Working Moms :: Celebrating the Moments We Miss

“We have some news!” were the first words I heard when I arrived at our daycare center to pick up my eight-month-old daughter. I smiled at the teacher, but I immediately felt conflicted. I knew the news. After weeks of working toward it, my daughter crawled for the first time. And I wasn’t there to see it. 

The mom guilt came on strong and fast. I was excited of course but I couldn’t fight the pang of disappointment. A major milestone and I wasn’t there! On the car ride home, I felt envious of our daycare teachers, who had gotten to witness this magic before me. I thought of all the other milestones that might occur outside my presence—first step, first word. What else would I miss?

But as I pulled into the driveway, it clicked: Today wasn’t about me. It was about her.

By focusing on my feeling of loss over having missed her moment, I was failing to fully celebrate my daughter’s big development. This was a huge day for her. She attained a skill she had worked up to for weeks, cautiously rocking back and forth and scooting as she learned to move. She was proud of herself—even at eight months old, it showed on her face.

While I fixated on my feelings of guilt, I was missing an opportunity to invest in my daughter.

My daughter won’t remember whether I’m there to witness each and every moment. But she is affected, even at her young age, by how I celebrate her. She will remember how I make her feel and that will influence her development for the rest of her life. If she senses that her accomplishments bring me any feeling other than enormous pride, what message does that send to her? The opposite of the message I want her to receive. 

Sitting in my driveway, I vowed to let my guilt go and to pour myself into building up my daughter. I would not allow anything—especially a burden I was needlessly placing on myself—to interfere with an opportunity to praise her and build her self-esteem. My priority as a parent is to raise a confident child. That starts with a celebration of her achievements that focuses exclusively on what matters: her.

At home that evening, my husband and I proudly watched our daughter show off her new skill . She crawled around her room, pausing to smile at us and look for our reactions. It didn’t matter that we weren’t the first to see it. It was magic.

6 Responses to Working Moms :: Celebrating the Moments We Miss

  1. Pat July 24, 2017 at 6:55 am #

    Great article, Erin! And very true ❤️ I’m so glad you’re writing this blog-it will really be helpful for working moms out there. Very heartfelt!

  2. Terri Wagoner July 25, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

    Such a positive and powerful view. I remember that guilt like it was yesterday. Reading this helped me even though it has been years! Cannot wait until your next post. Love you and your view on motherhood!

  3. Mhl July 29, 2017 at 6:23 pm #

    I agree you did the right thing, but did they have to tell you? If they didn’t you would have seen her crawl that night as if it were her first time.

  4. Amelia July 29, 2017 at 9:05 pm #

    Same boat and our babies are the same age! One thing that may help… we asked our daycare to not share that kind of “news.” Our son crawled for the “first time” at our house on a Monday evening. He may have been doing it all day at daycare for all we know but to us, it was the first time 😉

  5. Katie August 2, 2017 at 10:57 am #

    Thanks for sharing this – the conflicted feelings are so real! Now that my children are older (4&6), they feel really proud to tell us about what they learned, tried or accomplished during their days. We ask my MIL (who watches them most days) to send pics every so often of their activities, and anything notable, and then when we come home in the evening, we have questions to ask them and they feel so proud to share. Like you articulated so well – their growth and development is not for me – my goal as their mom is to encourage and support them to feel confident to try new things and enjoy learning, whether or not I am right there with them. Hard to turn that guilt off, but it makes this short time in life so much more enjoyable (and I am certain, healthier for all of us). Thanks!

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