Baby Blues: I’m Getting A Part-Time Job To Save My Sanity — And Therefore My Daughter
I read the most fallacious comment about motherhood and depression on Facebook a few weeks ago. A friend, a mom of two with a deployed husband, had finally found her happiness again by deciding to return to grad school. The questionable reply came from a traditional relative, who said something like, â€œdonâ€™t do it. Even if you think it will make you happier, your kids are too young to know whether youâ€™re happy or not. They need their mommy at home.â€
This comment really struck a nerve. Though I wonâ€™t deny that being a SAHM is good for some families, it is simply false to assume children canâ€™t tell if their parents are happy or not. There are few absolutes regarding parenting, but in my short 15 months as a mother, thereâ€™s one thing I know for sure: children are astoundingly tuned-in to their parentsâ€™ emotions.
While my daughter doesnâ€™t speak yet, sheâ€™s already catching on that mama gets really out of sorts sometimes. Her fussiness is often a result of my own, in the same way sheâ€™s giddy and giggly when Iâ€™m in good spirits. When she gets a little older and Iâ€™m having a depressive episode, she will ask why Iâ€™m crying. Or sheâ€™ll notice the old scars on my wrist. I will explain that I have something called depression, which sometimes makes me cry and makes it hard to get things done and think clearly.
That talk doesnâ€™t worry me. She will be smart enough to understand it. What really worries me is the effect postpartum depression has on our lives right now. Iâ€™m making some changes in order to combat my depression, primarily in my choice to start a part-time serving job outside the home. Itâ€™s difficult enough suppressing myÂ ingrainedÂ phobia of putting baby in daycare (I was raised to believe that a childâ€™s first three years MUST take place at home and have mother present at all times, or else a child will fail to thrive). But now that Iâ€™ve gone public with my decision, Iâ€™m really feeling the intensity of being torn between doing whatâ€™s best for my health and whatâ€™s best for my daughter.
Itâ€™s mom guilt on steroids, guys.
Iâ€™m about to uproot our little home routine and put my daughter in with a group of strangers for hours at a time. I can count the number of playdates sheâ€™s had on one hand, so sheâ€™s not exactly used to interacting with other little people. I do think the group setting will eventually be good for her, but I realize this isnâ€™t going to happen instantly. She will wonder where I am, where she is. She will probably get upset not being able to nurse every couple of hours like sheâ€™s used to. Or worse, she will start to refuse my milk. This would break my heart.