“I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, “This is impossible – oh, this is impossible.” And then you just keep going, and keep going, and sort of do the impossible” – Tina Fey
Parenting has never been simple, but these days, it can be downright overwhelming. Throw social media into the mix, and now everyone has an opinion on what you should or should not do as you raise your kids. I joke that I am #badparenting, but sometimes my child is not going to eat organic food at every meal, and sometimes I am so exhausted in the evening we curl up on the couch and watching a movie together and that does not mean that I am treating my TV as a babysitter.
We all know how disheartening it can feel, especially when you are just barely holding life, work, and family in a fragile balancing act.
Parents, I hear you. I see you. I am you.
Right now, I am attempting to type this post as quietly as I can (because today my two-year-old will not nap without me next to her) while I am simultaneously listening in on a conference call. All I want to do is snuggle down into her and feel that mother/daughter bond as we both drift off to nap. Yet, unfortunately, that is just not a possibility today. #badparenting
Here comes the guilt. The guilt in the realization that I know that these moments are fleeting. That one day I will not have the opportunity to wrap my arms around her and feel her body relax as she drifts off to sleep. That there will come a day very soon, when she will say, “Get real, Mom!” if I ask her for a hug and kiss in public. That “fix it all” Mommy will no longer be needed, and she will be able to soothe herself when she gets a boo boo.
I cannot quit my job. I cannot be a stay at home parent. I cannot allow this guilt to tear me up because I did not give up my personal and career ambitions the moment I became a Mom. And no, I am not a #badparent because of all this.
THESE ARE MY PERSONAL CHOICES. I do not judge any parent on what choices they made for themselves or their families. We are all just trying to make it through each day the best we can, right?
Still, the question lingers, how do I alleviate some of this guilt as every time I blink my daughter is growing and changing?
I make sure to carry my camera with me everywhere. Sometimes I feel like it’s just adding to the weight of my diaper bag (that is the size of a carry-on), the stroller, and car seat. Only when I start shooting does all that outside noise dissipate, and it is just me and my family focused on moments I will miss so dearly once they are gone.
It is therapeutic as well as comforting in knowing that I will have those moments preserved forever. So that one day when life feels like I am in the middle of the Fiestas of San Fermin with bulls running over me, I will have those deeply cherished photographs to pull out, bring a smile to my face, and know that I am doing the best I can.