12-Minute Memoir: What I Wish I Could Tell Myself


This 12-minute memoir is part of a series of posts where I set a timer and write for 12(ish) minutes. There is minimal editing before I hit "publish."

Sometimes I honestly can't believe how much time I spend away from my kids. This morning I dropped J off in his class, and then R and I walked down the hall to her class. She has been doing so well in her new classroom that she moved up to a month or so ago. I was really, really nervous about it, but she's done awesome. She waved to me and then walked in, and I got a little catch in my throat. I'm just so dang proud of her and how brave she is, moving into new classrooms with new teachers and new friends. 

Sometimes (okay a lot of the time) I feel so guilty about it. I feel guilty that my kids can't just enjoy slow, lazy mornings because we are rushing to get ready and out the door five days a week. I feel guilty that they fall and skin their knees or have bloody noses or get sick and throw up and I'm not the first one who's there to help.

And maybe you're thinking, you are way too hard on yourself. Grace, Amanda, grace! Yes, grace upon grace. It's crocheted on half the pillows at Hobby Lobby. Everyone loves to say that. But telling myself that I'm going to give myself grace doesn't stem the guilt. So yeah, today I felt sad about it. But I also feel shocked. Shocked that it's been 3.5 years, and I'm still alive. 

Because I honestly thought this might kill me.

Of course that sounds dramatic. There are actual things people are struggling with that don't even come close to a little thing like me going back to work, but I read something recently that stuck with me.

"Remember the worst place you've ever been in your entire life, and think of what you wish someone would have told you then. Now, go find someone in that same worst place, and tell it to them."

It feel silly to say that the worst place I've ever been in my entire life was the first year after I had R and went back to work. What a hashtag "blessed" life I've led so far. I'm almost ashamed of myself. But I vividly remember coming home from the office that first day, falling asleep at 6:30 while nursing R, and then coming out of the nursery and literally falling to the floor sobbing, "I can't live like this." 

It's not that it's gotten easier to spend so much time away from my kids, but maybe I've just gotten used to it. (And yes, by the way, I feel guilty about that too.) They're doing so great at daycare, and we absolutely love the teachers and staff. I (mostly) love my job, and having both of us work full time is the best choice for our family right now. But sometimes I drop them off and then sneak back to the window to watch for a minute, swallowing hard over the lump in my throat. J is munching on some breakfast; R is playing Legos in a corner with some friends. 

I sigh and jog down the hall toward my car and the second half of my commute to work. That lump is still there, but there's also a smile on my face.

They're doing okay. And as a result, so am I.

If I could go back 3.5 years, that's what I wish I could tell myself.

*Comments turned off. I find that often these 12-minute memoir posts are on topics I just want to share about without the pressure of comments. However, if you do have a comment or this post resonated with you, please feel free to email me or tag me on social media!

**For other 12-minute memoir posts, click here.

***I am plotting a follow-up post all about daycare! Please please email me or message me on Facebook with any questions you have about traditional daycare. I don't care how personal it is! I want to write a post on this topic and would love to know what you'd like me to talk about.