Q I’m a single parent and my little girl is now a few months old. I got pregnant by accident and I’m not with the dad any longer. I went ahead with the pregnancy alone and I do love my daughter – I just don’t love being a mum.
I’m also a business women and I’m established enough to have others to run things for me whilst I’ve been on maternity leave. My business has been my ‘baby’ for seven years now and I need to get back to work. My brain feels like it’s turning to jelly!
I feel so guilty at leaving my little girl with my mum and my sister – although I know she’s in safe hands. This dilemma has been holding me back from really pushing myself and my business forward in the way that’s needed. Am I being selfish? What should come first, my business or my baby?
A It’s not about what comes first, as much as where you want to put your energy and time.
Not every woman is cut out for business and not every mother is cut out for being a stay at home mum.
It’s important to know where you function best, as well as ensuring that your daughter has strong emotional attachments to whoever is caring for her. She needs to feel safe and loved – and that doesn’t have to be from you alone.
You don’t say what your mum is like so I’m assuming that you trust her to be a good carer for your daughter. You should take into consideration your mum’s age, health and personal needs too. She may feel obliged to help you more than she’d prefer to – so you need to have a real conversation with her about what she does and doesn’t want to do. Same with your sister.
It sounds as though you have trust in your business support staff, and when you do go back to work perhaps a compromise would be to keep some of that maternity support still in place.
This will free up some time, and you’ll have a better overview of your work-life balance. You may find that you want to spend more time with your daughter. It’s all about balance, responsibility, choice and fulfilment.
So let the guilt go – it’s a waste of energy. Instead focus upon the times you can spend with your daughter and the future you are creating for her. Hopefully your mum and sister and be a part of your shared family outings too.
As long as your daughter is loved and has time, attention and care she will be fine; and you can continue to build your business around you and your family’s needs.
Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy)