Friday, July 2, 2010

Mommy Guilt.

I lay in bed at the end of a long day and I begin to feel it. This overwhelming sense of guilt. 'Mommy Guilt.'
She asks me through the day, "Mommy will you snuggle with me?" And I do. But then minutes later the laundry is done rinsing and needs to be put in the dryer. I look towards the sink and see that last night's dishes need to be washed. The dog needs to be let out and the counters need wiped down.
My mind gets distracted with tasks other than her.
And I feel it in the silence, late at night.

Each morning my little guy wakes up and marches his way toward the couch for some cartoon time. It is the only time of day when his voice is still; the room is quiet.
I want badly to spend an hour laying with him on the couch but my body aches from a night of restless sleep anyway. I get my breakfast and sit at the computer. If he asks for me, I go. Otherwise, I allow him the stillness because it doesn't last long.
But as the day creeps on, I long for that moment back. Wishing I would have just been in the midst with him.

I'm the kind of mom [& person] that feels like I give my all and yet somehow convinces myself that it's not enough. I'm the mom who stays home with my children day in and day out and feels extremely guilty when I need a break. I get out of the house only to feel bad for leaving; rush through what needs to get finished and hurry home to see them again.

I know that feeling this way is somewhat normal for all moms. Or maybe it isn't. All I know is that my children are only this size for a short time. Our days are already being stolen so quickly and I don't want to be robbed of time with them.
I am blessed to stay home with them everyday and I never want to take it for granted.
This computer, the telephone, or even housework should never be more important.
And yet, sometimes they take the place of precious moments with my children.
And I hate that I allow it to happen.

Will I ever not feel this sense of urgency with my children?
Will I ever not feel this extreme guilt?
Because the truth is, even though I feel it, I often don't change what I'm doing.
I could color more, tickle more, play trucks more, lounge around more.
I could be doing more.
All I ever feel is that I could be doing more.
It overwhelms me and exhausts me because I want to do more and yet I do not.

The question then becomes in my mind...
Could I truly do more or have I set myself up for failure no matter what?
Am I doing enough? Will it EVER be enough to make me not feel this way?
Is it about how I feel or how the kids feel at the end of the day?
Do they feel a void?

Probably not.
But I hate the thought.
And I hate the guilt.

Do you have mommy guilt?
If so, how does it manifest in you?
What do you wish you were doing better or more of?


Becky said...

I understand the mommy guilt but I am also able to understand that I can't give the boys my best if I haven't taken some time for myself every now and then. I need that time to regroup and breath, and they are much happier because of it. After some me time I am always more willing and able to give them so much more of myself. It is much easier to get down and play or watch the same movie over again or help with homework or games or just answer those bizarre questions that they may have been pondering over all day once I have recharged my mommy battery. Once the kids are a little older they will understand that everyone including them needs a little time to themselves. So try not to feel so guilty instead try to remeber that your taking that time not just for yourself but for them as well.

Rachel said...

Obviously I only feel twinges of the mommy guilt right now because Harper doesn't want to "do" much of anything However, like I told you a few days ago I rush through the store only to hurry back and feel like maybe I shouldn't have left, and she probably knew I went out and her feelings were probably hurt and holy cow, how could I dare to be such a bad mom to go get milk?

What I'm trying to tell myself and think to myself for now and in the future is that housework and chores are a lesson to our children - and you've been teaching Nora those things already! How sad would it be to have an 8 year old little girl who you play with all day but is too embarassed to bring a friend over because mommy let all the housework go to spend time nonstop playing. Children(I think) like the structure of "ok, mommy does this, so I need to do this, etc). You are teaching them self-coping when you leave even for just a small amount of time-and that will pay dividends in their future! They know you leave, but always come home. You clean, but you return to play. You watch a show, but then there's cuddle time.

You do TERRIFIC Rame. You always stop to listen! I think it's totally normal to feel this way, Lord knows I feel it already. We make it harder on ourselves, I believe. I can only recall teenage years when I "wish" my mom would have done things with me, never toddler or baby years so I think our children will be just fine too :)(so easy to say, I know)They're so resilient and forgiving-childlike faith, but also christ-like love and innocence, ya know? Most importantly, you teach them Christ and He IS enough!

I love you... you are soo more than enough for those babies!

Amanda said...

Like most of your posts, this speaks to my heart-and most mommys. "Mommy guilt" is a hot topic on my mom board. There just never seems to be enough of us or time in the day. Our kids do grow too fast and sometimes-more times than we like-we're behind a camera lens documenting milestones without actually taking time to celebrate, outfitting their growing bodies without relishing the times when they were little, or feeding hungry and growing bodies without enjoying special mealtimes. We, as women, carry a large load and it is haevy on our mother hearts. When "mommy guilt" is too much for me sometimes, I stop and think of what I am doing like this: my choring and cleaning and cooking and job may take me away from my children for a bit, but by doing all of those things I deem work, I am making their lives better. I am giving them a clean home, full bellies and providing them with clothing, food and fun activities with my paychecks. So, yes, we are physically away from their presence when doing all these things, but their mental, physical and spiritual growth is being noursished and that is something not to be taken lightly. Just by concerning yourself with this shows you're a great mom and someone who cares just that much for your children.