While I no longer feel the crippling affects of postpartum hormones, the thing I can’t shake is Mom Guilt.
I think you just rolled your eyes at me. Mom guilt? How trite, you’re thinking. Moms can’t stop blathering about feeling guilty for working, for not working, for not serving super healthy meals, for letting kids watch TV, for buying non-organic animal crackers, for this and for that.
Well, this post is not about that kind of guilt. I don’t feel guilt about those things. I’m doing the best I can over here. There’s only one mama. Until I can get one of those Sister Wives I see on TLC.
Anyway, this type of guilt runs deeper. It’s about how I feel I have to be present for my daughter at all times. That every time I take time for myself, I am taking away from her. That needing time to myself makes me a bad mom.
I didn’t leave Kate until she was well over eight months. And then it was only for maybe an hour, mostly when she was already in bed. Then I stopped nursing and she took a sippy cup at 11 months, so I extended my time out by an hour here or there.
And everyone said, “isn’t she with Dan/your in laws/your parents?” She’ll be fine!
I know that! I know she’ll be fine.
It’s me I’m not so sure about.
But sometimes this mama feels like she’s got to get out with girlfriends or even just take a nice, leisurely trip to Target by herself, so she can browse instead of run through the store like a star on Supermarket Sweep.
It feels good to be alone. Until I feel that invisible appendage tug at my heart. I shouldn’t feel the need for a break. That must mean I’m a terrible mother.
While I know logically all moms need a break from childrearing, I can’t help but feel like I am taking from Kate. Mothering is so much about giving of yourself that it’s hard for me to see when I’m giving too much at the expense of myself.
When I do take time for myself, it feels refreshing. Without Kate, I can focus on my work. I like using my talents and strengths. And I also love remembering who Sarah is when I have the time to work on the blog, put together a craft, chit chat with friends over an overpriced cup of coffee.
It’s so easy to get lost in motherhood. So you give and give and give to the point of exhaustion. And maybe resentment. And definitely until you find yourself humming the tune to “Elmo’s World.”
So I’m challenging myself to use my Kate-free time to recharge instead of feel guilty, so when we reunite, I am a better mama. How can I be a good mom if I’m drained? You know how on airplanes you are supposed to put on your oxygen mask before putting the mask on your child? Why do you think they want parents to do that? So they can be at their best. So that when they need to help their kids, they aren’t so deprived of oxygen they can’t function.
There’s a lesson in there, I think. So instead of feeling guilty for taking time for myself to recharge, I’ll use that time to focus on me. Oxygenate my myself. And that makes me a good mother.