I never truly experienced guilt until I had a child. The feeling of extreme desire to run away and hide from this crazy little person pulling at your leg and throwing themselves on the floor for not getting the goldfish they wanted in the correct color cup and the sheer feeling of missing that little terror the minute you get in your car alone. That my friends is Mom guilt.
Before I had my daughter I had friends who would describe this phenomenon and I would look at them like they were crazy. They would tell me they would finally get a break from their kids to go to Starbucks or Target alone and how heavenly that felt but then as soon as they got there they spent the whole time in the kid section or staring at photos of their little ones. I thought they were insane. I would roll my eyes and think ‘oh my god you are insane just enjoy yourself; man you’re a clingy parent’. I would look at them with such confusion as to why they felt so guilty being out without their kids in tow. I felt that way until I had my own. Now I 100% understand this Mom guilt.
I am a stay-at-home mom of a 2-year-old girl and pregnant with our second due in Feb. 2018, so I haven’t by any means mastered this “parenting” thing but I have felt the heavy weight of this Mom guilt. Now my husband thought I was crazy when I told him about this feeling because all I did was complain about how I wanted a break and needed “me” time, but then he would tell me to go grab lunch or a coffee while he was home and I’d be hesitant to leave. He would say “you complained all day about how you needed a break, yet now you want us to come with you? God woman your insane” and by that definition yes, yes I was insane. All day I had wanted a break from this shadow following me around pulling at my pants for goldfish and fobbies (her version of waffles w/ peanut butter) yet the moment I got the opportunity for a break I was hesitant or I’d want them to come with me.
Now once I finally did make it out of the house alone, I would drive to Starbucks get my coffee and then head to Target for a quick “break” yet the whole time I spent shopping for the family necessities and miraculously ended up in the kid clothing section and perusing toys for our daughter. I was driving home after my Target “break” and I thought to myself ‘man I wonder what our daughter is doing’, ‘I wonder if she’s behaving’, ‘I’ll stop and bring her home a cookie’, ‘ah I can’t wait to see her smiling face when I get home’. This happens every time I leave for “me” time. It never fails. Every. Single. Time.
Mom guilt is like a regular guilty feeling but 1000x more extreme. It’s the feeling of leaving a part of you behind to do something that you could or normally would do with them. I felt like I am betraying her every time I leave the house because I am always with her. In all honesty she is completely fine without me there for a couple of hours and it’s definitely more in my head and emotions than an actual reality of her needing me to be there but I still feel that sense of loss or like I’m forgetting something every time I leave the house without her.
Yes I know it is healthy for her to not be around me 24/7 and I do get out and leave her behind, but that doesn’t help this feeling of extreme guilt every time I do leave the house. Granted some days are easier to leave than others, especially if I am at my wit’s end and have zero patience left; it’s easier to kiss her bye and walk out the door but then this crazy thing happens, I feel a thousand times worse leaving under those pretenses than if she had been a perfect angel. Like somehow my leaving when she is being a terror is punishment for her behavior and that isn’t what I want her to feel. Yet, does she over think about me leaving as much as I do once I leave? No. She goes on about her business of playing with her toys and watching Elmo. I am the only one left with this overwhelming feeling of guilt. Why? Because I’m a mom and we’re just all crazy like that. Or maybe it’s just me 😏😊.
I’ve heard it gets easier to leave them behind or do things without them the older they get and man I hope that’s true.