2/04/2007

I gotta get out of this place

Is this thing on? I haven't checked by stats as religiously as I used to, and good god am I glad I don't. I stopped by the other day and I think I actually saw tumbleweeds slowly making their way across my screen. Initially I thought perhaps people have abandoned me because I am dull beyond words (true), but I have now convinced myself (irrationally) that it may be that I only post every few weeks. It's not that I'm too busy, I'm not. I'm just lazy, and frankly, very dull indeed.

I'm going to broach a topic that ventures into the idea of feminism, a subject that in the past has been about as successful and enjoyable for the reader as a cooter wanding sans gel. I'll go ahead and talk about it anyway, because I need to vent and this place is about due for a post, regardless of how yawns it inspires.

In the past few weeks I have slowly been driven mad by my new-ish role as stay at home mom. As I have mentioned before, the UK allows a new mother a full year of maternity leave if she so chooses. I elected to take a full year, believing that during this year I would do fun things with my new baby - go to baby yoga and massage, singalongs, story time at the library, walks along the seafront, and numerous other things that perfect moms do. Halfway into this gig it's not quite working out like that. I go to coffee mornings every Tuesday held by my Mums and Babies group with whom I took antenatal classes, and last Monday I went to my first baby singalong. That's all. Oh, I occasionally take P. for walks along the seafront, but that's only because it's about 30 seconds from my flat.

I am finding it difficult to find the initiative to do much of anything that requires leaving the house. I don't even change out of my pyjamas on most days. A few weeks ago one of the other mums in my group said she would stop by some Friday and drag me out for a walk. I told her that I most likely would not be dressed, and she said, "Oh, I wouldn't come until at least 1pm!", as if to imply I only stay undressed until the late morning. I set her straight right away and I was met with a look of pity mixed with shock that anyone would dare not be fully dressed and made up by 11am, let alone 6pm. Why bother changing out of your pyjamas when you only have 2 pairs of pants that fit you anyway? Sadly, they are 2 pairs of pants I bought when I first found out I was pregnant, two sizes bigger than I normally wore so as to accommodate my growing self. I wore both of them up until I was about 20-22 weeks pregnant, so yeah...I'm doing well well postpartum, aren't I?

The paragraph above reads like a pamphlet with a little anecdote about a woman who has postnatal depression, but I assure you, I don't. I've teetered on the end of that precipice so I know this is just me being my usual moody self. It has just solidified my desire to go back to work, which is what I was always going to do regardless anyway. Much as P. is such a good baby now, I confess I don't totally love staying home with her all the time. There, I said it.

I know we all need time away from our children, but even as much as I love spending time with P. and seeing her grow and develop, I need to go back to work. The stay at home mom thing is so not me, just as I knew it wouldn't be. When I was pregnant and asked what my plans were as far as going back to work, I would always be met with, "You don't know how you're going to feel until the baby is here!" I would reply that yes, in fact I did know that I would want to go back to work, and inevitably the other person in the conversation would tell me again that I didn't know that for sure.

Why is it assumed that once a woman has a baby, she will feel the powerful biological urge to stay home with her child? Why are men never expected to make that sacrifice? I know we live in a patriarchal society which insinuates that the mother's role far exceeds the father's, but I despise the fact that it is assumed that I should be the one to give up my professional life.

I think this is particularly an issue here in the UK. I'll probably upset some UK readers (all 2 of you), but I think the pressure for a woman to give up work - either completely or by working part time - is enhanced here far more than it is in the US. Growing up, only one of my friends had a mom who stayed home. My Mom went straight back to work after having both my brother and myself, and strangely we have suffered no ill effects. Well, my brother is a bit odd, but as I'm sure you'll all agree, I am bordering on deification.

Here in the UK, it seems most women I know don't go back to work at all after having a baby, or work part-time. I work at a university, and even within that sector it is the same. My Mums and Babies group is composed of university-educated professional women, but I am the only one of eight going back to work full-time. One of my SILs hasn't worked since she had her first child seven years ago, and the other has two kids in school but only works 10 hours a week. My MIL once said about a family member, "Well, it's no wonder the little girl is such a problem. Her mom works full time." Goodness no! Full-time? Whatever is this world coming to? That five year old will be huffing paint solvent any day now.

