The Mama Chronicles: mom guilt

Take #2. I began writing a post earlier and the more I wrote, the less authentic it felt. So, I walked away for a bit and decided that without doing it right, I wasn’t being honest with myself.

One short week ago, I was living my dream. I was sipping wine at a cafe in Paris. Enjoying a girls’ trip of a lifetime. We stood atop the Eiffel Tower, walked the streets of the City of Light, strolled through the Louvre, had lunch at the Palace of Versailles. You name it, we probably did it. It was a whirlwind trip, yet oh so exciting!

It was the first time I had spent any length of time away from my kids. I think I did okay, given the fact that Paris was somewhere I had always dreamt of being. My family held strong at home with little hardship.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely enjoyed my time away, yet I struggled. Upon our arrival at the airport, my kids greeted me with ginormous hugs and giggles. I was so excited to see my family!

Unbeknownst to me, my soul is tired. Attributing the weary spirit to jetlag, I knew I needed rest from our trip. What I can’t seem to shake is the guilt. Being a mom who has prided myself on being there for my kids all of the time, I feel guilty for leaving them behind. In all of the glory of having a mom-cation, I knew they were well taken care of and I deserved a break. But what has bothered me is the fact that I enjoyed one of the most amazing sights without them! As if I should have shared the joy and excitement with the people who were so excited for me to go in the first place.

I’ve realized that my “issue” isn’t all guilt, yet a combination of many factors. Jetlag being one and never realizing the value of separation another. I hope that makes sense.. you know the saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’? Yeah, that. I missed my people. A lot.

Here’s what else I’ve learned.. kids have an uncanny way of amplifying that already assumed guilt. For example.. the first time I saw my son after the trip he said “please don’t go on vacation without us again”. Enough said. This mom took those saddened words to heart. Sure, he’s a kid and likely had the purest intentions, but c’mon moms! We crumble when those sweet little faces look into ours, hearing their desperate words and **boom** we abide by their every word. Ugh!

So, I started this post about 11 hours ago. I started with one, revised it, walked away, and here I am.. many hours later, finishing my work with a fresh mindset and lighter heart. I did what I needed to do to care for me. Sure, I’ve felt drained, guilty, and quite ‘off’ for days, so I meditated. Most importantly, I expressed gratitude. I know that I have so much to be grateful for and being consumed with negative feelings is having the opposite effect. I REstarted my day (midway) to change the trajectory.

Guilt is part of life. Its unnecessary and absolutely useless, but we’ve all felt it. And, if you’re a parent.. you’ve definitely felt mom guilt (or dad guilt!). But you know what.. you’re not alone. I’m not alone! We have this unspoken club membership that is instantly accessible upon having kids.. it’s the Parent Guilt Club.

Since when did we lose who we are?! What we wanted to be before kids. The idea that taking time for ourselves is a bad thing.

We are our kids all. We knew that going into parenthood. It’s our job. BUT.. what’s not our job is guilt. If you’re being the best parent you can be, providing our children with all the love, joy, comforts, etc that you can, then why can’t we have a moment of solidarity or a girls trip without wiping butts and boogers?!

We CAN!!!

I dont know when my next trip will be (honestly, I’m not in a hurry), but I will say this.. I’ll enjoy it no matter what because I’m a mom and I deserve a break too.

(and so do you!)