On Guilt

When I decided to be a SAHM, I sort of didn’t really get to decide. If you have been following along for any amount of time, you might know that I was fired from my position two days after announcing my pregnancy. I was a good worker. I was the one chosen to train new employees. I was on TOP of shit. And then, all of a sudden, I was pregnant. And I was left without no insurance and a baby on the way. This was a giant mess. On top of never wanting to have kids in the first place, I was without a safety net. I went through so much during my pregnancy with L. I was depressed. I felt hopeless and alone and generally lost.

And then I saw her face.

And then all was right with the world. I decided, right then, that not only did I want to be with her every minute, but I wanted to give up working. At least for the time being. Because what the hell is a job in comparison to raising a child?

And then I found out I was pregnant with Baby O. Right about the time that I had decided I was ready to start looking for a part-time job to get out of the house a little bit. To make some money. To feel like a person again. Even a person who was stocking shelves or running a register. Just something else. For a couple of hours per week.

And then there Baby O was. With his little, toothless, juicy face. And again, I didn’t care about anything else.

And now, O is eight months old.

And I am lonely. And exhausted. And overwhelmed.

The babies are beautiful and healthy and so freaking fun to be around. But I am functioning as a married, single mother. And I am running on fumes. I feel my blood boiling if the kids won’t go to sleep and give me the 30 minutes of silence I so desperately need to remain sane for the rest of my 16 hour day. I feel myself grinding my teeth at the 32nd diaper change and sometimes feeling the urge to lock myself in the bathroom for six hours to avoid tantrums. And I wish desperately, sometimes, that I just had to go to work. Because, at least, if I were at work, there would be no tantrums (well…in theory) and there would be no diaper changes (I hope…). Because, at work, you just get shit done. And then you go home and it is over. When you are a SAHM, it is never. fucking. over. You just go and go and go and go. And you drink coffee at 4pm so that you don’t fall asleep on the couch, allowing for so much mischief and possible death. Falling asleep could cause a house fire. It is proven fact that, as a SAHM, if you fall asleep, it will trigger some sort of natural disaster. Hurricane Katrina? Yep. Some poor lady, after four days of dealing with a toddler and a teething infant, fell asleep at 3pm and BAM! Worst storm EVAR. True story.

Anyway. Yeah. I am super tired. I miss sleeping and nights out with friends. And riding in my car without babies. I miss reading books and talking to adults and blogging. Oh my god, you guys, I MISS BLOGGING. (Because, I used to have shit to say…) I miss sleeping until noon and going to brunch. And the beach. And…SO MANY THINGS.

And I feel guilty. Because I love my kids. I love them so much that I feel like my heart will explode when L says, “I love you”. Or when O’s eyes get all big and bright when I pick him up from his crib in the morning. I love that they love me so much and I can SEE it and FEEL it and TASTE it in every tiny thing that they do. But oh my GOD, I want to go to work. I want to speak to people without having to add a “y” to the end of words. I want to have relaxing lunch dates, wherein I gossip with some petty girl about some coworker. (I know, it is awful…but it is also strange what you miss when you don’t have it. And I am more of a listener, anyway.) I want a mimosa. On a beautiful, sunny day. In my coastal town. WITH ADULTS. And no curfew. I want, I want, I want.

And there is guilt. So much guilt.

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10 thoughts on “On Guilt

  1. I feel you. And I only have the one baby. Another blogger recently recommended All Work And No Joy to me (you may have seen me geeking out about it on Facebook) and it is about EXACTLY what you’re talking about here. About that guilt, how no matter what you do you feel as though you can’t catch up. It has been tremendously wonderful to read a book that has solid evidence that being a parent is the hardest thing on the planet, and I cannot recommend it enough.

  2. There’s so much guilt yes, but it is OKAY to feel that way. You are your own person, you have your own wants and needs. Yes, you have chosen (sort of) to be with your babies and look after them and that is an awesome commitment, but no one can wear one role all the time!
    I hope you manage to find some time soon where you can be you, and not mum xxx

  3. Well said, sadly. I, at least, have had the opportunity to lead this hybrid life, only working outside the home 3 days a week. Let me tell you, all of last year I would FREAK out if a holiday fell on one of my office days, feeling robbed that I had to take an extra day off with my kids, damn it.
    I will say this, and I think our kids are fairly close in age and spread- it gets better. Don’t ask me what happened, but somehow in the past month I’ve reached the point where I’d rather be home than at work. It’s a profound relief. You’ll get there.
    In the meantime, hang in there and do what you need/can do for you!!

  4. The flip side of the coin is how awful and alone I felt as a single working mother that had to put her son in daycare every morning as she went off to work, only to have nothing to discuss with her co-workers because all she watched was Spongebob at night. And not going out with her friends because hello, I don’t see him most of the week, I’m not giving up my weekend time!
    It took me years to find my balance. So, I hope that you find your balance!

    And I read a blog the other day that when you are feeling alone, or isolated, that you should take to Facebook and ask about paint colors. Even if you aren’t painting a room in your house, apparently every one will want to weigh in because they really don’t want you to paint your room the wrong color of white!

    🙂

  5. Yep. Second Offspring was driving me up the wall today for a myriad of reasons, and when I tucked her into bed, I felt so bad at the way I’d asked her numerous times to be quiet and settle down all afternoon.

    Sigh. It does get better. It does. But I hope you can find something you can do out of the home so that you can get a break.

  6. I can totally understand this. I work full time and there are moments every weekend where I wonder how SAHM’s do it. I love, love, LOVE my son. But it is so hard to be “on” 24/7. I have mucho respect for you lady. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting time to be YOU. That is a natural thing to feel, and you should never give up on finding that space for yourself. It’s part of what makes YOU a good mother!

  7. I too had no job to go back to after baby jo and because of this i feel like Im floating in limbo and like someone legally changed my name to “mom” … sometimes amidst the tantrums and the dishes, the laundry, the poop and little one saying “up up up!!” I think to myself is this what I wanted? really? Because before baby? I identified myself with multiple labels … where did those labels go? I love my kid – you know I do. But there is more to me than “mom” I want there to be more to me … but I don’t know where she’s gone, that girl with a thousand identifiers… Don’t feel guilty. DONT. We deserve it all. Unequivocally. I refuse to guilt myself into thinking that I don’t. Don’t feel guilty for indulging the mournful missing of your past self. She matters.

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