We all suffer from it. If you haven’t experienced it yet, its probably because your little one just isn’t old enough. Seriously, every parent meets the ominous obstacle, whatever the cause, that brews a feeling deep in your heart filling you with horrible guilt. For me, I’ve had it plenty and though I often get over it, I never get used to it.
Here we are, me and my B, in the Kids Club at 24 Hour Fitness. Yay me! I’m getting my butt in the gym and making myself a positive role model for my preciously innocent child who looks to me for constant guidance in all facets of life…wellness included. However, let me tell you the story of our day up to this point.
It’s a normal Wednesday so we got up, got dressed, and headed to Miss Kathy’s where I dropped her off (she’s long since gotten through the crying stages at daycare…she freakin’ loves that place!) for the day. Mommy headed to work, got a few things done, and then sat through traffic on my way back to Kathy’s. No biggie, right?
Well today was a little different. I had already pumped myself up for the looming guilt trip by packing my gym bag the night before and ensuring it made it into my car so I’d have no excuse not to go. I just knew that if I went home after getting B, I’d go right into our normal routine and I’d never get back in the car til the next day (if that!). So instead I scooped her up and the two of us drove straight to the gym…where I proceeded to hand her right off to a babysitter again. Tear!
Thankfully this was not our first trip to the Kids Club, as I’d experimented the day before with some success. It was a Tuesday, so she’d been with me all day. Good start, right? Well, she gripped onto me with the jaws of life and cried and cried when I pried her fingers off me and handed her to the sitter. It broke my heart! I’d planned to stay for only 30 minutes just in case it was a bad scene in there, but she was happy as a calm when I returned to the Club and didn’t even notice when I entered the room. Let me also mention that this particular Kids Club is AWESOME.
Back to Wednesday. Oh my heart hurt so much when I brought her into the Club just knowing she wasn’t going to understand why Mommy was leaving her again (and Tuesday’s dropping off ordeal was still fresh in my mind). Well, I’ve told you of Bridget’s greatness many times over and today was another shining example of why my angel is amazing. She reached right out for the sitter and didn’t shed a single tear. Praise Jesus! Did it make my guilt go away?? Absolutely not. I still teared up a bit (let’s be honest), but managed to get a 45 minute session in and got her home just in time for dinner and our normal nighttime routine. Phew!
Being a part-time working mom causes me to feel the guilt from taking her to a sitter, though we all know how I feel about quality child care. I love how it offers B the opportunity to be in a social environment with other children, while simulatenously preparing her for the preschool setting with math and reading daily lessons from her “teacher”. It’s a true blessing to have such a wonderful woman like Kathy who teaches both Bridget and me so many things about life and parenting. Love her!
Mommy guilt is hard, but it reminds me that I’m being a good parent. I’m showing Bridget that Mommy needs to take time for herself so she can be the best parent to her children that she can be. I do this by taking time to better my health as well as venturing into the world of higher education for the betterment of my family (let’s see how I feel about this when I actually start school this Fall). The day will come when Bridget can understand these sacrifices, and until then I’ll just be grateful that I've been given such a sweet, loving little noodle who’s flexibility never ceases to amaze me.
For those of you who’ve experienced similar Mommy guilt, how do you overcome it? How do you manage to find time to exercise, outside of your strolling jogs with your little ones? What are your thoughts on taking your children to outside caregiving places like the 24 Hour Kids Club or Little Gym or Adventure Kids? It’s not an easy world out there for a busy Mommy, but I take solace knowing I’m not the first parent to live such a life and that there are many more out there who work longer hours, more days and harder jobs…so I should stop complaining! :)