One of the hardest parts of being a mom or life in general is all the guilt we carry. At least for me it is. I just pile on the guilt, some of it legitimate, some completely unnecessary. No wonder my posture is so bad…might be all the guilt weighing me down!
There’s working mom guilt which I experienced a lot. There are things you miss out as a working parent or things you know you would spend more time on with your kids if you didn’t work but it is what it is. I got better in the past two years of not worrying about this as much. And I’m also very fortunate that my job is generally pretty flexible since I run facilities open almost all day every day and can work around that schedule.
Since my cancer diagnosis I have had non-working guilt. This sounds crazy right? Well here’s some of the thoughts I’ve had related to this.
I feel bad I left things not transitioned and complete at work. I started treatment quickly and was pregnant so it was recommended by my treatment team to stop working right away. I felt terrible that the spring schedule wasn’t completely set for our pool and that I couldn’t work with the sports teams I was going to train but it was out of my control.
I have mentioned this several times before, one doctor told me that this year I need to be in “save your life mode.” And she’s so right. It may mean unpaid leave, insurance we have to pay into, but I can’t work now.
Initially I wanted to keep working to stay busy. Little did I know how rough and exhausting chemo really is. And it’s not just physically, but mentally. It was so draining emotionally which added to the exhaustion. It was hard to concentrate on anything initially as I tried to process the diagnosis.
There is guilt I’ve been out this long. I’ve had 16 weeks of chemo, 12 after the baby and a few weeks later will have a bilateral mastectomy which will require a long recovery. Again, there’s nothing I can do. So I need to stop worrying. One step at a time.
There’s guilt I don’t get enough done cleaning around the house since I’m home. I try when I have the energy but I often get tired and need to stop and nap. The time I can do this is also only when we have a sitter or someone else watching the kids so I have a very limited window to be productive. Once again not something I should worry about.
I worry I have been spoiled and the return to work will be rough because I spend so much time napping, sleeping and lying around. But I’ve been trying to listen to my body and rest which is not an easy thing for someone like me who is always on the move. But rest is what I need right now as I deal with the fatigue from the chemo.
I will also miss the extra time I have been able to have, which has mostly been with Reese, Alice and Bryce since the boys are in school. But I will still be able to spend time with them and hopefully I can continue to have a flexible schedule to also allow me to do this. So again something I don’t need to worry about right now.
Right now I am avoiding even more exhaustion if I worked. The chemo was so tiring and I have a physical job where I’m walking around a lot and I also do conditioning with teams. I can sleep and rest as I need to now which I can do since I’m home.
Another thing I’m avoiding being home is extra stress. All work has stress. As a manager of two facilities, there’s a lot of stress. Staffing was short before I left and I know is worse now. Our pool was booked solid which was very hard to schedule but I got it done. Our schedule is very different now and it’s something I’ll have to sort out again. There was pressure from swim teams to find more pool time, complaints to field from members, facilities to keep clean, team workouts to plan, constant Covid adjustments, to name a few work stresses. Things right now I don’t need to worry about.
I have a lot on my plate. Adding all this on top of undergoing chemo, preparing for a mastectomy all with a newborn and four other kids would be more than a lot, it would be overwhelming. There’s many medical appointments on top of this to schedule adding to the stress.
And yet I still have what I’m calling non-working guilt. I need to stop worrying about when I’ll return and how things are now or will be at work. I need to stop worrying about how tired and hard it will be when I return and how much I’ll miss the kids and how nice it is to be home now.
There is enough for me to worry about and this guilt needs to go away. I need to focus on the big picture and goals. This year is about saving my life and if that means taking a lot of time off from work and resting a lot, that’s all I need to worry about and focus on. Work will always be there but it won’t matter if I don’t take care of myself and do what is best for me right now, no matter how guilty I feel.
#nonworkingguilt #workingmom #chemo #chemotherapy #cancerstress #onetoughmother