Thursday, September 3, 2015

Got Mom Guilt?

"I'm at Starbucks. Alone. And blogging. Help me! Do you have mom guilt?" 

The statement above is a true statement I just texted to my best friend. I am at Starbucks. I have an entire afternoon that I can sit here alone blogging, drinking yummy coffee and writing until my heart's content. And I feel terrible about it. 

Let me be clear. My kids are with my husband who is an amazing dad. They look up to him and truly WANT to be the center of their daddy's world. He's fully capable of caring for them without me and I know they'll be entertained, fed, changed, and cared for. However, even though I know they're safe, there's a part of me thinking "but that's your job". 

Before I had kids, I had a career with daily adult interaction, fancy lunches, regularly ate out with my husband, and took fun trips with him. We went out on dates at least once a week. I had a dog but rarely went anywhere I couldn't take her and when I did, while I missed her, I always found someone I knew would take excellent care of her. Rarely did I ever feel guilty for anything. Now, it's a regular feeling for me. 

My friend's response? "Of course! Every time I have a free moment I'm constantly worried I'm forgetting someone. But what kind of mom wouldn't have mom guilt"?

She's right! Why wouldn't I have mom guilt? There's so many things to feel guilty about:

  • I didn't spend enough time playing with the kids.
  • I should read them more books.
  • I cleaned the house but I didn't spend enough time playing or working with the kids.
  • I played with the kids but the house is a wreck, the dishes aren't washed and the laundry isn't done.
  • I didn't take them outside to play.
  • I took them outside to play and Daniel cut his foot open and Evelyn got bit by ants.
  • I took them outside to play and they cried when we had to come inside.
  • I let them eat cookies before supper. 
  • I never let them have treats. 
  • I'm not strict enough with them.
  • I didn't hug that one enough.
  • I yelled.
  • I use the TV as a babysitter sometimes.
  • I would be a better mom if I got out of the house more often.
  • So many people would kill to be a stay at home mom. I am and sometimes I wish I could work. 
  • I'm at Starbucks so I can sit and do what I enjoy but they cried when I left. 
  • I spent $20 on a new outfit for me but the kids could really use some new pajamas.
Basically, anything I do or think about doing can turn into a reason for me to feel guilty. When my husband told me to leave today, he did it because he knows I've talked about wanting to get a few hours alone a week to focus on my blog, writing and doing things that I enjoy and love. Yet when he told me to go, I imagined that most women probably would have grabbed their purse and laptop, given everyone a kiss goodbye, and then let the tires squeal on their way out of the driveway. At least, that's what I wanted to do. Instead, I dawdled. I probably asked him a thousand times if he was serious, if he would be mad, if he felt like he could handle it, etc.! The truth is, a few hours to myself will probably do all six of us some good so I can come back feeling refreshed, relaxed and be a better wife, mother, and person in general. 

Often, we're told not to feel guilt as mommies. I disagree. I think Mom Guilt is something that God gives to us to help us be better moms. When I sit and think about my own mom, my friends who are AMAZING moms, and other mom role models in my life, I can see how they too have struggled with guilt that comes with the job description. The way I see it, when I stop feeling the guilt, that's when I have a problem because it means I've stopped caring. And I'm okay with the guilt. I will continue to question every decision I make for the rest of my life because there are five other lives it affects. And the wife and mother in me chooses to put them first even when I struggle with jealousy and yes, sometimes selfishness. 

What about you? What are your biggest sources of mommy guilt?




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