My Greatest Struggle as a MotherOn July 5, 2017 by Samantha Jean
When I was growing up, I never imagined a world where I wouldn’t be working. When I was in high school, I always knew college was in my future, and college was in my future because I would one day need to get a job and join the rest of the working world. That was fine. I understood that.
I went through the years earning my four degrees and landing myself at a company I always dreamed of working at. I moved to a town I was slightly familiar with and I remember times when I would drive by this one large building and think, “I bet important people work there.” And I knew I wanted to work there, too. I always wanted to be a part of something bigger, and after a few years and a college education, I was lucky enough to accept a position at that large, important-looking building and have been fortunate enough to start to create a career I can see myself flourishing in until my retirement.
So, I’ve always anticipated being a business woman. I like it. I’m good at it.
But then my daughter came along, and suddenly, my whole world shifted. I took 12 weeks off from work to spend time with the amazing new life I had brought in to this world, and they were easily the most magical, fulfilling moments of my life. Hands down. There is nothing in this world that compares to the miraculous thing that is the creation of life. No job, no promising career, no large, impressive-looking building could ever compare to even the tiniest of moments I spend with my daughter. A five-minute-long tickle fight with my little girl is worth more to me than anything anyone could ever offer me.
One habit I’ve developed over the years is the innate ability of being overly conscious of time. This is a great thing in many respects. I am extremely organized, I have great time management skills, and I know that each and every moment that I spend with my daughter—or with my family, or doing anything that I love, quite frankly—is precious and I need to enjoy it. In my mere 25 years on this earth, I’ve had the misfortune of being reminded far too many times that our time here is much too short. So, I do my best to be sure that when I am with my daughter, I am present. I am down on the floor playing with her, running my fingers through her hair, kissing her forehead, holding her hand, taking in her scent or laughter, and just being as thoroughly invested in the moment as I can possibly be. I want to remember her toothy grin, her high-pitched squeals, and her unintelligible chatter. Because I know that one day, these moments will be gone and they will only be left as memories. And I have always had this painful feeling that for as fast as our lives flash before our eyes, I never get enough time with my beautiful baby girl. I never get enough time to experience or memorize all the things I never want to forget about her and our time together. I worry that I don’t have enough time in a day to let her know how much I truly love her.
Then we go back to my career. My career I studied for and put in extra hours for and networked for and always planned for. I like it. I’m good at it. But it kills me to be a working mom and be away from my daughter so much of the time. This is my greatest struggle as a mother.
Now, introduce the fact that I am divorced. And if there ever existed the choice of having a career or being a stay at home mom, it most certainly does not exist now. I am officially the only breadwinner in our home. And through my divorce, essentially, what little time I felt I had with my daughter in the first place has now been cut in half. The time I have to raise her, teach her, nourish her, hold her, and love her now feels so, so small that each and every day I feel a guilt inside me. Will she know how much I love her if we don’t get to spend much time together? Will she know that I would have rather spent every single moment of my days with her until she would grow up and rather spend time with her friends?
I know well that it isn’t the quantity of time you spend with your kids, but also the quality of time that you spend with them, that ultimately grows and strengthens that relationship. But I look at my daughter now and she is already two. That little creature that I held in my arms two years ago, that only ate, slept, and cried, is now 33 inches tall. Almost 26 pounds. And she laughs and runs and sings and hollers and plays and hugs and tickles and claps. And it is the most magical and inspiring thing in the world to me. I never want to miss these amazing things happening because at the end of all of it, my daughter is so much more important than anything else.
Time moves so quickly and before you know it, everything has changed. I am so incredibly happy and grateful that I have my daughter, and though my heart aches at my struggle between my passions and obligations, I know I am very fortunate, and I look forward to all the wonderful memories she and I will have together. I will always do my best to be a present mother. She deserves that, and that is all I want. And I will always appreciate every moment that I spend with her.