Recently I read an article about a woman who confessed that she didn’t check in on her kids during the day. She had two little ones at home who were cared for by a nanny and she mentioned how she made an effort not to check in on them during the work day. To be honest, I didn’t judge this woman for one second. On the contrary, I felt like I could totally relate to her.
I’m not your typical working mother; my office isn’t covered with photos of my kids or their artwork, and I too, do not call them during the day. It sounds cold, right? Well, I felt really bad about it for a long time, until I read this article and related to what the author was saying, which is that being away from our kids all day is hard. Checking in on them is just a reminder of how we can’t be with them. We’re not there to see the cool new trick they learned, the silly joke they made up or, even worse, possibly their first steps or words.
A few weeks ago, I heard my youngest daughter Julia call our nanny, “Mama.” I acted as if I didn’t hear it, but when she continued to say it in what seemed like a taunting chant, my nanny corrected her and said, “Mama is over there.” She was trying to save my ego, and I appreciated it, but hearing my baby say that to someone else stung so bad. As soon as our nanny left that evening, I cried.
Shortly after that incident, after our nanny had left for the day, my oldest, Olivia, told me that she wanted to go live with her. When I asked her why, she said that she just loved her so much. As happy as I was to know that she loved her nanny (she must be doing something right), I was hurt that she felt like she wanted to live with her. I told her that she had a home and that her family loved her very much.
I’ve never really been one of those moms who suffers from separation anxiety — yes, moms get separation anxiety, too. They’re the moms who think their kids will suffer trauma as soon as they leave. They don’t. They’re the moms who struggle with working outside of their homes, because they’re away from their kids all day. I get it, I’m just not that mom. Yes, I have my moments here and there where I’m sad and miss them (especially after a fun weekend together) but after said weekend together, it's actually nice to catch a break at the office, too.
Lately, Olivia has been telling me that she misses me when I’m at work. She tells me that she thinks about me and wonders what I’m doing during the day. She asks me if I think about her. This whole time, I’ve been avoiding calling her, because I was worried about how it would make me feel. I never thought about how it made the girls feel when I didn’t call. Talk about a parenting fail!
Now, I’m checking in on the girls more often. I’ve been telling myself that it is okay to miss them. Just because it hurts me to hear their voice while at work doesn't mean they don't need me to check in on them periodically. Yes, I get sad after hanging up with them, but nothing is better than hearing them tell me that they, too, miss their mama.