I Refuse to Be Guilty.

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Last night, my sister stopped by on her way home from work. I’d had A DAY, and it was obvious by the way that I couldn’t even come up with a conversation topic. As my two older children chose to dance around me, reveling in disobedience, I tried to hang on to reality. Just a phase. Just a phase. This too shall pass. OH MY WORD I AM LOSING MY MIND.

I convinced my sister that I needed to go out to dinner. I’m not sure my husband was thrilled with my spur-of-the-moment plan, but he could certainly tell by my panicked expression that I needed out. We took Joshua with us and left Mr. V to take the older two to the dining hall.

(And now can we pause for this adorable one-year picture of Joshua taken by Leslie Dearman?)

Joshua's One Year Picture

 

As I informed Libbie that we were leaving and no, she wasn’t coming, I felt the guilt coming on. Libbie proceeded to wail, cry alligator tears, cling to my leg, and try to block the door. She’s 5, people. I was angry and I told her that I AM ALLOWED TO LEAVE FOR AN HOUR.

The whole afternoon was just disastrous. And yes, the time away helped immensely. I’m not ashamed to add that today I hired a babysitter so I could work without interruptions for two hours, too.

I tend to feel guilty about just about everything. Of course I feel guilty leaving my child when she’s screaming inconsolably. I feel guilty hiring a sitter when I am a stay-at-home mom and this is my job, dang it. (Well, except for that whole other freelance thing. I think I need to just start calling myself a work-at-home mom. Maybe that would help!)

But you know what feels worse? Letting myself get so depleted that I am yelling more than talking. That I am acting like a 5-year-old myself, wanting to throw myself on my bed and flail my legs and cry until I fall asleep from exhaustion. Becoming someone I can’t stand simply because I am not taking any time to refuel. (I really wanted to write amn’t there. Because David totally think it’s a contraction and says it all the time.)

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If I’m feeling guilty every time I leave my kids at all, then the standards I’ve set for myself are impossibly high. I don’t need to feel guilty for being me. And me is an introvert who needs time to herself and simply a woman who needs friendship and adult time.

Maybe I’m the only person in the world who feels like this, but somehow I doubt it. So you out there, if you feel the same way, let’s agree to hold each other’s hand and quit the guilt. Maybe we can meet for coffee. Without kids.

10 thoughts on “I Refuse to Be Guilty.

  1. As mothers I think we are prone to guilt over so many things. It’s such a huge responsibility. And then for people pleasers like me, there’s also the guilt of saying no to other people’s desires/demands when we need to prioritize our own family. It takes lots of prayer & thought sometimes. Since a big part of my problem is wanting to please others, what has helped me is trying to focus on my identity in Christ. That comes before my earthly identities: wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and on and on.

  2. Jessie, I want you to try each day to spend a little bit of time on yourself. It might be only 15 minutes some days, it might be 4 hours one magical day. 🙂 But just like your munchkins, you are a glorious child of God and you need to replenish yourself. As a fellow introvert, I KNOW how hard it can be. When Adam is home, take an extra-long shower/bath and pamper your body that holds the Holy Spirit. Your babies are very important, but you are just as important, and if you neglect yourself, you are neglecting them as well. Children need to see a mother (and father) that has interests beside themselves, in order to become well-rounded teens and adults.

  3. Ahhh… Mom guilt! Yes, we all get it! No one wants to leave the house when their children are crying. However, even moms need to recharge and find time just to themselves. I find even going to the store by myself to be wonderful, even if it is buying groceries. If you can swing a sitter on a regular basis, it will be wonderful for the family. You get to recharge and the kids learn that mom does leave and does come back. While I agree to all of this, I also find it hard to spend money on a sitter when there are so many other bills. Best of luck to you!

  4. I think one of the hardest things about this blog-turned-job thing is that I STILL consider myself a SAHM even though I work full time and make the income that many of my friends make working outside the home. But I still feel like I have to do all the housework, errands, kids’ appointments like a SAHM would do. I finally started calling myself a working mom. It does help put things in perspective just a bit. I will tell you, IT GETS BETTER. Still hard, but in a different way, and you WILL have time to yourself again. Unless you choose to homeschool, and then I got nuttin’ for ya…. LOL!! Love ya, girl. You’re doing Just Fine. xo

    • Not much chance of me homeschooling!

      I was with a blogger friend getting a pedicure this weekend. My friend kept describing herself as a work-at-home mom. She might make more money on her blog than I do, but you know what? I blog and get paid for it, some, and I also freelance write and bring in some income. I AM a work-at-home mom. I think accepting that fact might help me to feel a lot less guilty.

      • It really did help me put my time into perspective. The biggest thing it helped me learn to do is to say no to volunteer stuff at the kids’ school. I felt bad about that and then I realized, I cannot do it all. And other working moms don’t spend hours at the kids’ school. Gave me a lot of freedom from guilt over that.

  5. I just stumbled across your blog and I LOVE this post. I am the queen of being guilt-ridden, over-committed and depleted so I’m no expert. I do know that I am a better person/wife/mom when I stop the hamster wheel and replenish. Even when my kids act like I’ve left them for YEARS. 🙂 Yes, let’s agree to let go of the guilt, meet for coffee and become better people.

    • Thanks, Lori! Glad you came to visit. I have totally been there this week with them acting like I’ve left FOREVER AND EVER when it’s been an hour. But man, it feels good to be an adult now and then, not just a mom!

  6. Absolutely! I tend to feel guilty too but every time I come home from a coffee date with a friend or a movie with my sister, I am a better mother. I’m relaxed and happy and ready to once again tackle my responsibilities. I think we’re doing a disservice to our kids when we don’t take time for ourselves. Wish we were close enough for a coffee!

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