Mummy Guilt versus Passion | Motherhood

So I start my Diploma of Photo Imaging tomorrow. Which means the girls have their first day at their new daycare/preschool (or Play School as I've been calling it, to try and avoid any negative connotations for Punky, who isn't the biggest fan of Preschool some days!). They will be going there on Wednesdays & Thursdays. On Tuesdays they will continue to go across the road to their other daycare/preschool.

It seems a little indulgent having them in care on one of my days off Tafe, but I know that I am really going to need that day to get study and assignments done, as it will be the only real child-free time I'll have other than evenings. Evenings are great for study and editing, etc, but not so good for when I need to get out on location and take photographs, or for when I'll be needed to do freelance work for the Tafe's freelance department.

Not to mention it will be give me a chance to catch up on the blogosphere in my breaks. As well as a much needed day to get the house in to some sort of order and everything ready for the week of Tafe/care ahead.

Notice how I'm telling you all my excuses? As if I need to tell you them, have you understand them, because I fear you'll judge me or some shit?

The thing is, it's not judgement from others that has me worried. I honestly don't really care what other people think, that's a battle I've been winning for a while now.

No, my problem is what I think.

As we move closer and closer to the new Tafe term, I can feel the blanket of guilt making it's way slowly up my body. It's joined by a lacy veil of excitement and a heavy ball of molten nerves sitting at the bottom of my stomach.

I'm so excited to be starting the Diploma. I'm excited about the things I'll learn. I'm excited about the opportunities to be gained via the course. I'm excited for the possibilities that will be opened up to me in the future.

I'm nervous about the workload. Whether or not I'll be able to handle it and manage my time well enough to not fall behind. Nervous about being organised and having everything ready to leave each night so that the mornings aren't a hectic shit fight.

But most of all I'm nervous about how the girls are going to handle it. How are they going to handle going to a new daycare/preschool 2 days a week? How are they going to handle going to care 3 days in a row each week? How are they going to handle being looked after by someone other than me for 4 days in a row?

Will they be ok? Will they settle in to their new care ok and not be sad or scared? Will they know that if there was any other way to do this, that didn't require me leaving them for so long, that I would do it?

It's funny how Mother Guilt gives you almost the same feeling in your tummy as the butterflies of nerves or excitement do, but runs so much deeper. It's like those butterflies have steel wings, and they penetrate through the depths of your body and infest your mind. They wrap their wings around your chest and create a heaviness.

My rational, adult mind knows that they will be ok and that they will adjust just fine. My rational adult mind knows that there are thousands of families, mothers in particular, that leave their kids every day so that they can work and study. And my rational mind knows that every single one of those parents feels exactly the same way as I do about leaving their children.That if they didn't have to they wouldn't. If they could get their money or qualifications in some other way, they would.

But my mother heart is not a rational one. It beats for my babies. The thought of leaving my babies to the care of someone else 4 days a week makes my mother heart bleed.

To be honest though, I don't think this feeling of guilt for leaving my babies to the care of someone else, of doing things for myself, even if they will benefit from them in the long run, will ever fully go away. Even when they are grown, and going out in to the world, those feelings will still be there, swirling around in the back of my mind.

As they start school, university, head overseas, walk down the aisle, or hold babies of their own, I'm pretty sure those feelings of guilt will still be there. The heaviness I feel? I think it's just the physical manifestation of my love. I don't think Mummy Guilt is all bad, because it comes from a place of such deep love for our babies, that it would almost seem wrong if there weren't at least a few moments in our lives when we feel it's grip around our chests and it's butterfly wings beat in our stomachs.

I guess the thing to do is learn how to control it, learn how to send it to the subconscious. Learn to allow the love to be felt and the guilt to be ignored. Everybody feels fear when facing the unknown. The trick is to not let the fear be the overwhelming feeling and emotion, but to acknowledge it, and then forget it, so we can focus on the excitement.

I think it's the same with Mother Guilt. Acknowledge it, and then, in the words of that most astute philosopher Elsa, let it go.

Easier said than done though, right?!

Do you struggle with Mummy Guilt? How do you deal with it when it comes at you?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT

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Big hugs and good luck. Having a mother go after her dreams is a gift to our children. Every single decision I make seems to have trade offs so I have to trust the pros and release the cons because if I/we flipped it we would still have pros and cons... No perfect decisions, just the best choices we can make. Your girls will do great and I think feeling your love is most important. Have a great first day at TAFE.
Yes I completely feel your pain. I am just contemplating putting my older child in an extra day of child care for the same type of reasons but the guilt is killing me. Today was the first I was swaying on just do it. The funny thing is that I have all this guilt and this morning he actually asked if he could go to day care today! Why do we do it to ourselves!? Congratulations for going for your dreams. Enjoy it.
Absolutely. I started doing 4 day weeks a year ago (alternate weeks - the other week I do 3 days). My husband looks after them 1 day, my Mum 1 day and daycare 2 days. It actually helped to realise that the important thing is they're with people who care about them and look after them. It's ok that it's not me. Of course, that makes sense in my head. My heart is a different matter. I hope you have a blast this year x
Malinda said…
Easier said than done to just let it go. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain in going ahead with your plans. If it doesn't feel right after a couple of weeks then reassess. You are the only one that will know what is right for you and your family.
Ahh yes. Definitely easier said than done. I'm the same as you. I know that feeling well and sometimes I do find it hard to let it go. Your girls will be fine being away from you four days a week. You will all manage. You are most definitely a mum that the girls will look up to as they get older. #teamIBOT
Ingrid said…
I think all mums suffer from mummy guilt no matter what choices we make.

