Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Whose loss is it anyway?

I recently attended a bachelorette party.  A few of the other ladies were moms, but I was the only physician mom.  One of the other moms struck up a conversation with me about our children.  We exchanged pictures, told stories, laughed.  Then she asked me who watches my baby when I'm at work, and I told her my mother and mother-in-law do.  She proceeded to comment, rather rudely I might add, about how I was missing everything in my daughter's life, and I was missing her growing up.  She even said, "It's hard for the baby without her mommy."   I replied, "I made  my bed, now I have to lie in it," and promptly ended the conversation, as I did not feel like being lectured by a complete stranger about my working status.

When I got home, I was infuriated.  How dare she say that to someone she just met!  Then I got mad at myself for answering the way I did. Yes I did make my bed, but it's not an awfully uncomfortable one, and I like it... most of the time.

Furthermore, I was upset that she said this was hard on my Doll.  You see, I don't think it really is, or at least I really hope it's not.  My Doll is taken care of by her loving, adoring grandmothers who would do anything for her.  They're both kind, sweet, and patient with her.  They feed her, change her, play with her, and bathe her just as I would.

I feel that the loss is all mine-- I do miss my baby growing up.  I wish I could witness every moment of it.  But for many reasons, I work.  And my hope is that in the future, my baby does not hold it against me that her grandmothers took care of her when she was little; I hope she appreciates having a hard working, self sufficient mommy, who can help to provide her with a more comfortable life then she otherwise would have.  I hope she will always see it as a positive, never a negative.  And finally, my greatest hope is that I am the only one who feels the pain of being away from her.  I can't know for sure how she feels, but I hope she is just as happy being with her grandmas as she would have been with me.

19 comments:

  1. I'm with you on this! My son lives with my parents while I finish up medical school and I think it's much harder on me than on him (I only see him 1-2 times per week). He is in a loving environment and he has a truly wonderful relationship with them that I hope will continue as he gets older. I'm the one who has the guilt because I'm missing out on watching him grow up and I don't do 'mommy things', but this is the arrangement that works best for us for now.

    Keep in mind your daughter probably won't remember this period of her life anyway, and if she's in a loving environment and her needs are being met, which it sounds like they are, then you are building the foundation for a happy child going forward. She's going to be just fine.

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  2. Do not worry. You are doing what is right for your family. This is the age old argument between stay at home moms and moms who work - "Why have children if you aren't going to raise them?" vs "What do you do all day if you don't work..." You really have an ideal arrangement. You have a job that is very satisfying and rewarding AND you have family that can take care of your little one while you are away.

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  3. I got this cross examination from my evil aunt in law a at my grandmas funeral. She stayed home. Meanwhile one of her teenage daughters was obviously trying to get caught smoking cigarettes an marijuana, but her parents were somehow oblivious and two years later she would disown her son for marrying a divorced Lutheran instead of a Catholic. (Her own divorce with 3kids was ok because the pope annulled it--what a hypocrit.).

    I'm not saying that the woman being a bitch to you was a horrible mother, but chances are her kids would be better off is she were less judgmental.

    P.s. I come from a long line of working moms and we are all proud of our moms and feel zero guilt about daycare. Doesn't even have to be family, just high quality childcare.

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  4. I have 4 rug rats and have had different childcare arrangements over the years depending on our needs. But the times I felt most at peace were when my mom was watching them. How blessed you are to have BOTH grammas nearby and willing to help! And what a treat for them. Don't worry what others say, although with the recent birth of my fourth, I get even more questions about why I work. But when they all graduate college debt free, I will stick out my proverbial tongue and ask if anyone else has any more questions about why I worked!

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  5. That woman is obviously insecure about her own life. She probably feels like she's missing out on something or she's miserable staying at home. So she convinces herself that those of us that work are doing their kids a disservice. My kids stay home with the grandmas when we work and I couldn't imagine a better arrangement for us.

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    1. Yes, this. She's putting down your choice to bolster her own decision to herself. If only there were a succinct, scathing and witty reply at hand for such comments. I've no idea what that would be.

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  6. As one of 3 children (now grown) children of a very busy working mother, I can tell you that we all grew up just fine and have great relationships with our mother. I am grateful to have had a successful strong female role model in my mother, and attribute most of my success to her. Most of my friends growing up were in similar situations, and we all are well educated, happy successful people. The women I grew up with who have kids are now working mothers as well. This woman clearly has a very limited view of the world and society.

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  7. Women who make comments like that are infuriating. I have no doubt that your daughter will only remember growing up feeling loved by many including yourself. As a woman and a resident soon to have my first child, I hope to take some time off but will obviously work for the vast majority of their life. I have no doubt they will be fine. I myself had a professional mother who went back to work when I was 6 weeks old. She is an amazing woman and we have an awesome relationship. I have never felt anything but loved and inspired to be a woman with a profession myself. I think we loose something for ourselves when we don't get to be home with our kids full time but I also believe that we make their lives richer by being part of a profession.