I admit that prior to having a baby, I thought being a SAHM was a cop-out. I wondered why a woman would want to give up the level of independence that a job provides, allowing the husband to have all of the financial control. Now that I've done the SAHM thing, I have the very highest respect for women that choose to do it. It's not at all for me, but I understand the amount of effort that is required to do it. I want to go back to my job to do less work than I do at home!

Someone commented on an internet forum recently that working moms only wish they could be stay at home moms. I suppose their assumption was that a woman would only go back to work after having a baby if she had to for financial reasons. There would be no possible way a sane woman would do so otherwise, right? I must be a complete freak, because I like working. I like interacting with adults occasionally. I enjoy earning money and contributing financially to the household.

I would love to hear different viewpoints on this matter. I know it's hardly a breaking and newly controversial issue, but as I find myself defending my decision all the time lately, I'm curious to hear what people on either side of the issue have to say. I have a specific question for the current or future SAHMs as well: By electing to be a SAHM, aren't you surrendering any hope for a future career? For example, a woman who is a SAHM until her kids are in primary school is still 5 years out of the loop professionally. Wouldn't it be hard to get a job if you haven't worked in that amount of time? That is particularly relevant for women who are SAHMs until their kids are off to college. By electing to stay home from when your children are young, aren't you sacrificing your entire professional future?

Speak.

P.S. I cannot seem to comment on any Typepad blogs, nor Jenn's at ClubMom. What gives? Any ideas?

30 comments:

DD said...

As you may recall, in the US, 12 weeks is the max under FMLA.

I took the 12 weeks because that's what I thought would be best for me and the baby.

At 8 weeks I was crawling out of my skin to get back to work. It wasn't because I missed my "career" (oh, how I laugh!), but because I couldn't take being at home with a baby that I honestly couldn't relate to.

If I could have taken 4 weeks off at the birth and then 8 when he turned 1...oh, wow, would I have been thrilled!

statia said...

This just lends to the fact that no woman can have it all. That and the grass is always greener, blah blah blah.

I would love to stay home with Fetus and I plan on doing so (mainly because that choice was made for me, in that my position is being rendered obsolete in my company) for at least a little while. Some women excel exceptionally well at being SAHMs, while others struggle with keeping themselves from walking around in circles all day. I think I'm going to fall into that latter category. I want to see Fetus grow up for at least the first year, but I am a smidge my husband in salary (and he loves himself a good sugar mama) and I enjoy the luxuries that's provided for us. Also, while I can't wait to not have to get up in the mornings to go to work, all while being able to be the main provider of Fetus's needs (with the exception of breast feeding because FUCK THAT. who the hell even does that anymore. heh) I know that I will feel the need to get out of the house on a daily basis and do something to contribute my debt to society.

It's a fine line, Pru, and I don't think you're at all abnormal for feeling that way. I'm sure even SAHMs go through that adjustment in the beginning.

Jenn said...

I admit to thinking before I had kids "Why have them if you are going to just stick them in daycare?" Needless to say, my thinking has changed.

I SAH. That was always the plan and it hasn't changed. But now I get why some women want to work. This staying home thing is hard. You never ever get a break. I've even thought about putting them in day care one morning a week or something just so I can have a break. My husband fully supports this since he works at home. If I remotely had enjoyed my career, I would think about going back part time. However, given my feelings towards nursing, I'll choose the babies any day.

And to answer your question, staying home would have zero effect on my career. There is such a nursing shortage that I could walk in to any hospital and get hired probably immediately. The only problem would be that I made my license inactive since I have no plans to use it (and active licenses cost more to renew). I would have to take a refresher course before activating it again, but after that I could work anywhere.

ks said...

I still don't know what I'll do. I always assumed I'd go back to work. Of course, I'd always assumed I'd be satisfied in my career. Currently, I'm unhappy in my job, and possibly in my field. So, while I do feel that staying home for some years would hurt me in my field, it just may be the perfect break while changing careers entirely. Time will tell.

Lori said...

Thank you for writing this post!! While the kiddos are only 2.5 months old, everyday when my husband walks out the door to work I wish I were going with him. Staying home is hard. I never thought I'd be in the position and it's been tough. I just graduated from law school and with the timing of the twins it didn't make sense to have a job lined up. I'll probably start looking in the spring/summer. I'm excited to start my professional career. Mostly, I struggle with the dynamic that staying home creates between my husband and I. It just feels so stereotypical and it makes it hard to feel like we're a parenting team.

