In a beautiful blogging world full of photo-shopped pictures and lovely stories about all the wonderful moments in our lives (which sometimes look more like pretend lives than real lives ~ I shared further thoughts on that last week), Maya over at Charmingly Styled has encouraged her fellow Internet storytellers to take a deeper dive and share some of their less-than-glamorous (a.k.a. real life) moments, stories, and anecdotes. While blogs routinely inundate us with the best of each of our best, let’s take “a post” to remind each other that our own imperfect lives aren’t the only ones not overflowing with bubbly mimosas and perfectly frosted cupcakes. We all have wonderful moments of sparkles and butterflies, but they shine between snippets that aren’t so rosy and picturesque.
One challenge I routinely encounter, that I suspect I might share with others… Mom Guilt (and honestly, Wife Guilt).
I like, in no particular order (and among other things):
- my job (and having a job, as opposed to being a stay-at-home mom)
- having a blog
- DIY projects
- doing yoga (and playing tennis, if I can do it more than once in a blue moon)
- advancing my photography skills
- spending time with my family (sometimes all four of us and sometimes just my husband)
- a little bit of time to myself (and to be honest, I probably like need this more than most people)
For clarity, I know that some of those things like reading and doing yoga overlap with taking time for myself. But the point remains that 24 hours in a day doesn’t provide enough time to satiate all these desires. I have to make choices, let things go.
- I say no to many professionally relevant work events and interesting blogger events
- I gave up tennis (for now) two years ago and have attended about ten yoga classes in the last two and half years (though I hope to get back into those soon now that I’m done having babies)
- I made a new year’s resolution to myself to read six books during 2014 (yes, six – that’s a big deal for me)
- I pulled out my sewing machine yesterday but first had to clean off a year’s worth of dust
All these “problems” are annoying sometimes and I wish I had more time to do the things I love, but the deeper issue arises when:
- I get home late from an evening work event, have missed dinner, and made M mad because I got caught up chatting with a prospective client and didn’t even text to let him know I would be late (bad wife, bad parenting partner)
- I have one more work email or just a couple more paragraphs of a blog post to finish up when one of the little ones starts crying… and I let them cry for a minute or two to finish what I was doing (bad mom, right?)
- I turn on one more episode of Super Why (a kid’s cartoon show) for T so I can link up a few blog posts while J bounces in my lap (now I’m for sure a bad mom!)
- I don’t want to go to watch T’s swimming lesson because I’d rather sit on the couch and read a book or peruse my Bloglovin’ feed or refashion that blouse I picked up from the thrift store eons ago (sounding pretty selfish)
- I snap at any of my boys because I’m overtired after staying up late to finish a bit more work and sneak in one quick blog post, the combination of which took far longer than anticipated (bad Mom and bad wife…)
Without a bit of the things I like for myself, I’d be unhappy. With them, I have a constant internal struggle with Mom Guilt and Wife Gulit. I don’t give enough time to either my sons or my husband who are clearly the most important people in my life. I constantly fight the urge to check my email while we’re at the park or see the latest Twitter feed updates while I make dinner with my family. I sound ridiculous!
So, while I continue to search for a better (i.e. more emotionally comfortable and less guilt-instilling) balance between all the things I have decided will compete for my time, I hope it at least is a journey where I learn from my mistakes and experience continuous improvement. I chose to have kids, get married, start a blog, buy a yoga mat, own a sewing machine, borrow books from the library, and I don’t regret any of it, AT ALL! But I do wish I could navigate my life to a place more at peace with how I allocate my time and energy.
I hesitated about posting this confession. What if my boys find this down the road, maybe at the height of their confusing, self-questioning teenage years? Will they doubt my love for them or wonder if I regret bringing them into my life? I hope not but certainly can’t be sure.
I still don’t think I’m the best mom (or wife), even though I try to be a good one. I’m too selfish. (I think that’s partly a generational issue but that’s a whole separate can of worms.) More often than I probably should, I chose one of those options from my “I like…” list above other than my family (and then Mom/Wife guilt crashes down like a bag of bricks tossed from the top of the Willis Tower).
Do you have Mom guilt or Wife guilt? Or maybe the opposite – frustration and guilt that you don’t give enough time to yourself? I don’t have the answers, though I wish I did, but I do believe I am not the only one stumbling through life trying not to “have it all” but at least to “have it mostly.”
Speaking of Mom guilt, while I snapped these photos of my very “everyday, non-blog worthy outfit”, T stood, nose pressed to the window, wanting to join me on the balcony (one of his very favorite places to hang out). I said no and closed the sliding door in his face (mean mom!). After I finished my five minute self-paparazzi session, T joined me and we took a few photos together. I let him push the remote button, which thoroughly made his day. (I just had to be careful he didn’t chuck the remote over the balcony. That would be the second time that’s happened in the last few months, though the first was my own darn fault.)
In a world where we’re trying to do our best and “have it mostly,” T often goes to school without his hair having been brushed (we just forget sometimes). He picks out his own clothes that rarely match. Just a few weeks ago, he wanted to wear his pajamas to school and we forgot to brush his hair, which was par for the course, until we got to school and remembered it was picture day (oops). And if that day was a normal morning, we likely walked out of the house with a pile of clean, unfolded laundry on the couch, a load of dirty dishes in the sink, unmade beds, and a rash of toys scattered across the floor. I’ve accepted that’s the cost of doing business…
T’s outfit – via MoxieJean