Friday, February 18, 2011

On "mommy guilt" and being selfish

A long time ago - way before Grace - someone told me I was too selfish to be a mom.


Okay. Not a nice thing to say, it was probably true at the time. I don't think I had any concept of what it truly takes to be a good parent. I never realized how much of who you are and what you need takes a backseat to providing for your child. I am sure not everyone is this way. I know first hand from the job I do that there are a lot of bad parents out there. But, never one to do something halfway, I have tried to be as good as possible with Grace. Along the way, that has meant putting myself last for the almost three years that she has been home. The "mommy guilt" sets in when I think about going shopping, working out, or doing anything that might not be focused on what Grace needs at the time. Usually it is because there just isn't time to get everything done. So, in trying to have the highest standards for myself as a parent, my standards for other things - work, keeping the house clean, running, pulling weeds in the yard, shoveling the driveway - have suffered. Most of the time it doesn't matter. Really, who cares if I let the laundry sit for a week if it means I am present to play hide and seek with Grace? But, lately I keep thinking "this isn't a sprint - it's a marathon" and I have to find a way to add back some of the things I enjoyed "BG" (Before Grace). Things just for me. Maybe it is okay to be a little selfish sometimes.

That is hard to do. Kyle and I try to have a date without Grace at least once a month. But, I am still thinking about her and feeling guilty that I am not home with her. Sometimes after work I consider going for a run but then feel sorry that Grace's day at preschool is longer than my day at work and I go pick her up instead. I have been wanting to take a photography class, but doing so would mean one night per week that I am not around and I value those few precious hours we have together each day too much to sacrifice them. And a massage and facial would feel so good, but I could also use that money for some type of enriching class for Grace.

I know I am supposed to have balance. I know that doing things for myself and separating from her sometimes will refresh me and make me a better mom. I know that she is fine at preschool and taking 30 minutes to run after work will not make a difference.

I know.

I know.

Last night, Kyle and I went to see Sting perform in concert at a small venue. It was a special promotion put on by a credit company and friends invited us to attend. We had short notice and all of the Mommy Guilt in me came rushing forward when I first considered it. But we went and it was the first time in almost three years that I truly relaxed and wasn't a mom for a few hours. It was certainly worth it as that performance and the amenities (open bar and appetizers) provided made for one of the best concert experiences ever!

I am not sure if I will go for any spa treatments, take a photography class, or shop anywhere that sells clothes for grown-ups in the near future. But I am really glad I allowed myself the time to have fun last night.

Today, I am back to being "mommy" - a tired, happy one who is surviving on only 4 hours of sleep!


Susan said...

I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Glad you guys had a fun night -- it's important to take care of yourself, too!

aamayna said...

Wow that sounds like a FUN concert!!! Glad you went! I know those feelings too....sigh.

cb said...

You where always a Mom; even when you played with your dolls. Silly is the person who said those words.
Grace will always be happy, even when you are not there with her for a little while, you made her the person she is,funny & happy.PS I knew who Sting was!!

Phyllis said...

This one is for Mommy, Grace. Lynn, I always knew you would be a great were NEVER selfish, at least as far as I could see. Always take time for you, because without YOU, there would be no Grace. She is a true reflection of who you are: wonderful, artistic, curious and loving. Keep going to those concerts, Sting is amazing.

The Riggs Family said...

Jealous of the concert! And making time for you only makes you an even better Mommy. I totally identify with the "mommy guilt" though. I think I find it easier to do things for myself when I'm off in the summers b/c I get more time with the kids. From what I read on your blog, you're doing a great job with Grace! She is one lucky little girl.