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Be honest now. Am I a bad mommy?

standard June 26, 2008 19 responses

At one point or another every mommy does something or feels something that sucker punches her to the gut leaving her gasping and completely and utterly convinced that she’s the world’s worst mommy. For some it’s the day she lets her baby slip in the tub. For others it’s the evening she lets her kids dine on jelly beans and cake even though they haven’t eaten anything plucked from the land in days.

Until today I had blissfully been spared that right uppercut to the solar plexus. You know, until a friend of mine IMed me to say “I need to get back to work. I want to get out of here soon. I miss my kiddos.”

Yeah. Uh. I miss my kiddos too when they aren’t with me. Like a lot. But if (and when) I get out of work early I don’t make a habit of rushing to daycare to pick them up. Uh, no. Instead I rush to a coffee shop and I bask in the glorious delicious freedom of a stolen hour. I get a decadent drink and grab a book or a notepad and pen. I put my feet up and I relish the absence of whining, begging, bargaining, and, most importantly, touching. No one fighting for my attention, jostling me for prime lap position, screeching about something or other that they MUST.HAVE.RIGHT.NOW but can’t articulate clearly enough for anyone to understand. Heck, on Monday mornings I bring my baby to daycare even though it’s my day off from work, just so I can spend three whole hours by myself.

So when my friend mentioned that she was working faster so that she could go get her kids earlier I felt that infamous sucker punch. Am I supposed to want to rush back to my kids at the end of the day? Does it make me a horrible mom that I don’t feel the tug to be with them every free moment possible? Am I broken? Cold? Unfeeling? Or is it entirely normal for someone who is constantly fielding demands from every direction to crave alone time?

Maybe my problem lies more in the happy jig that possessed my feet whenever I’m alone rather than the fact that I don’t rush to get my kids. It can’t be healthy to be that giddy not to have someone’s hands on me. After all I do enjoy my kid’s hugs and the outpouring of love they shower me with every blasted moment I’m with them. I’m sure I do.

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19 responses

  • I think we all have something..you relish some peace and quiet. Totally understandable. As I split my son with my ex I am one of those weird mothers that have anxiety until I pick my child up from day care and I can see him. However dont get me wrong less than 2 hours later I wonder if bedtime can come soon enough. 🙂

  • I think its great that you do that! I think it comes down to it you have to remember that sometimes you have to be you before you have to be wife, wife before mommy…its all about balance and it sounds like you have it down! From your posts you sound like a great mother! So don’t worry!

  • I should feel guilty about this but I don’t, at least not much. I’m with my son all the time (no daycare) and find myself fantasizing about him going to grandma’s for a weekend…anything for a few hours of alone time. If you can get that time for yourself, nobody “needing” anything from you, I say take it and enjoy it!

  • oh geesh, you. you are a great mommy!


    NOW you owe me some coffee.

  • oh and… because you take some time off to yourself, you are a much balanced person than let’s say … ahem… me. 🙂

  • Listen Honey,

    The only way you stay sane for the little ones is by taking time for yourself. Do not feel bad for wanting to read a book/magazine that doesn’t rhyme or have teeth marks on the corner. Feeling guilty means you are actually a good mom because you’re keeping yourself in check.

  • Moms NEED (in big red, blinky, glowing, marquee-style letters) those “stolen moments” away to stay HUMAN! 🙂

  • I feel you on this one! I am often left to wonder why I’d rather run some errands with a few minutes of free time rather than pick up my daughter and savor a few extra minutes with her. Honestly, I rarely take the time to be on my own, and I think that we’d all benefit from it. I’ll remember this next time I have the opportunity to sit and sip a cup of coffee – or run an errand – by myself.

  • Anonymous

    I’m the mom of a 20 & 22 year old. The time when you’re the center of their universe is such a short amount of time. To not enjoy every second of it is a waste. You’ll long for the days and wish you’d spent more time with them. You’ll get plenty of alone time, more than you ever wanted, very soon. You don’t have to wait until they’re 20 & 22, it starts when they’re much younger and not longer hug and kiss. You don’t have to give up yourself, but don’t forget that the beauty of who they are right now is fleeting.

    Sage mom

  • It’s all very well to say you should spend as much time with your kids as you can during the years while they’re young, but I see no point in doing that if what you are really feeling is the need for more time alone and free. To make yourself do something that goes against that is not going to do you or your kids any good.

    So, never mind what anyone tells you. Don’t feel guilty for wanting more time for yourself, away from the demands that children make. It’s obvious that you know your own feelings and that you respect them, as well you should. The best gift you can give your kids is modelling a mother who values her own needs as much as she does those of others.

    The best mothers respect and value their own needs, period.

  • Anonymous

    You’re right, why listen to someone who’s been there and done that. I worked full-time while my children were small. I fully regret that now. So, do as I did not as I recommend and live to regret it as I do now. Why learn from the mistakes others have made.

    Just remember when you get to where I am now, I told you so.

  • Kari

    Eek, don’t take advice from the one dissenter who of course chooses to remain anonymous!

    Take time for yourself! There is nothing wrong w/ that. I am a SAHM, but I still feel the same way when I get a stolen moment here and there to myself, or a night free when the kids go to grandmas house. Once again, there is NOTHING wrong with that. Don’t let unhappy people guilt-trip you!

  • Wow. Who thought I would strike such a nerve!
    Thank you to everyone who offered support for my hermit tendencies. Wait. Can you be a hermit at a coffee shop? Anyway… I was saying…
    THANK YOU. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who treasures a little alone time here or there.
    As for our fearless anonymous commenter… I’ll try to remember your words at 3am this morning when my 11month old daughter decides that the only place she can sleep is spread eagle on me, effectively pinning me on my back for the duration of the night.

  • Anonymous

    “I’ll try to remember your words at 3am this morning when my 11month old daughter decides that the only place she can sleep is spread eagle on me, effectively pinning me on my back for the duration of the night.”

    I’d trade you places in a heartbeat. You’ll never know what you’re missing until it’s gone. No one ever goes to their grave saying I wish I’d spent LESS time with my kids. Sure, some alone time is great, but cherish what you have an never think of it as less than the miracle it is.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, and unhappy? Hardly. Wistful, maybe. Sad, absolutely. Sad when people don’t understand the gift they’ve been given. Children should come first. You made the choice. You’ll have plenty of ME time later.

  • Oh man! Anonymous! Let it go already! We all love our kids. We all know what amazing miracles they are. Just because we sometimes need to step away to better appreciate their preciousness when we come back doesn’t mean we’re wasting out time with them.
    Lighten up. Seriously.

  • Anonymous

    “Be honest now. Am I a bad mommy?”

    Oh, so it was a rhetorical question. You only wanted people that agree with you all. Ok, you’re all right. You’re all perfect. You’re kids are amazing, beautiful and talented. Wow, I’m in awe.

    Stupid me, I thought hearing from someone who’s actually already done what you’re doing you might LEARN something from my experience. Oh well.

  • There are days when I can’t wait to get home to them and days when I want a little bit of time for myself, too. It’s only natural. You aren’t a bad mommy! You’re just human!

  • I’m really tired of people telling me “Enjoy them now, they’ll be grown so fast.” My kids are 9 and 3 and I have never looked back at a time in their lives and said “Oh, I miss that stage.” Every stage has its own joys and its own challenges.

    Some parents can spend tons of time with their kids and truly enjoy it. Others can not. I fall into the “can not” category and have struggled with the guilt. But as time passes I see that having time alone makes me a better parent. And I firmly believe that spending less time with my kids – and being happier while I AM with them – is better than being miserable and spending lots of time with them.

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