I was out running the other day after my 2 week vacation and realized how much better I feel when I take time for myself. It was only a 4 mile run but it was something just for me. My daughter was at her favorite place, the gym daycare. Seriously. As I was running, I was smelling the air, listening to my breath, relaxed and thinking about how great I felt and how much I needed this. I forgot about me. Yes, I just returned from 2 trips but let's be honest that "vacations" with children are not vacations. I am mom just like every other day and still have the same responsibilities, just in another location. Please don't think that I am complaining one bit, just stating a fact! I love to travel so much and having just one child has allowed me to keep that lifestyle and stay sane at the same time, well most of the time. I was also taking the time to reflect back on my life and realizing how silly it was that I never allowed myself this time before, like there was always this guilty feeling. The dreaded mom guilt or so I call it. I love how running allows me to do this deep thinking thing, even with music blaring in my ear, I can still think and plan because isn't that what we do best? Multitask!
I finally didn't feel bad for dropping her off at the gym. I mean why in the world would I feel bad about that or even think to myself that it would ever be a problem? That's crazy. But at times I feel crazy. Maybe it is that I will only have one child. Maybe it is that my love for her is so strong I can't imagine life without her. Maybe it is that I am a total control freak and want her to only be with me so I can control anything bad that may occur. Because that is crazy to think in itself. I mean, she did get into an accident in my car while I was driving, but I still think that I can save her somehow. The burden that I carry around is serious and it has been quite the process letting go of all of this mom guilt. So many other mothers are so quick to give you the advice but if you have never had a child, it is scary. I did listen when my friends told me I needed to get my own life and get my daughter a sitter so I could still be a friend. I mean, I totally forgot about my old life and adapted to this new life as mom, which meant to me that I was stuck being the only caring for her.
I especially think that for me, because I stay home mom, I have become someone who feels guilty for paying for anyone to watch her. Isn't that the point of me staying home? Listen, I can tell myself all sorts of things to justify my actions but seriously, it is just plain crazy. I considered quitting my favorite Tuesday golf league when I couldn't find a nanny to come to my house. There was no way no how was she gong to a center to get sick or not watched. (insert crazy. I worked at a very nice one and would send her in a heart beat but I was convincing myself of anything to control the situation.) And I surely wasn't going to allow any of the nannies to drive her anywhere because what could happen if they were driving and something happened? Our current nanny now has a seat in her car to drive me daughter around....HUGE step for me, but it takes time!
So I had to let go. But how? Gosh, I can not be the only mom who struggles with this or has had these thoughts? I started small. Took her to a daycare center a few times while I golfed. I just re-read that statement and feel so dumb, but it was a major step in getting myself back to where I belong. I signed up for Stella & Dot. I loved fashion, accessories and it MADE me get out of the house and leave my daughter. I was like a new woman hanging out with all sorts of gals, meeting new moms and enjoying a glass of wine. Maybe I have learned a few things about myself along the way too. Like when I do something, I put everything I have into it. Was this my problem? Or was it a problem at all? I started saying yes to hanging out with friends sans kid or husband and eventually gained a new found confidence that I actually liked myself as a woman, not just a Mom. Being a Mom is great and all but it can not be everything.
I bet you all remember the first time you went on a trip and left your child behind! I sure do! She was 9 months old, just stopped breastfeeding and I couldn't bear to think what was going on. She was with my mom of all people who clearly raised me. Well this is the feeling I get anytime I am leaving her, but the feeling I get now leaving her is unlike any other because I am free. Or maybe I should say I am free-er as I am still learning to let go. It is so hard!!!
I started this blog. I started cooking and baking again. Next thing you know I was applying for Liketoknow.it in hopes that I could be one of those awesome bloggers who make other women feel comfortable in what they are wearing and bring them great style made totally easy! I was accepted. I mean WHAT?!? It sometimes feels like this is all a crazy dream but I promise you, letting go of a small fraction of the guilt has allowed me to love and enjoy more things in my life. They say the best thing you can do for your children is to pray for them, and I do, but I also pray for myself. I pray that I can be the mom she needs and for me to do that, I have to take care of myself. It is not selfish, and really I think we both have grown from this.
I still feel the guilt. Don't get me wrong. This blogging thing can get very time consuming but finding balance has become my greatest success and struggle. I am choosing right now, not to hire a sitter so I can work more on my "business" because I only have 2 more years until my daughter is in school full time 😭 and I will have all day everyday to put my focus into this! I am doing it for myself and I love every bit of it. But I am setting aside hours of the day to complete the things that I need and want to do. Again, balance.
So why do we allow ourselves to feel so much guilt when we can not be everywhere every time for everyone? I hope that someone reading this can relate and know that there are probably so many of us moms out there carrying around this guilt. As Elsa would say or sing I guess, Let it Go!