Mom guilt. It’s everywhere.
It’s with you when you wake up and forget to pack their snack because coffee seemed more important to make first.
It’s there when you are at home while they are at school and at 2 o’clock, you realize it was purple fu@&%ng shirt day at school. Then you remember you have boys, and really don’t own one. Oh well, kids. Blue is used to make purple, so I decided that it counts.
It’s there at night while at the table doing homework. When you re-read the damn common core math problem for the 15th time and decide that it would be best to drink instead, while you tell them ceremoniously, that “I have no idea what the hell this means!” You throw the papers into the air, only to watch them gently rain down in a beautiful snow flurry of frustration. I blame the wine.
It’s there at bedtime, when after they get up for yet another lame excuse, you tell them that you will kill them if they get up ONE.MORE.TIME. And you kind-of-sort-of mean it. I’m watching Outlander and I don’t like pausing the sex scenes.
I had this revelation this week when I dropped my three sons off at camp. I had never left the 8 year old alone before without being watched by a trusted friend or family member. It was his first foray into boyhood, gaining a little independence from me, and growing his little 3rd grader wings.
Let me tell you something.
I planned to keep myself busy the whole week. Planned a mountain retreat with my husband. Canoeing, hiking, planned to paint a little. Zip lining was on the list and even a mountain coaster ride. I had a GREAT six day kid-free lust filled week all ready to enjoy.
What’s the problem then?
I felt bad that I could not look to make sure he was wearing clean cloths. I felt like I should be the one to tell him to brush his teeth, or make sure his shoes were tied. It was my job to take photos for the cool things he tried for the first time. To be there to make sure the soap did not run in his eyes when he needed a shower. To tuck him in. To tell him I missed him, to ask how his day went.
I didn’t get to do any of that. I wrote notes, sent e-mails, to only hear nada (Which is the way it’s supposed to be). I sat and wondered what they were doing, if they were having fun. If they were happy. I cried a little at bed time, because I had NO idea how wonderful camp may be, and if they missed me as much as I missed them.
Then I realized something when I picked them up.
THEY WERE OK.
So was I.
I enjoyed my parent alone week, I really did. My husband and I talked. Sat by a beautiful flowing river. Drank a little. Saw a Bald Eagle take a fish from the river on a canoe trip. We cuddled and made a fire. Watched (bad) movies. We connected as friends, as a couple. We had dinner alone. We did that zip lining, went for a long hike. We didn’t have to feed three extra people, do laundry or make anyone yet ANOTHER FU&%ING SNACK. I didn’t have to adjust goggles, or watch flips and jumps in the pool.
I read a dirty book.
Made some dirty choices.
It was a great week…..*except* for that nagging, altogether, really frigging annoying mom guilt.
So here is what I learned this week:
YOU ARE ALLOWED.
To do what exactly? You know how I like lists, so here it is.
- You are allowed to send your kids away for 6 days (Or whatever) to an organized, happy place where they MAKE your kids eat, play in the dirt, swim in the lake, and be KIDS. (You know, like we did in the 80’s).
- You are allowed to take advantage of that time alone. To be an adult. To have an adult life. Order Thai food! (But I don’t like Thai food mom….oh that’s right, YOUR NOT HERE!)
- You are allowed to sleep in. (yay!)
- You won’t have kid responsibility for quite some time. Generally, they will only call you if a hand falls off, so you CAN drink. AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. (Disclaimer; I do not promote alcohol poisoning in any way. Don’t sue me for that statement when you’re in the hospital eating charcoal.)
- If someone calls you about a school thing, a work thing, or a bill thing, you have my permission to tell them to, “Fu*@ off until (Insert date here). Leave a message, biatch!
- You are allowed to not worry about if they have band-aids in case of a fall. They have them there. They do this every summer.
- You are allowed to go into adult bookstores. Why not? You don’t have to leave your kids in the car. That’s a whole other level of guilt that you don’t have to worry about.
- You are allowed to let your kids need others. Your kids need you first. Of course they do. But they don’t need you at this very moment (That they are at school, spending time with their grandparents, or in my case, at a super awesome summer camp). They will need you later, and you will be available when that time comes. But for now? Weeeeeee!!
- You are ALLOWED to feel guilty. It makes you a good mom. You worry. THAT’S OUR JOB. You were built for guilt. (I should t-shirt thats shit).
- And finally: You are allowed to be you. You are allowed to WANT to have a mountain vacation with a hunk of a man (My husband is such a man). You can sleep, eat, drink, and engage in other various things….:) It’s not just about the kids. If you don’t take time out for yourself, for your marriage, for your life as a 30-40 something adult, you will pass out from all the responsibilities laden on you. You’re not superman. Seriously, let it go a little.
With great power becomes great responsibility, Spiderman. You have the power and only you, to shed that horrid mom guilt. It’s not easy, no, and we will always have it a *little*, but you can do it. You can let the majority go. You are a responsible, loving mom. And you fu%$ing know it.
You deserve to be *just* you sometimes. You are in there somewhere. After all, you were you before you were a mom.
Remember, if you let your freak fly too far away , and then the kids are gone, you will need to find her again, so don’t let her wander too far…..
So, write little post its.
On the bathroom mirror.
In the kitchen.
On the car visor.
Mandy is a wife and mother who lives in rural Pennsylvania. She is an Art Instructor, a Romance Author, and Sarcastic beastie. To contact Mandy, send her an email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/M.LWalshAuthor/ and twitter @exposedseries. Follow the blog for updates on her smut!