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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?)
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.)
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.