...because we all have our motley moments!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I knew moms could dish guilt and I'm sure I'll be guilty (ha - no pun intended) of that in the very near future if I'm not already, but I was not prepared for the amount of guilt I feel on a regular basis as a mother. Recently my husband's uncle died and he drove up to South Carolina for the funeral. He was gone 3 full days and during that time my good friend Lori came over to help me with the kids. Let me just say, having a live-in babysitter is great! One night I went to tae kwon do class while Lori put the kids to bed and the next night I went to kickboxing while she watched them and after I got home I hired a teenager to put them to bed and Lori and I went out with some other ladies for margaritas! The next morning I said to Lori, "I should mow the grass. Will you hang out for a little while so I can do that?" It was terrific, but boy, did I feel guilty. That's a lot of babysitting for my kids to endure. At the same time, my kids love Lori and she loves them. Same with Kelli, the teenager who kept them for Margarita Friday. Plus, I spend a lot of time with my kids. A LOT. I'm with them all day, every day. And by no means do I think working mothers who put their kids in daycare should feel bad about it, so why do I feel so guilty about leaving my kids with a babysitter for a couple of hours to go out with friends or my husband or to exercise, babysitters that they love and who love them?
Another thing that makes me feel guilty is when I deny my kids something so I can have something else. Not material goods, usually it's activities. My son loves to watch train videos on YouTube. I like to blog and waste time on Facebook. Still, sometimes I feel guilty telling him no, go play when I'm on the computer and he wants it.
Ugh, mother guilt. I never knew it was so bad on the other side.
Someone asked me once how I want my children to see me. I said I want them to think I'm strong, intelligent, and tough. So maybe I should stop feeling guilty. After all, what I show them when I leave them with babysitters are these things: It's important for Mommy and Daddy to spend time together without you; our marriage matters. Mommy needs to exercise; exercise is important for all of us. Mommy needs time with her friends; we all need good friends. Also, it is not safe for you to be in the yard while someone is using a lawn mower!


Rachel said...

Not to make light of your post, but I just watched The Nanny Diaries, and if you ever start feeling guilty again it is a sure-fire cure. Are there really mothers out there like that?

I can relate to your sense of guilt, and I'll add something to it: apprehension. I have a moment of hesitation before leaving our son with anyone for anything, even if it's with my husband while I run to the grocery store. I'm supposed to travel to a conference in September without my family, and I'm already starting to feel nervous about going. It's not that I think their world would stop turning without me, it's just that there are so many "what if's" that come to mind if I'm not careful. I think becoming a mom has opened the door to a new sense of self for me, and that's good in some cases, bad in others.

So, all that said, it is important for our kids to know and trust other (trusted) people, and we should probably not feel too guilty allowing that to happen, no matter what the reason. Start worrying when you miss a school play because you're getting your nails done or when your kids start calling someone else, "Mommy." ;)

Liz said...

Okay, Rachel, I read your whole comment and I like it, but the part I picked up on was this: You're leaving your family for a whole weekend? How do you get to do that??? Lucky ducky...
I agree a lot with your last paragraph and I firmly believe that the more positive adult role models my kids have, the better.

Lindsay said...

I have a little bit different kind of guilt. I DON'T feel guilty for leaving my kids with a sitter for a night out, or even on a 10 day vacation with my hubby (we did this in '06). But I DO feel guilty because I don't feel guilty....does that make since? I am not the worrying kind of mom at all. I just don't worry when I'm gone, but then I hear all of these moms talking about how they hate leaving their kids, which them makes me feel "guilty". What kind of horrible mother am I that actually enjoys and looks forward to leaving my kids..... I mean I stay home with them 24/7 98% of the time. I don't leave them very often, so when I do, I am so excited about it. And I trust the people I leave them with (usually my parents) 100%. Plus all the reasons others have listed, important for marriage, bonding time with grandparents/other adults.....

Liz said...

Lindsay, that's one of the things I admire most about you - that you're so laid-back. Seriously. Don't feel guilty - enjoy that time away from your kiddos!

Maria said...

Yes. The mommy guilt can be tough. I have it too, but it doesn't stop me from having some me time. It keeps me sane.

As far as getting away for a weekend, as Nike says, Just do it! No one is going to arrange something like that for you - NO ONE! I try to be sensitive to my hubby's work schedule and such, but every few months, I NEED TO GET AWAY!

Do I feel a little guilty? YES! But I see it as a planned running away from home and then I always look forward to coming back.

Once a year a friend of mine from highschool and I go to the beach and chill and eat dinner and talk, talk, talk. It's great! We sleep in late and do absolutely nothing but hang out. It's great. We look forward to it each year.

It's also good for daddy. He totally appreciates me when I get home and the kids LOVE having him all to themselves. He spoils the snot out of them and that's OK.