T said...

I can't believe I'm a sahm - that's mostly because I can't believe I finally have a kid to stay home with. I do love it, I love being with her and seeing her walk and talk and blah, blah, blah. And I feel that I'm lucky to be able to do it. I wasn't working before- I had sold my portion of my company, so I'm profoundly grateful to be able to stay at home. I don't view it as a patriarchial anything as it is my choice. I have friends that stay at home and others that work ft, but would like to have at least a day or two off to stay with their kid.

That said - the other day I was at the store and there were loads of people dressed (for work, whereas I was dressed for my work - in sweats) and I thought, hmmm, I miss work. Well, lo and behold, my old bus. partner called and I got embroiled in one of his fiasco's while trying to feed the baby and put her to bed. So yeah, I don't really miss work. And I also remember the people I worked with when I took the temp job while pg and hell no, I'd rather stay home and skype with my pals and be with my girl (if I didn't have my friends to chat with online and on the phone this would be a completely different comment).

As for hurting my professional standing? Eh. I guess I think, like every other time in my life, I'll figure it out when the time comes.

Sorry if this is rambly - it's suberbowl sunday - I bet you miss that LOADS! heh, heh.

Cass said...

I've just started to identify myself as a SAHM, despite that I've been home for 6 months now - I think because J is back to working outside the house, so the distinction between the two of us is becoming more clear. But in theory I'm going back to finishing my grad degree soon - part time, but going back. I'm having big issues of my own sort since I'm not particularly compelled to go back to working on my dissertation, and it's not like that "work" makes any money, so I'm not contributing to the household.

Not to ramble on or anything. Point being, I think it's a tough issue. No right or wrong, or maybe better to say what's right for one may be wrong for another.

(No tips on the blog posting thing, but I read most blogs via bloglines these days so I don't generally show up in the stats. But I'm here.)

Jenn said...

Hm, I was just able to leave a few typepad comments. My site is run by typepad too, btw.

Sarah said...

Hallo

One of your two UK readers here...

I hate those newspaper articles that paint it as a straightforward choice - careeer or kid. When I return to corporate fun in three months time (when my kid is six months old), it's only because I'm choosing to pay for such luxuries as the mortgage, council tax, our loan repayments etc. If I had the economic freedom, I'd definitely take more time to be at home with her. Or I'd at least go part time.

But would I choose to do the full-time sahm thing? I love my job so perhaps I'd miss it too much. I dunno...

I'm not looking forward to leaving her at nursery for the first time, mind you!

I'm not sure why some people are judgmental about others - we're all doing the best we can for our kids. Money isn't everything but by working now maybe we can afford to move out of our tiny one-bedroomed abode in sarf london...

I'm rambling now....cheerio.

rockmama-in-waiting said...

I've never really had a definite opinion about the whole SAH thing. Possibly because I've never had a job that I've liked enough to want to go back to it after an absence. Every job I've held since college has been excruciatingly temporary- something on the way to a career, maybe. But financially, now that I have a job that pays well, I know I'll have to go back to it after my 3 months at 90% pay in order to make our mortgage payments. (Luckily, my employer is also my father-in-law, so he's quite flexible about how much time I want to spend with his grandchild!)

The truth is, I really DON'T know how I'm going to feel until the baby comes. The Rock Star and I have already agreed that both of us get "time-outs" from the baby- whether it's just to go have a cup of coffee with a friend or go for a run at the gym, so that makes me think that I might be able to cope with SAHMotherhood.

My mother took 8 years before going back to full time teaching after having me. As a result, she's had to work 8 years longer than my father in order to be able to retire at the end of this year. It's a shame that women feel the pressure to choose between career and baby when there should be some way to manage both!

Suz said...

It seems that the affect on one's career really depends on what career you're in, naturally. I'm in technology where five years is a life age. I would have an extremely difficult time getting rehired and would probably never see my same income level again. Now, you never know, but I'm pretty sure that this would be the case.

It was pivotal in my decision to not stay at home. I knew that they would go to school eventually and that I would be re-entering the job market. I did not want to loose everything that I had gained.

May said...

Another UK reader (but lurkier) here. I know very well, that as much as I long for a child of my own, that I will go screaming-raging out-of-what's-left-of-my-mind if I end up staying at home full-time baby-wrangling. I know I will. I know my limits, my skills, my heart. I can't do it. I admire the women who can immensely. But to tell me (and you) that I don't know myself is disrespectful. Of course I know myself.

