed a first poop but you didn't miss the first time he jumped off the back of a boat or rode in a wow-wow! :)

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    1. Aww, thanks Marley. Those jumps off the back of the boat in the lake were the best, so glad we caught videos of it! And that trip was the first time he called me Mommy, melts my heart.

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  4. This hit home for me. My 10 month old is getting real close to her first steps and as a working mom, I am definitely afraid of missing it. You are right though, it is always important to remember why we do the things we do, day in and day out and its not because we love our children any less because we work! Great Post!

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    1. Thank you Monica! I hope your daughter saves her first steps for you. Thank you for the reminder, it's is true and good to keep reminding ourselves :)

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