You sound like a great mum to me, who's also being a great role model for her girls, in studying and working towards opportunities in the future. All the best with your study!
Lisa said…
Kylie-I have been a stay at home mum for 7 years now, I work on the weekends as a midwife. It is only now my kids are older and starting school, no longer babies that my mummy guilt has subsided and I feel better about pursuing my own career. I have friends who are actually better mums and partners when they are working full time rather than being at home. Your girls look happy in every photo you post and I know that this would not be a decision made lightly for you. You are a great mum and role model for your kids. Go pursue your dreams Kylie.
I love what you're doing and I think you will use every single minute of that day off. I have a Vicklet free day and I don't work on that day (mostly) and I could feel guilty about it but I've deemed it my mental health day. My me day because I need to exist as a human beyond being a mother. You're doing that too and it's going to benefit your girls soooooo much. The guilt is natural and you probably won't feel a sense of calm until after you see the girls settle into their new routine. Perhaps they will adjust better to the change than you? Kids can be so adjustable. Good luck with the new term! x
Mystery Case said…
Your girls get more adorable each week. Hope you are having a great week. I'm playing a bit of catch up myself and dreaming of the long weekend here in Perth for Anzac Day.
Mystery Case said…
I think you should give yourself a massive pat on the back for managing to find a way to pull this off. The mother guilt will always be there, no matter what the age or stage and I suppose we just need to find a way to not let it rule us.
Karen @ Meet Me At The Watersh said…
I'm 35 and in about three months will begin a 4.5 year, double degree at uni in Psychology and Arts (with additional majors in Criminology, History and Creative Writing). So yeah. The workload thing? I HEAR YOU.

The difference for me of course is that my kids are teenagers and I'm lucky enough to be able to schedule all my lectures and tutes during school hours and still do the drop off and pick up. Now that they're all in the same school (Youngest started high school this year) it makes it infinitely easier. But keeping on top of the workload scares me half to death. I'm not a spring chicken anymore. But on the days I berate myself for not starting this crazy-a** journey years ago I remember that this is really the first time where impact on that motherhood thing is relatively minimal and the kids can survive at home without burning anything down, should I need to sequester myself for study while Dad's at work. I have a friend with small children who is lined up to study nursing and her daycare/lecture scenario was a nightmare. So I'm grateful.

And, one would hope, less prone to late night pub crawls and next-day-hangover-lectures. No promises though.
It's hard this guilt thing because it shows you care but it can also be a heavy emotion to carry around. All the best for the new path you are treading, you'll be a star x
miss.cinders said…
They're just sooo squishy! And they are growing sooo fast!

I might do follow your lead and start one portrait a week of the OgreKids :)

MC xo
Hugzilla said…
Just think of how proud they will be of their super-talented mum when they are old enough to realise the sacrifices you made to pursue your passion. The memories of "play school" will be long gone but they will grow up seeing their mum following a dream that not only makes her happy, but makes money for her family too xx
Alicia-OneMotherHen said…
Summer and Punky could be twins. She afraid of the daddy long legs in our holiday house dunny, she freaks if she sees them. We also have black millipedes everywhere there too. They come inside, so annoying, I have to surface spray so they can't come in. The girls love playing with them though :)
EssentiallyJess said…
Hey I get it. I feel bad on the days when they are home (like in the holidays) and I do stuff on the computer and don't give them my undivided attention. I feel bad when I don't play because the floor needs a vacuum or the dinner needs to be cooked, or I have to take one child to sport and the others get dragged along.
The guilt is ALWAYS there, no matter what you do. So you try and make the times you are available even better and not give it a foothold to ruin your life. But it's hard. We get it. xxx
EssentiallyJess said…
And also all those logical things are right. Even when you don't feel them. They will be fine and know you love them.
So true, Jess. If only our logical minds could make our irrational hearts understand it all the time!
That's what I'm hoping for xx
It certainly is. Thanks lovely xx
It's certainly been a juggle to work out the daycare stuff, so I feel your friend's pain. I was extremely lucky that the childcare at the Tafe was able to take the girls for two days and my MIL and Dave could do the other day, otherwise there is no way it would have worked.

Your course sounds amazing, one day I would love to study Psychology. The few Psych classes I took at Uni were fantastic and had me kicking myself that I put it down as my second choice rather than my first!. Good luck with your studies and the workload xx
Yep, that's definitely the key, finding the way not to let it rule us. It was certainly a scramble trying to organise it all, but I know come next year once I've finished and can really start working and earning money again it will all start to pay off.
Thanks, lovely x
I think every parent needs at least one child-free day a week or as often as they can for sanity's sake alone! Especially when they are as small as our kids are, they are relentless and exhausting and that time-off is so important for keeping balance and not burning out.
Thank you so much Lisa, your words are very kind. I definitely think I am better for the time I do spend away from the girls, it makes me appreciate the time I am with them so much more and not resent them because they are stopping me from doing something that I also love. Now, I get to make the most of both my loves and I really do think we'll all be better for it.
I really hope so, Renee. I just have to keep my eye on the prize and reminding myself of the good things that will come from it in the long run.

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