Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Let's talk about mommy guilt

We have all felt it...mommy guilt. It really is one of the worst feelings in the world I think. I had a huge dose of it this summer when I was put on bed rest at 25 weeks with the pregnancy of my daughter. My poor son (at that time two) had absolutely no idea why his usually semi-energetic mommy was suddenly in forever time out on the couch. He would ask me to do the simplest things like go get him a drink or help him with the potty and I had to tell him that I couldn't because I wasn't able to get up. He was so confused and distressed over the whole situation. After the birth of our daughter, if we would go out somewhere, my son would ask me, "Are you coming too mommy?" He would do this to me for months, he was so used to going places without me.

On Friday, I thought that me and the kids had a great day! We went to Starbucks for coffee and milk and shared fruit and yogurt for breakfast and then we headed to the new library so my son could get his first library card and spend some time reading and playing. I got home slightly behind schedule and started working as soon as I walked in the door.This is another area of huge mommy guilt for me, choosing to work from home. My son, in general, has adapted well to me and my decision to not give him all my attention all day long. But of course there are days when he can't understand why I can't put that track back together right at that moment or why he can't talk to me for 30 minutes because I'm making phone calls for a stinks.

So, mommy guilt. Do you ever have it because you really want some time all to yourself? I think that type of mommy guilt should have it's own category. Like, Friday night, I wanted to take a bath...all by myself. I had to sneak upstairs and hope that no one knew I was missing. WRONG! I just got in the tub, stretched out, got my book when I heard, "Can I get in the bath with you?" Sheesh! How did he find me so quick?! I found myself pleading with my son to leave me alone just I can be myself. How do you effectively explain this to a three year old? He finally said, "Okay mommy, I will. I will go back down to daddy." But not before he gave me his dolphin and a boat from his bathtub. So, he did leave, but I wasn't left feeling happy about my time alone, I felt horrible! Once more, guilt ridden. I felt so bad that I asked him to leave me alone just so I could get a bath. All he wanted to do was spend time with me and play in the bathtub and I shooed him away. What's wrong with me?

Then I realized, I'm a work at home mom, that's wrong with me. I constantly surround myself with my children (by choice) so that I can work at home and I can watch them grow with me. I shouldn't feel guilty for wanting some peace and quiet to myself; all parents deserve that time! So, what I learned is what I need to learn to deal with is the feeling of guilt. It's a natural feeling and very deal-able. The problem with guilt is it's an unsettling, almost achy feeling and it's hard to shake, but as parents we need to learn to shake it. In the end, the majority of things that we feel guilty about are good for the whole family. It may not feel good initially, but it probably has good intentions behind it. For instance, my bath: 1.) I needed a few moments to myself to de-stress and wind down from the day which creates harmony in me, 2.) It gave the kids a chance to hang with daddy for a bit and 3.) I was clean again!

Now you tell me, when was the last time you felt mommy guilt?


Lindsey said...

My daughter is almost a year old... I've dealt with mommy guilt too, believe me! But I'm a WAHM too - we need our break or we'll go crazy and be feeling some REAL mommy guilt for blowing up or something. Yep, we definitely need breaks to keep our sanity, lol. I don't get many of them really, but even doing something different like getting out for a walk with the baby in the stroller is a bit of a breather.

I'd say it's good daddy bonding time for your son while you go get your bath! :-) I've heard of kids understanding that everyone needs their "me time", not just mommy. Like when they get crabby, they understand that it's because they need their "me time". lol That's probably how our house will be because both my hubby and I like that. :-)

No more mommy guilt!

Rebecca L. Buscemi said...

Thanks so much for your post. We learn so much from each other don't we? What a great mommy support system!