And I like my job. Unlike my husband, who can't stand his.

One of my major reasons for wanting a baby (not a main reason - the main reasons for wanting a child are rather inchoate and emotional) is that I want a child to have my husband for a father. I want the child to have what I always missed and longed for as a child myself - a loving, caring, involved Dad, who actually does spend long hours doing real parenting (rather than the fun kind of taking six-year-old to Museum and haranguing her about Leonardo da Vinci for an afternoon). And if I am SAHM, and my husband is working full-time, he won't get a chance to be that Dad for his (hypothetical) kids.

What's with all my parentheses today? Sorry, must be lack of coffee

Thalia said...

Dunno if there is a substantial difference between US and UK. Multiple studies on this have shown that what makes a difference at a population level is level of female education, careers structured to deal with part time working or sabbaticals, and societal provision of adequate, cost effective child care. The latter is not in good shape in the UK, hence perhaps why more women chose to stay at home. The point being that scandinavia, with the most flexible parental leave policies (men and women get a full year between them on full benefits, to be taken whenever they want) has the highest population of working women.

I also think that feminism has a long way to go. I went to a school full of high achieving women. Of those I'm still in touch with, 75% switched to a lower-pressure career, or went part time, or gave up work completely after having children. Our teachers would be shocked. Of my university friends, out of six of us, two don't have children, one gave up work, and the other three are all working full time, although one is an academic w v flexible schedule so a bit easier. A bit better odds.

I don't love my job enough to want to come back full time if I have a child, but I also earn far more than my husband so there is no way I'll give up work completely - we'd have to sell our house etc. So I will be one of those ppl who return, not sure when or on what percentage.

I do think that feminism should have given us the opportunity to chose. Yes, perhaps fewer women are chosing towork than we might have hoped, so there is a long way to go, but we are getting there.

bri said...

It definitely sounds like it may be worse over there, or maybe it's just that in NYC there aren't a lot of women who can afford not to work even if they wanted to stay at home. In any case, I will be going back after about 3 months. This is generally a given, but I have been surprised 2 or 3 times by people's reactions. My mother-in-law's was the most troubling - she seemed to insinuate that surely, since I had SOOOO wanted to have a baby and had to try for SOOOOO long to get pregnant, SURELY I would want to actually SPEND TIME with the little sucker. There have been a couple of other little stabs from co-workers who chose to stay home for a year or more, suggesting that their way was the BEST way (never mind that we would be homeless as my salary is extremely needed). I don't yet know whether I will love or hate staying home, but I do know that judging people sucks.

Lindy said...

This is a bit of a sore subject for me at the moment because I'm right at the start of trying to make the move back in the general direction of my career plan. For the first three years after big G was born, I worked from home about 10-20 hours a week, all without childcare assistance of any sort. It was brutal, but I was really quite happy. I liked the independence of it, oddly enough, because I was working and engaging my mind, but not having to deal with workplace drama. And I did quite well with the first 18 months or so of being a full-time mom. What I have had a hard time with is staying home with a toddler/preschooler. It has just about entirely sucked the life out of me! I had thought that once lil' G was born I could get my groove back by caring for an infant again, but it just makes me resent big G all the more because I feel like taking care of his dictatorial three-year-old demands is keeping me from enjoying this time with the baby. So... staying at home worked for me for a while (and I did it up right, too - music classes and playgroups and baking and long walks and the whole bit) but now I'm through.

As for returning to the career, the plan is to get an additional degree and return to something slightly different. I started out as a lawyer, now I'm getting a masters degree that will hopefully allow me to pursue a career as a law professor. We'll see...

In the mean time, by doing a masters degree part-time, I'll be able to be home with lil' G at least part-time until she's 2 or 3 years old and after that point, I'll be working full time.

DeadBug said...

I'm in the same boat as Suz: if I were out of the workforce for even two years, I would be a dinosaur skill-wise. I would not be able to command the kind of salary, benefits or flexibility I have in my current position.

I don't really love my job, and I wasn't exactly eager to get back, but I would have gone out of my mind staying home much longer. It is the inability to focus on anything for more than a minute or two (espcially as Olivia didn't nap) and having absolutely no control over my day-to-day life. I wish I didn't have to work as much as I do, but on balance I think career is an integral part of who I am and what makes me tick, and therefore it was the right decision for me to go back quickly.