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  8. What giant bitch. Can you imagine what she'd have said if you had (gasp) a babysitter instead of relatives providing childcare (i.e. our situation). Look, my mom worked and I am insanely proud of all that she has accomplished in her life, and obviously my upbringing was not impaired (unless you count sending your daughter to med school a failure...). I wish it were socially acceptable to tell these kinds of people off, but even if it were I have to admit I'm always at a loss for words when they spring these sorts of comments on me.

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  9. If being a good parent is all about spending every single second with your children, then that woman is the winner of the parenting competition. On the other hand, her husband must be a horrible parent since he must work and therefore, is missing out her his children growing up. If her logic applies to the real world then her kids has a giant ass for a father. Funny how people never judge working men but want women to sacrifice everything for their kids. If you are happy and you kids are loved and happy, you are a winner. Period.

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  10. Super bitch. Or super "I-hate-my-life-and-need-to-justify-my-choices." Either way, you rock! I read once that one of the greatest gifts of a working mom is that their child gets to give and receive more love from the world. Seeing the way my daughter hugs and kisses her nanny, daycare teacher, and grandparents (childcare is complicated as a med student) but saves the best smiles and kisses for me, I believe she is truly happy and genuinely lucky to get so much love from so many people. The Grandmas must be over the moon and, judging from the way most grandmas are, your baby must be enjoying all the treats, extra cuddles, lack of discipline (if she's old enough) and flexible bed times. Just a tip for you- I get pictures of my daughter during the day from daycare/nanny/grandma and it makes me feel like I'm there and not missing out on as much. Also, knowing what she did all day lets me ask about and talk about it when I get home!

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  11. Hi Doctor Mommy! I just wanted to post a quick note to echo what everyone above has said - and to add my perspective. As the daughter of a female physician I really don't feel I was missing anything by not having her with me every waking moment. All the time we did spend together was that much more special. I was always so proud of my mom for doing what she loved and if anything I feel like it opened more doors for me than anything - and now, almost 30 years later I am about to start my own practice and I am hoping to one day follow in her footsteps (with kidlets of my own). My mom never made me feel like I was anything but loved. We have a great relationship and I know I wouldn't be the woman I am today had she not pursued her dreams. Stay strong! I'm sure your Doll will turn out more than fine!

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  12. There really is nothing more nasty than the "mommy wars" when it comes to child care discussions. I got comments about the fact I returned to work at 5 months (most women in Canada take 12 months, but as a self-employed physician, that was not an option as I didn't have the benefits most women do), so (hope you're ready for this) ... my HUSBAND stayed home. Yep. Call children's services, because I left my 5 month old with his other parent ... who a) had parental leave benefits until the boy was 12 months old, b) was much better suited, personality-wise, to staying at home with an infant.

    And then, at 12 months, the boy started (gasp) day care at a day care center (not a home daycare - not a family member - a center with lots of other kids) and he loved it. Even then, when my husband resigned from his job when the boy was 14 months old, we kept the boy in daycare, because, again, he loved it, and it allowed my husband to start the graduate degree he really wanted to do. Although the boy has been out of daycare for almost 2 years now, he speaks very fondly of it to this day - he loved his caregivers, and he benefited from being loved by and taught by different caring adults. We continue with the basics of this arrangement 6 years in - the boy is in school now, but he does after school programs and summer camps, while my husband works from home, is the main go-to caregiver, and I work.

    Yes, I must also admit that I was happy to go back to work, and the main guilt I felt was guilt about not feeling more guilty about my happiness to be back at work. (One must love the guilt about not feeling guilt thing that I'm quite sure never occurred before I had the boy.) I am a (much) happier person when I work at a job I love, and I'm definitely a better parent if I'm happy in general. When I'm home, I work hard to be very much present for my son, and now that he's older (almost 6) he's able to express that he appreciates that. I often decide to not to to out of town events, etc., if it means it cuts down on our family time, because that's important to me, and so I do feel I am very much raising him and seeing him grow up. I have no regrets over whatever this might have done to my career (this makes up for the guilt for not having guilt).

    I loved this line from Bloggy above: "If you are happy and your kids are loved and happy, you are a winner. Period." I'll add - if you are happy and your kids are loved and happy, your KIDS are winners too.

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  13. I'm a medical student and don't have any children of my own yet but I grew up with a similar situation, my mom worked and us kids went back and forth between our two grandmas. I absolutely loved it! Our grandmas were so much fun to spend time with and now I have irreplaceable memories from my childhood that are even more special to me now that one of them has passed. It was what we were used to and I never felt that we missed out on time with our mom. My parents also raised three successful children with college degrees and our own professional and personal successes so I wouldn't be too worried :) It's a shame some women think the only way to be there for your children is to literally be there with your children 24/7. To each their own in my opinion!

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  14. The important thing is the Quality of time you spend with your kids, not the Quantity of time you spend with them. As long as they know they are loved, that's the biggest thing. They showed us a really funny TEDTalk on work life balance by Nigel Marsh that might be worth checking out too.

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  16. Working mom guilt Be Gone! Study finds: Your kids fare better.
    http://www.today.com/moms/working-mom-guilt-be-gone-your-kids-fare-better-study-1C7398255?franchiseSlug=momsmain

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