Mummy Confession: I like to get out of the house alone. Or with someone who knows how to wipe their own butt as a minimum requirement…
….but when I do, I’m stressing about something BECA– USE I am alone.
I’m sorry to whoever celebrates potty training like it is an absolutely astronomical milestone, because I disagree. It is a big milestone, yes, but the truly humongous one comes when your child can use the toilet completely unassisted, and remembers to wash their hands (this last part is very important…especially when they insist “but they didn’t touch the toilet, so they don’t need to”).
We still haven’t gotten there yet. But I digress.
Usually my leaving the house alone is done in order to pay a bill, do grocery shopping, or otherwise maintain the household. (Don’t worry, I leave the kids in the watchful care of people I know and trust.) I think any parent would agree that it is essential to have some time where you are not on edge about who needs to get changed, use the bathroom, or which child has wandered off to practise their hand-eye coordination skills with the shiny new ceramics.
But it seems whenever I do venture without the little munchkins, I need to make sure I haven’t just left them somewhere. Because, you know, I would do that. This paranoid mum moment causes me to send a message to whomever is watching the children asking how they are doing (masked assurance that I haven’t just left them in the car and actually DID drop them at Grandma’s). After the return message of how great they are with an attached photo of a sleeping child is seen, a part of me calms down.
Somewhere in the background though, I have a timer running for how much longer I can actually stay out, because, I mean, they are MY kids and I shouldn’t force someone else to watch them for an extended period.
(And, no matter what decision you make, there is always a nagging feeling that you should be doing something else, or doing things a different way.)
As long as I have been a mother, I can’t seem to leave them for too long without feeling the guilt of shucking my responsibilities. I yearn for that time alone, yet when I finally get it, I miss my babies. As crazy and hyperactive as they have been, and as frustrating as they were beforehand is forgotten, and is replaced with a longing to cuddle and smother them in kisses. This internal struggle continues on repeat from the first moment I held my baby in my arms.
I even feel like this when I’m venturing out by myself and my husband is watching them. (Nothing against him at all, and he has no issues watching our kids, and encourages me to take some time for myself. I just can NEVER shake this.)
As for the paranoia, I’m certain this is the prelude to the mothers’ over-reaction of “they must be dead if they don’t respond within 5 minutes” in every communicative situation. I’m turning into that mother.
What I’ve learned over the years is that even if I can’t shake this feeling of guilt or paranoia, I can try to take some deep breaths and try as much as possible not to feel bad asking for help if I do need it. This holds true for moments I need someone to just watch the kids so I can take a rest, or ask someone to take me somewhere to take care of my health.
You are important, Mumma, and you need to take care of yourself. Even if it takes some rehearsing or takes a while before you don’t feel guilty anymore asking for help (I dare say, maybe it never will feel completely guilt-free), don’t ever be afraid of taking time for yourself.