Guilt. The dictionary describes it as “feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy”. Hmm…that’s a lot of fancy words…none of which my four-year-old understands. But, don’t underestimate her. She may not get the standard definition, but she sure knows how to make you feel guilty, or in four-year-old terms…poopy and sad.
Here’s the story…I recently went to visit a friend out of state to catch a concert. I know, such a horrible mother! My younger daughter was oblivious to my plans, but I wasn’t so lucky with her sister. You see, my older daughter could work for the FBI. Just like any child her age, she asks tons of questions and demands answers. She asks what we’re doing days before I even know. So, when she asked what we were doing on Thursday, I told her where I was going and that I wasn’t going to be back until the day after. Well, cue the dirty looks and inquisition. “Why do you have to go? Why are you coming home tomorrow? Where are you going to sleep?”…I could on and on. She didn’t like any of my answers. Fast forward to Thursday morning when she asked again what was going on, knowing full well the plans for the day. When I “refreshed” her memory…she said, and I quote, “Well, I’m not happy about that at all.” I admit, I laughed because I did not expect her to say that at all.
The time before I left was filled with plenty of tears and “mommy don’t go’s”. I felt like someone just handed me a one way ticket to mommy guilt island…minus the fruity drinks and tiny pink umbrellas. I truly did feel horrible and like I was doing something wrong. But then I thought, when was the last time I truly did something like this? Answer: A couple of years. I think I was overdue, but that still didn’t squash all the guilt I felt. So, after lots of hugs and plenty more tears, I left. I felt like the worst mother in the world.
Of course I checked in from time to time, only to find out there were several meltdowns while I was gone. I also got the phone call of tears and “I miss yous”. Of course I missed them too, but I was having a good time. I knew she and her sister were in capable hands and were going to be fine. I knew they were going to miss me, but I also knew they have to learn that mommy sometimes needs time away.
I thought a lot about how I was feeling during my drive alone…without twenty questions and constant arguing and whining. Why do a lot of us moms feel so guilty when we take time for ourselves? And by time, I don’t mean time to fold clothes or unload the dishwasher. I mean time away doing something fun. It’s pretty stinky if you ask me. I doubt many fathers feel this way if they go watch a game or play a round of golf. So, why do we? Maybe it’s something that goes along with having a uterus. Who knows? Whatever the case, I wish I didn’t always feel so darn guilty! Anyone else out there feel the same way or is it just me?
There were plenty of hugs and kisses when I got home. They missed me and I truly missed them. But, there’s nothing wrong with a little mommy time, even if does come with a complimentary guilt trip.