Friday, May 11, 2012

The monster of mommy guilt

I had extreme anxiety about going back to work with two little ones at home. We didn't have any family within six hours so it was him and I against THEM. I can remember yelling at my husband around three in the morning a week or so before I had to go back to work that if my kids did not start going to bed at a normal time (that would be Averi) and not waking up during the night (that would be Kenzi) I was not going to be a very happy person to be around and if I'm not happy that probably meant he would be sure to hear about it. I just kept envisioning myself literally losing my mind. Being short and impatient with my oldest daughter, not liking my new baby because she was a more difficult baby to handle, fighting with my husband and just utter chaos in our household on top of hating work because I'd have to be away from home eight hours a day dealing with other people's children, that at times could be some real pains. Getting frustrated because it was just too much. A full time job that at times involved doing work at home, two small kids to not just take care of but make time for some meaningful, quality time together, running a household that involved cleaning, managing the finances, the grocery shopping at times, and the ridiculous amount of laundry that four people go through, dishes along with soon to be cooking because my husband was going back to graduate school and coaching baseball so for two of the upcoming months he wouldn't get home until seven or eight at night and be gone on Saturdays. On top of that the housing market was finally in a place where we could list our house for sale after we spent a few weekends taking care of a few things, and I decided to take two online classes to qualify for a pay raise the following year. I was sure I was going to have a mental breakdown. And I did close myself in the bathroom for a quick scream or short cry, and would tell my husband and daughters I was  not home and to let me hide out in my room for a few minutes of peace and quiet. There would be times I would feel like oh my gosh this is sooooo hard.

And here's the thing it wasn't the managing all the balls in the air thing that was so hard. I'd done that my whole life. I always worked, had extra activities whether it was coaching or graduate school, on top of doing home improvements and taking care of running the house and planning for weddings or whatever next big life event was coming. But I was okay with doing all that half ass, pardon the phrase, if need be. I could BS my way through any assignment if I didn't have time, I could put off cleaning the house, washing the dishes, let the laundry get out of control, not be there 100% mentally for my students or players whenever things got to be too much. I was okay with doing all those things at once but only giving them all only 75% effort. But I was not okay with giving my kids 75%. They deserved 100% +, but unfortunately with all the things us working moms have to take care of in a given day there's too many days than I care to admit we're they didn't get the 100% they deserved from me. And then comes the Mom guilt that I'm sure we're all too familiar with.

I ve been getting an average of maybe six hours of sleep a night these last weeks, and I come home in the afternoons exhausted. I just want to lay on the couch and close my eyes for a few minutes, and I could start to tell Averi was getting frustrated with the whining that she rarely does and the occassional acting out for attention. I HATE being so tired I don't have the energy to play with her and this is when I get resentful of having to be a working mom. I get jealous of the moms that get to stay home, I get jealous of my nanny because she gets to hang out and do fun things with my kids all day, I get frustrated that my husband doesn't make more money so I could stay home or at least hire a weekly maid to do some of my chores so I'd have more time and energy for my girls. So for me it's not all the demands and caretaking that a child requires that makes motherhood so hard, but feeling like your efforts aren't enough and no matter how much you want to take care of everything for your child and do everything that the ideal mother that society expects would, there's this thing called life that just makes it feel like it's not possible. But I always remember two things I heard once. It's not quantity but quality that matters. And someone, I think my husband actually, said that think of your child like an investment, the more effort and time you put into your investment the better your return will be. Even if I can't be at home with them, I try to make the best of the time we do get to spend together coloring, playing in the backyard, going for walks, taking family trips and adventures, and cuddling together on weekend mornings. And hopefully in the end they'll turn out to be the remarkable people I hope they'll become and they'll know and understand how much we truly love them even if it did seem at times we were too distracted with all the other things going on in life.

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