Let’s begin with this:
I love my daughter very, very much.
She’s my world. I have quite literally put the last two years of my life on hold, simply to do what I feel like is best for her. She is my No. 1 priority, day in and day out. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for that kid.
With that being said:
I am very guilty of not feeling guilty.
When we were about to leave for our 9-day vacation last month, I got the sense I was expected to feel guilty. I heard countless times from a number of people how, “You’re going to have a hard time getting on that plane!” Or, “I could never leave my baby for that long!” Or even, “Now, make sure you enjoy yourself and don’t just sit around worrying about the baby.”
That last one bothered me the most. Do people actually waste away their vacations like that? Do parents really sit in a hotel room and FaceTime, instead of enjoying the moment?
Unlike everyone’s warning, I didn’t have a problem getting on the plane. Did I miss her? Of course. Did I cry when I left her at grammy and poppy’s? A little. Did I feel guilty? Not in the least.
I’ve said it before, but motherhood is hard for me. I struggle with mommy comparisons, and have no idea exactly what it takes to become “super mom.” I’m extremely challenged every single day, and I’m constantly learning on the fly. But, if there is anything I have learned in certainty over the last two years, it’s these three things:
I read an article recently about how today’s concept of “me time” for mothers is a load of crap. I have to agree. Getting a hair cut is now considered “me time.” Previous to kids, it would have been “grooming.” Taking a shower is now “me time.” Previously it was “personal hygiene.” Going to the grocery store without a toddler in tow is now “me time.” Previously, it was still my least favorite errand.
Taking a vacation without your kids? THAT is “me time.” Laying in a beach chair for eight hours, doing nothing other than sipping on cocktails and people watching? THAT is my “me time.” Going out to dinner, having adult conversation, or sleeping in until 8 a.m.? THAT is my “me time.”
I stress easily. Taking real time for myself (whether or not it includes a beach vacation) is vital to my happiness as a person. It’s important to relax and remember who you are every once in awhile
Happy mommies are better mommies, plain and simple.
I mentioned that I have been unintentionally neglecting my marriage. That’s entirely true. I have put 98 percent of myself in the mommy category, and not nearly enough in the wife category.
When I’m busy being a mommy, I’m not paying attention to my husband. I’m not being affectionate, or flirting, or even listening to him half of the time. Not only is this detrimental to our relationship, but what kind of message does this send our daughter? She may only be one, but she knows that her mommy and daddy love each other. She loves to see us kiss, and holds her ears when she knows we’re arguing.
Taking time to focus on our marriage, without our child, is so important. I want Dorothy to grow up seeing parents who obviously love each other (and even border on embarrassing when she’s older). I want our relationship to help her define love, and help her find her own healthy and happy relationship some day. If my husband and I don’t take time to be man and wife, we are doing a disservice to our family.
Date night is important to good parenting. Vacation is important to good parenting. Real conversation is important to good parenting. Don’t ever feel guilty for making someone other than your kid a priority on a regular basis. The love will spill over, I promise.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t do this enough. Like I said earlier, I’m constantly learning on the fly when it comes to motherhood. Not everything I do is efficient, and not everything is effective. Taking time to reflect and refresh means looking down from a 10,000 foot view:
Why am I fighting her every day on this?
Is there a better way to get her to do this?
What steps do I need to make now so that she’s ready for this?
Where am I mentally as a mother, and what changes do I need to make for the betterment of our family?
When a toddler is whining and pulling on my arm constantly, I don’t have the time to think about these things. I don’t have the focus to see the big picture. Maybe whatever I’m making a big deal, is not really important. Making this time with my own thoughts a priority, and separating myself from the situation, is helping to improve my everyday routine with my daughter – slowly but surely. I did a lot of this while on vacation, but I also do this in the evenings before I fall asleep.
Take this time with your thoughts. Refresh your view. Your kids will thank you.
I’m not an expert, but those things I know for sure. Are you also guilty of not feeling guilty? What priorities do you make to improve your parenting? Is anyone else planning their next vacation, already? 😉