Hillary Duff did an interview with Redbook last month – talking about being a divorced parent, of her four year old son, and all of the mom guilt associated along with it. Mom guilt is a real thing. When me and the WUZband separated – we literally went our separate ways over to separate states – almost feeling like we were in separate worlds. We went through different periods of co-parenting to going at each other’s throats for most of the last 2-3 years. Even though we are amicable now the fact still remains – being a divorced mom blows.
I would say the biggest issue that I have had – regardless of location is childcare. Although companies want you to believe that you have work/life balance and certain flexibilities, I have yet to find that to be the case when is comes in conjunction with the times that daycares are offered. My most recent dilemma has been that the time that I get out of work happens to be the same time that my daughter gets out of daycare. This then leaves me to hire a sitter to pick her up from school for me and bring her home. If I have to work later – then I miss out on afternoons.
Childcare isn’t cheap – in the DMV area alone – I think that I am paying more on the cheaper side for an accredited program. (I am not too keen on the home make-shift day cares) Even though I am getting the bigger bang for my buck because she is learning so much, it seems that companies don’t pay enough to compensate for the costs of child care. Six figure incomes are not plentiful in these times – when you can find a millennial coming out of college and give them a 40K salary after hiring them from their internship. Child care is like paying another rent or mortgage, depending on how many children you have. The average is $300 a week for a 2 year old – which is 1200 a month. Add to that the costs of pampers if the kid isn’t potty trained, if you have to provide lunch – or even though it seems petty, the 30 parties a year that you have to either give money towards, or buy cupcakes for. It all adds up.
It adds up quicker when you are the custodial parent. An upper middle class salary just isn’t enough.
I actually enjoy being around my kid. I almost become insulted when someone tells me “you should be happy when her dad comes to get her so that you can get a break”. What if I don’t want a break. What if all the time that I spend away from Little me is enough, and I cherish those weekends with her where we are baking cupcakes, and binge watching My Little Pony – Equestria Girls like its the new, hottest show on Shondaland.
I know that she should be spending time with her dad – I am okay with that, but the mom guilt of sending her there for even a day, makes me feel like I am missing out. On top of everything else that I feel like I am missing during the week. So although I am there – it doesn’t feel like I am THERE. Call me selfish – but I don’t want to miss a thing, a smile or a reaction, especially at this age. Sometimes, people take for granted some of the things that they have – family close by for instance.
It’s a catch 22. If I don’t work, I can’t afford this life that I’m trying to build for her. Because I have to work, she needs child care. I make too much for subsidy. I don’t make enough for this to be an non issue. Eventually it will work itself out … when I either hit lotto, or she goes to Kindergarten.