Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mommy's Guilt...It's Gotta Go!

Being a new mommy means a lot of change, I repeat, a lot of change. You know how people say your life kind of ends when you have kids? Well, they are sort of right.  It isn't a bad end by any means, I think it is rather amazing, but it does take some adjusting to. The time you once had for a social life, leisurely walks through Target and watching a recorded show or two are gone. Your world now revolves around those little people in your life who depend on you for everything (especially if you are a breast feeding mommy like myself). With all that change comes a lot of different emotions...including guilt.

While I desperately wish I could stay home with my babies, it just isn't in the cards for my family at this time.  It is something we plan to work towards, but for now, I continue to work full time.  I am very lucky since my hours are short and the school year offers lots of time off (yay summer!). So, even though my heart wants to be with my boys, my glass is more than half full despite working. But for some reason, I still have a nagging guilt each day while I am away from them.

Before having kids I would often stay a bit after school and get some extra work done, hit the gym then run a few errands. Now, I am out the door and in my car as soon as possible, racing home to make it in time to nurse my boys for their afternoon nap. Once we have snuggled and I've put them down I get organized.  Just when thoughts of a quick solo run around the neighborhood or an efficient trip to Costco crosses my mind, they are up and ready to play.  Well, there goes that idea. I reassess my afternoon and build in my boys into all my activities. But sometimes, I need a little "me" time. Being at work doesn't really qualify. Yes, I am away from my angels, but I wouldn't quite qualify it as "me" time.

When I start to contemplate taking a bit of time for myself after work, I suddenly feel a huge tidal wave of guilt for even thinking it. I was away all day, how on Earth could I even think about leaving them for another 30 minutes?! The more I think about it the more guilt I feel. Suddenly, the mere thought of doing anything alone makes me feel sick. I start to feel guilty about going to teach my fitness classes. I feel guilty wanting to set up an appointment for my bi-monthly manicure. I feel guilty going wanting to make plans with friends...I just feel guilty all the time! I get practically nauseated at the thought of asking my wonderful Thriving Husband or Godsend of a Thriving Mommy to watch the boys while I sprint out to knock out an errand or two (as you know you can get a lot more done when you are alone). I do my best to work up the courage to ask if I can sneak away for a bit and suddenly, I feel the swell of guilt rise up inside me. You leave? Again? You just got home!

I am sure we all have felt like that at one time or another...I think my TH feels like this often, he is home a ton with the boys!
Why do I feel this crazy sense of guilt? Going to work is something that I have to do, so should I still get to do things I want to do? Well, my answer is a hesitant and questionable...yes? I think it should be YES. The guilt, well it. has. got. to. go. I in no way want to be galavanting out and about, but I do think it is appropriate for me (and all mommies) to have a little solo time. If you don't you are going to lose your mind.  To truly thrive you have to be able to put yourself first sometimes...and that is ok.  I also think that the Thriving Daddies and the Thriving Grand-Majesties deserve some solo time after a long baby filled day too. I am happy to take turns, but I think for everyone in the family to thrive there has got to be some time to ourselves...and again, that is ok.

When I start to feel those pesky feelings, I take a breath and remember that I am a dedicated mommy and it is ok to take care of myself and NOT feel guilty about it. It is ok to leave the boys for additional time after work and I shouldn't beat myself up about it...especially because it isn't all that often. But should I need that extra 30 minutes for a long run after a hard day at work, all will be fine.  If I want to sneak away to a meditation session for an hour on a Sunday evening...the world won't end and my TH won't hate me, all will be fine.  Mommies deserve a guilt free break too, so it is time to own it and enjoy it!

Do you feel guilty being away from your children? Is it work only or all the time?

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