--Bugs

Lut C. said...

Pyjamas all day, my idea of a lazy Sunday. Why bother to get dressed indeed!

I think conditions are more Scandinavian-like were I live. Going back to work is accepted almost as a given. Not all, but many parents can get parental leave on benefits, either full time or part time.

My mother is a SAHM, she said she didn't want to work for two bosses, the kids were bossy enough.

In my current generation, almost no one can afford it, or is willing to take a cut on their lifestyle.

Feminism should be about choice. I agree, we don't all have to fit the same mold.

Jen said...

It is interesting, isn't it, how it all plays out once they're here?

I wanted desperately to stay home for at least the first year, but the idea of never returning to work, or returning to work only when he (and potential sibling) were 8, or 10, or whatever, seemed a bit too much for me.

Now that I've been home 10 months, starting to work again--just a bit--has been the perfect solution for me. I'm still at home, but I get to use this part of my brain again, which is actually quite nice. And I've realized lately that the idea of getting dressed up & going to an office--and being able to write and work without distractions--is a lovely one, so that may be in my foreseeable future. I have adored this time with him, but I'm getting a bit of an itch.

For me, I knew that if I took a year or two off, or went part-time for some or all of that time, it wouldn't affect my career tremendously. As long as I keep contact with the legal community here, I'm in pretty good shape.

So for now I'm thinking I'd like to work part-time (either in our out of the house) until he and potential sibling are in school, and then return to work full-time after that. Hopefully that'll be possible!

Mollywogger said...

I'm one of those few people who really, really doesn't know how she'll react when/if babies arrive. I know that my mom was on maternity leave for 6 weeks with me and then went straight back to work. But I think she might be the type who would have loved to stay home much, much longer. Me, I'm not so sure.

Of course now I'm in the middle of grad school, and then I hope to find some kind of enjoyable career. Where I am in that path when/if a child comes along will definitely impact my decision.

Nico said...

I'm currently working part-time (2 days in the office, 2 half days at home), and find it to be a really nice balance. I get to spend a couple of days playing with the kidlet, but I also get the relief of going to work. And yes, it is a relief. I think I would go quickly mad being at home full time.

I made a resolution at the beginning of the year to get dressed every day. It did do a world of good for my mood.

Isabel said...

I stayed at home or worked part time because IVF was like a part time job for us. When it finally worked, I knew, I know, that the second I can I will get a full time job. I can't wait. My life has been on hold for AGES. I don't even have a great career. I would honestly work doing whatever, just to have a full time job.

Meg said...

Hi Pru -

I'm trying to think "I won't know until I have the baby" but the reality is I think I will feel the same as you. I think I will need the adult stimulation (if you could call high school teaching adult stimultion - ha!)Also, I make more money than my husband does, and he is happy to be a SAHD, so on a practical level, that will probably be best.

I love the idea of the baby yoga etc. but I do know myself, and that I need an intense amount of structure to motivate myself into most things.

So we'll see. Lots of interesting comments here, though.

And thank you for the lovely email, and for your sympathies about our poor pup. xx

chris said...

Hubby and I have been married for 5 years, and we are "older". We are trying for a little one, and although I try to think "I won't know until I am in the situation", I already do know. I am a school counselor at a high school, and I LOVE my job and for the most part all of the people I work with. I don't want to give it up, and I have worked really hard to have this job and get my graduate degree.

I made the mistake of saying to my mother that I didn't think I would stay home if we had a child, and she just looked at me. . .She knows that financially we can't do it, but what she didn't realize was that I just didn't see myself being able to walk away from my career.

I applaud your post and understand exactly where you are coming from. . .

Holly said...

Both my parents worked full time for all of my childhood. My mother loved her job, but even if she didn't she would have needed to work just to keep the family going.
I have no doubts that career-driven mothers can make it work, but that wasn't the case in my family. There was such a disconnection that I am determined to stay home with my children if and when I have them.
I absolutely consider myself to be a feminist, and yet I don't care that this would be conforming to gender roles. I think it would work best for me and my theoretical children (and hopefully their father too). Do whatever feels best for you and your family.

gingajoy said...

yes, my mum thinks the U.S. allowance of 12 weeks (unpaid, mind) is barbaric. (I am brit in U.S.--funny, huh?) sometimes i wish i had longer, but i'm with DD, after 8 weeks I was crawling out of my skin. I just wish I could work 4-5 hours a day with a full time salary.


and like you say, it definitely *is* an issue for women who want to keep momentum going on their careers. 1 year away--I would worry that this would make me infinitely replaceable.

