I want to put all that I am feeling down in this blog entry, but I feel like I can’t quite adequately explain what I have been experiencing this last month (also, I don’t want to scare off the sane moms).
I feel guilt all the time.
In the mornings, when Nunu is fast asleep and tucked under the covers snoring softly, and I have to shake him awake because I have to get to work on time, I feel guilt. I feel guilt as I put him in his playpen so that I can get dressed for work and slap some make up on my face.
I feel guilty when I have to wrestle Nunu into his car seat and have zero patience because I’m running late and can’t miss my morning meeting.
I feel guilty as I wave goodbye to him in the mornings and he’s only too happy to go to my mom/his day mom because he probably sees more of them than he does of me.
I feel guilty as I look at my work schedule and realize with dread that I will be missing two Saturdays in a row with Nunu as I have work commitments. And that the following Friday I will be missing his bedtime because I have another work function.
I feel guilty if I spend just a little time on myself. I’ve always loved doing my nails, but now I sit there at Sorbet with a guilty heart because how dare I not be spending every free moment with Nunu? How dare I indulge in getting a mani and spending an hour away from Nunu? I wait months to get my hair done because can I really justify 2+ hours on myself at the hair salon?
I feel guilty when I fetch Nunu and he cries because he doesn’t want to come to me. That leaves such a hard lump in my throat and sometimes I have to fight back the tears and force a smile.
I feel guilty when I get home and I’m exhausted from work. I force myself to try and do something fun with him every afternoon, like painting, a trike walk or playdough time.
And before I know it, it’s bedtime. And the guilt begins again at 5am the next morning, when my adorable Nunu pokes me in the face and says “Mama”.
I know that some of my mom guilt is irrational, but I am struggling with a healthy work/family balance at the moment. My goal for this year is to focus more on my family and to not put my entire being into my career. Being a teacher, this isn’t easy because you give of yourself emotionally all day. When you get home, you’re mentally exhausted. I love being a teacher and I feel it is at the very core of who I am. I don’t know who I would be, if I wasn’t a teacher.
But this mom guilt is a terrible thing. It sits with you all the time, a weight on your shoulders that you can’t quite shake.
As moms, we constantly berate ourselves. We judge our performance as moms on the time we spend with our kids, what we buy them and how we speak to them. We are critical of all that we do and live in constant fear of being “mom shamed” by others.
Instead we should focus on QUALITY versus QUANTITY. I often feel immense guilt because I only have a short time to spend with Nunu each day. Why am I so hard on myself? Yes, it may only be two hours, but it’s two hours well spent. I feed him dinner, take him for a walk in his trike, try to do something “educational” like a puzzle or painting a picture, I bath him and play games in the water and read him a story before bedtime.
From now on, I am going to embrace this theory. Quality versus quantity. I need to be kinder to myself too.