No parent wants to walk out the door hearing their kids scream, “Don’t go mommy! Don’t go!” These short phrases carry a big punch. Have you ever wanted to take some time away and had a trail of tear streaked children behind you crying as though the sky was falling? I have on multiple occasions. The most recent one was on my self-designated “writer’s retreat”. The woes of mom guilt.
My trip down Mommy Guilt Lane
All I wanted to do was step back for a moment and recalibrate. I didn’t need a full reset, I just needed to adjust my perspective on a few things. I could feel myself getting into a fog with my writing and I knew it was time to pull back. So I decided I would go on a self-designated writer’s retreat. This was mommy code for a break without the kids so I could relax and write. I don’t know about you, but having a 1 year old all day long is exhausting. It leaves very little room for me to have a steady writing flow. This time around, I was determined to try to get several hours in of solid flow without having to stop because someone was hungry or arguing or needed me to open something.
So the planning began. I felt like a secret agent on a mission as I gathered my items and cruised online for the perfect place. I thought I had it figured all out. I was going to drop the kids off at school and head out. Did that happen? Nope. I got stuck picking them up and explaining to them that I was leaving for the night. I even assured them that we would hang out when I got back. It was crazy of me to think that my five and seven year old would be down with any of that. They immediately questioned where I was going and wanted to come with me. Now the point of taking a “writer’s retreat” and bringing children defeated the entire purpose of me going. So I stopped and pondered.
To go or not to go…
I paused in the moments before leaving and debated on going. Then I made it to my car and pulled off. I started driving to my destination with no reservation made. Although, I had left the house a part of me was not quite sure if I had made the right decision by leaving them behind. I wasn’t worried if they would be okay, I just hated the look of disappointment that I left them with. They wanted to come so bad, but I knew I needed this for me.
Have you ever felt mom guilt about taking care of you?
Yeah, that was me. I sat in the car for an hour with my bags packed and still no reservation made. Finally something in me snapped. Why was I feeling bad? Why should I put my needs on the backburner? I needed to choose me and stop feeling bad about not showing up the way others wanted me to. This was deeper than my children feeling sad. This was about me setting unrealistic expectations for myself. All year, I had been rediscovering me. This part of the process required me to keep myself as a priority. For me, that was an uncomfortable transition.
That snap shifted my focus back onto me. I no longer felt burdened to go back home. I felt relieved because it was okay. Everything was okay. The kids were fine and I deserved some space to breathe. I made my reservations, checked in and got the the best rest I could have asked for. I also got to clear my mind so I could focus on writing my book. All year long I had been in a transformation process and I can’t wait to share more about that in another post. For now, just know that rest helps to clear the mind and get you back on track.
Here’s a quick list of some mom guilt behaviors as well as some ways to curve it. If you have some of your own tips and tricks or warning signs, feel free to drop them below in the comments.
The biggest lesson I learned that weekend was the power I have in me to say “Yes” to my needs. As moms we have to say yes to ourselves more often when it comes to self-care. Often we are taking care of many people in our lives, but we have to remember that an empty cup has nothing to offer. If you don’t believe me, grab a cup off your shelf and see what you are able to get out of it. When you pour from an empty place the value isn’t the same. The cup or person is still there, but what they have to offer differs than one that is filled. So don’t let mom guilt weigh on you to the point where you can’t thrive. Give yourself permission to step back and breathe. What you do to take care of you is not going to be the same for the next mom. That’s okay. The important part is that you start taking care of yourself.
2 thoughts on “Moving Past Mom Guilt…”
This will help many mothers.
I will show this to my wife.
You are also a gifted writer i must say.
God bless your family.
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Thank you for your kind words. I hope your wife enjoys it. Many blessings to you and your family.