Have kids, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. They NEVER mentioned the guilt I would feel.
And let me assure you, my kids do not fight fair! They can lay guilt on better than any grandmother I have EVER heard of!
Is this just mine?
I think they pulled babies out of me and then inserted a 6lb ball of guilt inside of me. Since Noah was born 9 years ago, it has grown exponentially, like a giant tumor. I’m working on shrinking it. I have even felt guilty for NOT feeling guilty! Seriously, what’s wrong with me??? I’ve got a feeling that if you’re worrying about being a good parent, you’re probably a GREAT parent.
Since I work night shift, they don’t understand (or if they do, they clearly do not care) that while they are sleeping so soundly in their beds, this tired momma is out working. When I get home in the morning and I’m about to fall asleep walking up the stairs, Avery sweetly says, “Mommy, don’t go to sleep. Why do you have to sleep?”
Geez, why does she have to be so cute?
I started going to yoga just before Christmas after it was suggested by my OB-GYN. On the mornings I go to yoga, I have left 30 minutes before class so that I can get out of the house before the little guilt machines wake up. If I don’t, they lay it on so thick, I don’t go. “Mommy, why do you have to go to yoga?” Stupid guilt. Most of the time I’m back before they even budge, which seems to make it acceptable in my head. They don’t get that it helps to keep what little bit of sanity I have left. It’s something I need to do for myself.
Recently, I decided something that has given me a new perspective. I’ve decided that if I take care of myself, I can be better in every other part of my life. If I take care of me, I can take care of them.
I’m giving myself permission to be a wife, a friend, a woman, not only Mom (Notice I didn’t say “just a mom” — there is no such thing). Moms, it’s TOTALLY OK to be a person. It’s OK to date your spouse. It’s alright to have a hobby. It’s acceptable to go to class you like or have a girl’s night or ANYthing that reminds you that you are not all runny noses, and pull ups and laundry. You are not only cooking dinner and picking up toys (that they literally drag right back out). I’m giving myself — and you — permission to not get swallowed up by the everyday little stuff that sometimes threatens to pull me under completely. It’s fine to be an adult with a life that isn’t only about the little people that rule your house.
At least once a week, my husband and I have a date night. We go eat dinner, talk about life, his business, what we’re going to do about Avery’s attitude (girls, right?!), me going back to school, how Noah’s homeschool is going and anything else that comes up. I used to feel guilty because I already spent time away working, and here I was, going to dinner with Jimmy and spending even more time away from them. You know what? Those nights and conversations have made me a more connected wife and that makes me a better mom. After everything we have been through, losing Zoe and then Heath, job changes, tough schedules, and all the other hard times that comes with living, this has become my lifeline. I really need that time with Jimmy to reconnect, to know that I’m not all alone in this existence and grief. All of it can sometimes feel very isolating and I need that time to breathe. Then, when I am with Noah and Avery, I’m actually WITH them. It’s really a win for everyone.
Don’t feel bad for taking care of you. If you don’t do it, who will? We all only get this one life. We don’t get do-overs. We don’t get to go back and fix it or to try again.
Do something for me. Give yourself permission to take a minute, an hour for yourself.
Choose yourself. Choose happy. Choose to be enough.