Friday, July 24, 2015

Did I miss out?

It recently occurred to me that both my kids are getting to an age where staying home all day is not really an option. Whether she likes it or not, my older daughter has to go to school. And my younger daughter is at an age where most kids are doing at least part time preschool.

Basically, the period of time when it would make sense for me to be a stay-at-home mother is just about over. I can now go to work guilt free.

But there's something a little bit sad about it. I know a lot of women who have been home with their children during this entire time, and are now just starting to go back to work, and it makes me feel like maybe I missed out on something that is now gone forever.

Should I have taken a year or two off from work? Should I have been present for every bottle or lunch or afternoon nap?

My brain tells me no. Taking that kind of time off was just not feasible. And my kids are fine. I spent plenty of time with them.

But I didn't get to have that prolonged period of it just being me and my toddler. And now I never will. I can't help but feel a little bit sad.


  1. Every path has upsides and downsides. A couple of my friends who were SAHMs had real and stressful identity crises when their kids left for school. At least 1 had another baby in part because she didn't know what else to do with herself.

    So I guess that is an option for you Fizzy - have another baby and stay home with THAT one! :-)

  2. I do get where you are coming from---and it is normal, I think, to feel a fleeting sadness about the paths we never took (and that are now closed to us), as long as you don't dwell on it. Maybe try to schedule more one on one time with your preschooler?

  3. I actually do schedule time with my two oldest kids (ages 8 and 6). They've each got at least one hour of one-on-one time a week on our color coded google calendar (my husband takes the other two kids so I can focus on just the one).

    If this is something that continues to nag at you what about the idea of planning a leave of absence or a sabbatical for a summer. I am sure it wouldn't be easy to arrange but it might be amazing. You could spend a few interrupted months with your kids when they are older (and able to really go and do fun things!). They don't miss out on school and you don't miss out on your career.

  4. I can totally understand why you might feel this way. I sometimes feel like residency is stealing away time I could spend with my daughter during my most favorite ages of childhood. It's ok though, if it really bugs you, you could do as another commenter suggested and take a mini-sabbatical. Or you could schedule special time into your calendar to spend with your kids. I think we all sometimes yearn over alternative paths that could have been taken, and that's totally ok.

  5. It's how you feel, so of course it's valid. It's not universal. I would have hated being home full-time with my daughter as an infant or toddler. I actually did it for six months and I did hate it. I liked being with her a lot more when I didn't have to be with her all the time. I always loved her; I really enjoy time with her more now that she's older. She's 15 and still a lot of fun, and I really wish I'd worked full-time when she was little and then cut back. She was in full-time day care from the time she was 18 months old, because "part-time" primary care = full-time anything else. That was fine. I was comfortable with the caregivers and they didn't do anything different from what I would have done. Starting when she was 6 or 7, though, there was a widening gap between being with me and hearing my take on popular culture and being with most other adults. Now that's even more important. My husband says I'm a soft touch - "all she has to do is ask you to take her shopping". Damn straight. That's when I hear what she's thinking and wondering about.

  6. Hi Fizzy- I HAVE taken that time off with my kids and definitely feel mixed about it. I left the ER for my family (and sanity) and most days are good. I like that I can be in the day to day stuff, free to volunteer in their classrooms, able to get to know their friends and teachers, can go to sports/gym/dance with them, don't miss out on any parties/bdays/graduations/programs/holidays, etc. BUT there is a bit of emptiness and identity grappling that happens. My career has been derailed but I hope to find some kind of rewarding work at some point. Grass is always greener I guess!

  7. My daughter is PG3 peds with fellowship lined up, I love this blog as a "hopeful future grandmother." I want to share that young children won't remember your presence, but your personal impact on grade school and adolescent children is immeasurable. That time can be individual dates, vacation time, bedtime routines. Yes I loved the time I squeezed in around my work schedule when she was an infant, tolder, preschooler, but our relationship from high school on is infinitely more rewarding today. As moms we may miss sloppy wet kisses, but we gain meaningful relationships. Imagine the memories you want your children to have, then work to make them happen. And tough teen years, they help mothers cut apron strings so our children can spread their wings. I appreciate your blog posts and admire all of you mothers and medicine for the hard work that you do both in your careers and at home! Celebrate your successes, and think about small changes that will bring you more joy. Small changes can add up!


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