When I was a teenager, I thought that my mom was crazy. She was ALWAYS busy. It seemed liked she loved to vacuum, clean, do laundry, grocery shop, etc. just because she liked to keep busy, but I now realize that she didn't LIKE to do those things- she HAD to! My mom worked a full-time job from the time I was about 3- even now she works full-time (albeit from home), even though she is amazing enough to watch my kids for me while I work. I guess I always just thought that she enjoyed keeping a house so much that she never sat down when she got home from work or when the weekend finally arrived and she had some time to herself. I suppose that I thought this partly because my mother never complained; she just did what she had to do to keep her house and her family in order.
Now that I am a mother myself, it has finally occurred to me that my mother didn't, in fact, enjoy working and cleaning at night and on weekends, but she had to because she wanted to keep everything clean and running smoothly for her family. This epiphany came to me while I was on the treadmill at the gym Friday morning at 5:45. I don't enjoy getting up at 4:30 in the morning 3 times a week to go to the gym, but I do it because the hour and a half workout in the morning saves me an hour and a half in the afternoon where I am able to be with my kids, or get home to help my husband, or to start dinner, do laundry, etc. I get up at the butt-crack of dawn and go to the gym to work out for an hour, use their yucky showers, and get dressed to go to work because I don't want to have to take away an hour to two hours from my family-time later in the day.
When I talk to teenagers about all of the reasons why they should wait to have kids, I often joke that if they ever want to nap again, or sleep past 6:30 in the morning, that they shouldn't have kids. But it's really not a joke. Perhaps one of the greatest sacrifices that a mother has to make is to give up her time. Whether it means giving up an extra hour or two of sleep so that you can work out in the morning, or cleaning the kitchen for an hour instead of sitting down and watching your favorite show after a long day at work, mothers have to sacrifice their time....all the time.
I have to admit, this has probably been the most challenging part of being a mom. I don't mind getting puked on, rarely being able to eat a hot meal, giving up my favorite spot on the couch and watching countless hours of Caillou and Jake and the Neverland Pirates, but I really miss getting to sleep in and wake up on my own terms, taking a nap if I'm tired or don't feel well, or sleep through an entire night without listening for a whimpering child who might need me. Would I give it up? No way. I love my kids and am so blessed to have them in my life, but I do need to acknowledge that I am human, and it is okay to miss some of the "me" time that I used to have. It's hard not to feel guilty as a mom, and feeling selfish and cranky about sacrificing my time makes me feel that mommy-guilt sometimes, but I suppose that's just another thing that mommies have to deal with.
What about all of you moms out there? Am I alone in feeling this? How do you deal with the guilt you feel when you want to have alone time? Is there a better balance between sacrificing my time and giving enough attention to my family? There must be an app for that, right? LOL.
Thanks for reading!