Demented M said...

The feminist movement has done a really sucky job on this issue.

Let me see...

Stay home all day with a major loss of income and where you only get a shower every third day or...

Pay through the nose for daycare that makes your kid a 24/7 germ factory and deal with cranky co-workers just as you catch your 500th cold, courtesy of the daycare? Oh, and you have to get up a full 1-2 hours earlier to get everyone out of the house on time. Plus pump (if you're breastfeeding) during the day.

Gee. What fun. Women really have such mahvahlous choices these days.

As for me, I'm hoping to stay home. I'm know I'm just going to be way too tired to be any good at work. I don't really like my job all that much anyway, and the glass ceiling is still quite thick so there's not much incentive to return. Not to mention daycare costs the same as my mortgage payment.

I'd like to stay home and not work for a year after which, I want some low stress, low responsibility job. I don't care what it is, just something easy.

M

Georgia said...

I completely agree with you.
I thought I'd be bummed to go back to work after my leave, but I was relieved. Granted, it helps that the baby's home with his dad while I'm at work--but still. It's really hard being at home. I do both right now--working 20 hrs/week, so half the time I'm on baby care duty, half the time at work. And I gotta say, going to work feels like I'm "off duty". It's easier, for me. I love being home with my baby, but it's really nice to go to work, too. For a break. And he is a peculiarly "easy" baby. It's still easier to be at work. For me.
This particularly rings true:
I admit that prior to having a baby, I thought being a SAHM was a cop-out. I wondered why a woman would want to give up the level of independence that a job provides, allowing the husband to have all of the financial control. Now that I've done the SAHM thing, I have the very highest respect for women that choose to do it. It's not at all for me, but I understand the amount of effort that is required to do it. I want to go back to my job to do less work than I do at home!

Bon said...

here in Canada, anyone who's worked more than 600 hours in the year previous to delivery can get a full 50 weeks of government-paid parental/maternity leave...35 weeks of which can actually be taken by dad or by a second non-baby-bearing mom in a same sex couple. the loot, while not largess so bountiful as to make me run out and breed more right away, is still enough to make a difference - about $1400 a month. mine ends in two months.

and then i need to figure out whether we can make a go of it with me taking p/t sessional teaching, or whether i need a f/t job. i've been doing some work from home over the past ten months and it's harder than i thought - hard to find the time and focus. yet i do like being home with O...and yet we like having money to spend...and yet sometimes i watch O's dad go off to work and i think "you lucky bastard"...so...many things to weigh.

Anonymous said...

If you can afford to be a SAHM, simply go for it.

My spouse became a SAHM when ours girl was born 5 years ago. She did not discuss her choice with me, but I support it. My complaint is that she takes my approving of her being a SAHM for granted. I hear no gratitude expressed about the happy opportunities my complaisant attitude makes possible. Several colleagues and friends have criticised my unwillingness to demand that the mother of my child go back to work, as soon as breastfeeding stopped. (They never dreamed, however, that she would breastfeed for a little over 3 years!)

Would I have agreed to give up my career to become a SAHD? Yes, if my spouse had a job paying US$60 or more. My job pays a good deal less than that, and I have a fair bit of investment income I can contribute to the family budget willy nilly.

Even though 14 weeks paid parental leave is the law where I live and work, my boss urged me to forego taking any leave. Two years later, he boasted of the way he had convinced HR to give him extra workload points in lieu of leave. My requests that I too be offered points in lieu have fallen on deaf ears. My spouse is quite disgruntled by this politically incorrect behaviour on my employer's part.

Jacqueline said...

This post resonated so strongly with me I could have written it! I went back to work when my (now 18 months old) son was 13 months old. Here in Canada we get very generous mat leave provisions. I could not wait to get back to work. It is not the money, but I love my job as a high school teacher.

I feel no guilt, only happiness and pleasure at my professional achievement. My son is thriving in daycare. It is all good and I do not regret one second of it. :-D