Ugh, can we talk about this thing called “mom guilt”? Are all moms born with it, and then it lies dormant in the inner parts of our souls until having a baby magically releases it to the surface? And not only does it just rise to the surface, it shoots out all over messing with our hearts, brains, and inner psyche!
Now, the mom guilt I am talking about is definitely not the “oh, my child’s first birthday party didn’t turn out exactly like the one I saved on Pinterest!” As you all know, I ain’t got time for that! It’s also not because I feed my kids Kraft Mac & Cheese instead of homegrown wheat and bean patties with a sprinkle of chia seeds. It’s not the “I should’ve done this better, or I should’ve done that a different way” type of mom guilt. The type of mom guilt I experience all of the time is a little more subtle, and a little more basic. It starts with the fact that I ask my husband if it’s ok for me to take a shower.
Yes, I ask if it’s ok for me to take a shower. I’ve never asked permission to shower before, but now I all of a sudden feel bad for stepping away for a few minutes to take care of myself. I don’t know why I feel so guilty for taking a shower, but I feel the need to ask permission because I want to make sure the kids are all in a spot that they will not need me while I am gone. I want to make sure Mark doesn’t have anything on his agenda and it isn’t a burden to hang with the kids while I am away. Yes, they are his kids and he is not a babysitter, but I feel guilty stepping away.
Then, when I am in the shower and finally have a few minutes to myself, I am trying to take the fastest shower possible so I can get back downstairs. Honestly, they really do not need me, but that stupid ass mom guilt does not allow me to enjoy and take advantage of the time I have to myself . The same thing happens if I go out to dinner or happy hour with a friend. While I definitely love my time with girlfriends, I feel like I am constantly wondering what time it is and how long we’ve been there because I’m worried that I am needed at home. Most likely, everything is perfectly fine at home…..but what if it isnt!?? Is it ok that I’m out with a friend? Fuck you, mom guilt. Let me enjoy myself.
It is such a hard thing to explain. And, as I’ve said many times over and over, my hubby is a rock star. I would not be able to get through our crazy life with four kids (9 yrs, 3yrs, 2 yrs, and 6 months) without him, but HE DOES NOT GET IT. We had a moment this morning that showed me just how different moms and dads are. It was about 10am. I was still not showered, in my pjs, hadn’t brushed my teeth yet, and my hair was in a messy ponytail on top of my head. I had the kids fed, half of them dressed, and we had already worked as a family to do some cleaning up of the house. Mark and I were in our room putting laundry away and he says, “I’m going to go for a run, head to Target, then come home and work on the basement.” I looked at him and said, “well that must be nice. You have a nice little day planned for yourself.” I wasn’t trying to be a bitch, but I would never fathom to plan a whole day running errands and taking care of things by myself. Remember, I ask permission to take a shower. He looked at me and was not sure what to say. He says, “well, going for a run is a good thing because I’m getting healthy….and I’m going to Target to get groceries for the house…and we need to finish the basement before June…” Yes. Yes. and Yes. All true. But the fact that he doesn’t have any qualms about doing all these things by himself without checking to see if it’s ok and not having a worry in the world is the opposite of mom guilt. Really, I love that he wants to go on a run and I fully support that, and the fact that he does the grocery shopping is great, and we DO need to finally finish the basement. I want to go to Target by myself. I want to go on a run by myself. I want to reorganize my closet. But I do not do those things because mom guilt stops me from doing them.
Mark stood up, and walked away with a pissy look on his face. I was not trying to pick a fight or tell him he could not do all the things on his to-do list today. He does not need to ask me permission. Why do I feel that I need to ask permission? When I think about it, I am just jealous that I cannot freely do all the things on my to-do list, too. It’s not because he doesn’t support me doing them, it just that mom guilt makes it hard for me to say “hey, I’m heading out for a few hours, fend for yourself, peace out!” There is something internally prohibiting me from doing that, and it royally sucks.
All of you moms out there, any advice? Do you get what I’m trying to say? It’s so hard to put into words. How do you deal with mom guilt?