An Open Letter to Mom Guilt…
Dear Mom Guilt,
You suck. This weekend should have been fabulous. No kids. No responsibilities. Just me and My Love. But no…It was not fabulous. It was quite awful, in fact, because of you, Mom Guilt.
Ever since I became a mom over 7 years ago, you have been nagging at my sanity. I cannot fully enjoy time away from my kids because you make me feel wretched at every turn. You keep telling me that I should be by their sides, not out enjoying things away from them.
You’re their mom. They need you. You can’t leave them with someone else. They will miss you. It is exhausting keeping up with all of them at their ages. You’re taking too long. Hurry back. Hurry back. Hurry back.
This is just a bit of the inner talk that eats away at my fun each time I get a chance to go out, Mom Guilt, and eventually, your taunting drives me to madness until I give up and head home.
But this is the thing, Mom Guilt…This isn’t good for me, so you’ve gotta go. I need time to unplug and with you around, I just can’t do it. You will ruin days for me no more. Enough is enough.
So, so long, Mom Guilt. I have a plan to send you packing for good. And this is one trip you’ll be taking alone.
Mom Guilt Will Not Ruin Another Day
I sat down to write this letter after Matt and I returned from an out of town trip. From the moment we left, I felt it.
It plagued my mind and I couldn’t shake it. My heart was torn between the good time that I wanted to have and my responsibilities at home. I wasn’t hiding my anxiety well, and unfortunately, it affected my attitude the entire time. You see, when we are full of big feelings that we don’t deal with, it is those whom we love who pay the biggest price.
So instead of being the fun, outgoing person that I normally am, my guilt and anxiety manifested into bitterness. We had an okay time, but it wasn’t what it could’ve been because I wasn’t myself.
As we drove home, Matt pulled out the root of my bitterness. Real talk. His words spoke through my guilt and anxiety which I had tried (but failed) to keep inside during our trip. Mid-talk he said something that resonated with me:
“We should really enjoy every day while we have it. We always think that it is just one bad day…that it is no big deal because we will have another day tomorrow. But eventually, we will run out of days. Too soon they’ll all be gone.”
Those words melted all of the nonsense in my brain and brought my focus to what really mattered. So often I waste precious time worrying instead of soaking up moments with those whom I love.
You See…Here’s How Mom Guilt Works:
When I have a chance to go out for the day with a friend or the opportunity to go away for a weekend, I allow the guilt monster to rush in…I shouldn’t be here…Am I neglecting my kids?
And when I am playing with my kids it takes over my thoughts there, too…I should be doing something else…What other work am I neglecting right now?
Then before I know it the moment is over and so is the chance to make a beautiful memory.
So this has all made me think…What can I do to fix it? Having a realization that something is broken is only the first step. If I know it is broken, but fail to fix it, then I’m doomed to stay stuck here in the land of Mom Guilt. Not cool. So here is what I’m going to do:
Writing has always helped me. I get things out of my brain and onto paper so they are easier to sort through. So when I get overwhelmed, I’m going to write it out. What are my feelings? Why are they here? Where are they coming from?
Acknowledge it out loud.
If I would’ve done this at the beginning of our trip, then I would’ve avoided the misery that I put myself (and the person I love most in this world) through. We could’ve talked through it at the start instead of blowing it up and cleaning it up at the end.
The best way to get really good at something is to practice. That doesn’t mean I have to go away every weekend, but it means that I will practice being mindful of my emotions when I START to feel them.
I refuse to let mom guilt run my life for one more day. If I allow her to rule, then the ones I love will continue to pay the biggest price.
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