This week my husband and I celebrate our 8 year anniversary. Instead of doing the usually dinner date night, he arranged to have his parents come over during the day. He surprised me with a picnic by the water, a nice walk and just spending quality time together. It was one of those days that we drove, windows down and the music loud, you know, things you did pre kids. It was an amazing day, but I had to really work through some mom guilt. I felt guilty that it was a Saturday and my husband and I were choosing to lose one of our family days. Although the kids were happy as can be to spend the day with their grandparents, I still felt guilty. That is MOMMMY GUILT.
If you are a mom then you know exactly what I am talking about. We feel guilty about everything. Prior to becoming a mom, I certainly had done things that I felt guilty about, but becoming a mom has taught me a whole new level of guilt. I feel guilty about things that I honestly didn’t even know you could feel guilty about (like wanting privacy in the bathroom!)
Since becoming a mom I have some completely irrational guilt and some rational guilt. Here is a list of some things that I feel guilty about on any given day…
1. Leaving the house when my kids are crying- GETS ME EVERY TIME.
2. Leaving the house and my kids not crying- I must have not given them enough attention today.
3. If someone gets hurts because I wasn’t watching- clearly it is realistic to watch both my kids EVERY SINGLE SECOND of everyday. (See you can feel guilty about going to the bathroom alone!)
4. I feel guilty that I work (part-time), enjoy my career and time away from my kids. But I also feel guilty that I do not stay home full-time and feel guilty that I do not work full-time.
5. I feel guilty my kids do not always eat healthy.
6. I feel guilty if I get frustrated at my kids.
7. I feel guilty if I choose to take time for myself.
I have lots of guilt. Most of this guilt should not exist. It is expectations that I have put on myself and I realize that. But I am working on that. However, the thing that I have the most guilt about though is how I react to my kids. If I get frustrated, upset, or feel like I deserve to get my own “check out time”, I do not like that about myself. We all have our moments but if those moments are more and more then something needs to change. Of course I feel guilty about leaving family time to take care of myself, but if I did not take time for myself I would lose it-and honestly it will be between the hours of 4pm-6pm when the kids are tired from a long day, hungry, crying and both need to be held while I cook dinner at the same time!
The reality is I don’t deal with guilt well. It is very unsettling to me and having it because of how I was to my kids is not okay for me. So if I need to leave (for a run, work or whatever) and they are upset, sure it feels horrible but so does getting frustrated at your kids too!
Sometimes it can be really hard to remember that they are kids in the midst of tantrums, exhaustion and crying, but they are just kids and doing what kids do. So how am I working through the mom guilt? Really just taking a little time for me, all things I have been writing out (running, eating healthier, learning to slow down, and letting go of expectations.) Spending the day with my husband to was a great way to do something to make us happy. My marriage is just as important as my children, which sometimes that can be forgotten in the midst of everyday life. Let this post be your justification of why you need time to rejuvenate. Share it with your partners to help them understand that it is not easy to always stay clam and collected. We all struggle but we can control our reactions better by doing something for ourselves.