Sometimes on Saturdays, when the tots jump on our sleeping faces, RJ will hurriedly scuttle them out the door and take them downstairs to make breakfast, leaving me to sleep for another (much needed) hour.
He deserves major kudos for this. Because he’s awesome and kind and wonderful. But that’s not what this is about.
I frequently do this same thing for RJ on the weekends, taking the kids and making breakfast to let him sleep. I believe relationships should be generally balanced in the giving/receiving thing, but I don’t believe scorekeeping is healthy. That’s also not what this is about.
RJ is their father. He is equally responsible for them as me. SO WHY IS IT THAT I FEEL THIS STUPID GUILT when I get to luxuriate in bed for an hour and maybe even take a shower without little ones squawking at me?!
We feel it when we read them only 7 books but turn them down when they beg for an 8th.
We feel it when we only grudgingly share that piece of chocolate we hoarded away to enjoy during quiet time, only to be caught by their supersonic ears that can hear a wrapper opening behind closed doors on a separate floor of the house.
We feel it when we send them outside after dinner to play with dad so we can clean the kitchen ALONE instead of playing as a family or teaching them to work.
We feel it when we realize how few vegetables they’ve eaten this week… or what percentage of their diet consists of things you aren’t sure qualify as food (I’m looking at you, fruit snacks).
We feel it when we let them watch “too much” tv.
We feel it over… well… everything.
Now lets back up a bit. Before having children. In my pre-married life I woke up at 5am to go to the gym Monday through Friday. I’ve never been one to sleep in, but on Saturdays I loooooooved a good “lay in”. Sometimes this lasted until 7am when I was ready to tackle a project or go for a run up the canyon. Sometimes it lasted half the day where I lounged about in bed, reading, writing, dozing, whatever. How much guilt did I feel about this? EXACTLY ZERO. Come to think of it, I felt zero guilt about, well, most anything leisure related. It was rejuvenating and necessary to make the GRIND part of life worth living.
But a dramatic, plate-tectonic mind-altering shift happens when you become parents and suddenly ANNNNNNYYYYYYYTHING can cause you to feel guilt.
You don’t maintain relationships well because you’re tied up with kids. Guilt. You DO maintain relationships and that takes away from family time. Guilt.
Your kids don’t get your full attention when you (exercise/work/whatever). Guilt. You don’t exercise/work/whatever and you are worried you aren’t a good example to your kids. Guilt.
You are too hard on your kids. Guilt. You don’t demand enough from them. Guilt.
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY THIS IS. I just know that its real. And honestly, for most of these areas, thats fine. I’ll take the guilt. It keeps me paying attention as a mom. But LEISURE???? Someone please tell me how to make that a guiltless venture again. Someone. PLEASE. Teach me how to actually enjoy a breather again and not taint it with guilt. Or maybe teach my children how to just lay in bed quietly with me on a saturday morning and not have any needs?
Ooooh. Maybe thats what the teenage years are for.