One of the things I promised myself upon turning 29 was dropping the guilt I feel when I take some time to myself. Is “mom guilt” a thing? Do you other moms feel it? Am I just batshit crazy?
I never want to leave Mark with both kids running rampant, so I always try to leave during one of their nap times and stress over making it back before they wake up. Like hauling ass through the grocery store picking things off shelves before I know Cora will be up. I have no idea why. Mark is fully capable of taking care of both kids and I trust him 100%, but I feel immensely guilty the entire time I’m gone. I leave to go to Starbucks to write up blog posts and literally can’t focus on writing because I’m terrified the shit will hit the fan while I’m away.
In grand retrospect, I think I worry this because it’s happened to me enough times. Mark would be at work or having lunch with a friend or something and everything in our house would go to hell. A few months ago there was a whole diarrhea / vomiting / fit-throwing escapade for a couple of hours that involved me and both kids and I still haven’t fully recovered from it. I did so many stressful bedtime routines while Mark was away for a job that I’m terrified to let him do the whole routine. (Even though now the kids are a breeze to put down for the night…at one point both kids screamed bloody murder during baths, Dexter had to be rocked to sleep while Cora screamed bloody murder some more in the hall, then she’d scream bloody murder after I put her in bed, and then Dexter would wake up screaming bloody murder riiiiight after Cora chilled out. Wouldn’t go back to those days for anything. Went on a tangent there, sorry not sorry.) Again, not because I don’t trust him. I just literally hate to put him through it.. Wait, is this what having a heart feels like?
I know myself well enough to know that time away from the house and away from the kids is good for me. It sounds nuts, but I literally need it. After too long of being with anyone I legitimately go insane and I have to get away. My brain literally just replays the phrase “I need to leave, I need to leave, I need to leave..” I get short with the kids, I find stupid things to get mad at Mark about, I take everything personally, and I find myself missing the days when I lived alone. And even then…even when I know I have nothing left to give…I stay home and “mom”. Because I feel like there’s some part of me that has to, for whatever reason. Like it’s my job as a mom to be at everyone’s beck and call.
The times I do leave, for just a few hours, I come home a completely different person. I genuinely start to miss my kids after an hour. I’m ready to tackle chores without feeling salty about it, I’m ready to play with the kids, I’m ready to laugh with Mark, and I just mentally feel better. So why don’t I do it more often? “Mom guilt” remains the biggest mystery in motherhood for me.