Two Moms Talk About Me-Time And Mom Guilt

Have you ever wondered why we have the phrase mom guilt and not dad guilt? Or, for the sake of equality, let’s say parent guilt? Why is that a mother has to invariably feel guilty for anything and everything she does which doesn’t include her children? Actually, let me rephrase that. Why is it that after becoming a mom a woman is not supposed to have her own time, her own life or her own dreams and if God forbid, she tries to hold on to the woman she was before any other role, she is to feel guilty? I don’t see fathers being burdened with this expectation, deplorable as it might be. Then why us mothers?

 

In my very limited experience as a mother, I have come to realise that the general consensus is that after becoming a mother you have no life of your own. Well, yes, that’s true because where is the time? But still, when we try to steal an hour or two for ourselves, why are we asked awkward questions to pinpoint that hey, why aren’t you spending every second of every day with your child? Hey, why are you trying to spend time alone? Of course, it doesn’t help that women are experts at self-blame.

 

Why are we made to feel like the most horrible mothers out there if we save that part of our life which has nothing to do with being a mother because aren’t we doing so much already?

 

Being a mom, I’m not immune to mom guilt. At times, it’s self-inflicted while at others it’s by virtue of the questions posed by others. The pre-mom me would probably laugh at how ridiculous I sometimes sound wallowing in self-loathing. But do you know something, though I might at times feel guilty by taking time out for myself or being slightly selfish, I’m not apologetic about it?

 

There are times when I work from home and still send M to her daycare. While sending her I do feel bad as she sometimes clings on to me but then throughout the day when I’m working while listening to some music, I really don’t think about it that much. I know she is happy and safe so I enjoy the solitude that I can get. But of course, I not only work from home but do the work of home as well. So you see, how my supposedly child and spouse free time is also filled with chores. That’s why I don’t blame myself for wanting that little bit of peace before it’s mom duty all over again.

 

There are also times when I dream of taking a trip on my own. I would love to be on a flight when I could read without being disturbed or just take a nap. I would love to be that sophisticated woman at the airport having coffee without having to take care of a child and luggage.

 

The job description of a mom doesn’t include free time. We are always busy. My schedule is so full on working days that I crave for days when I can just get back to work and not worry about the second shift of running a house and keeping a kid engaged. Sometimes I dream of planning for drinks after work but I know that’s not going to happen in the near future. Well, not until, M is old enough to stay at home on her own. Till then, I guess I’ll just be navigating mom guilt and judgy questions while still holding on to myself to whatever extent possible.

 

And if you thought it’s only the working moms who go through these emotional upheavals, think again. The stay-at-home moms go through the same emotions and face the same questions.

 

To drive home this point, I have Vinitha here. She is a mom who has devoted her time, her body and her energy to two kids. And she is one of those who never shies away from talking about how tough motherhood actually is. So, I leave you with her for the next few paragraphs of the post.

 

When my first born was 4 months old, I started to go for a weekly yoga class. A friend asked if I tend to think about my baby while I was there. How was I able to focus on the yoga staying away from my little munchkin. I replied that not even once I thought about my baby while I was at the yoga class. Those 90 minutes were about me, only about me. No distractions, no interruptions, just getting in touch with my breath and my body’s hesitation to imitate the perfect asanas. But it was bliss. For me, at least.

 

The other day when I was talking to a friend of mine, I told her that my little one goes to daycare 3 days a week. Out came the question, “Are you bored when he is away?”

 

This is what people think a mom’s life is – boring and relaxing when kids are away. Where in fact, those three and half hours a day when my son is at his daycare, I’m rushing to catch each and every moment and put it to good use from relaxing to working out to learning to writing to reading to cleaning the house to finish up the chores to … Oh, the list is endless. And on most times, I achieve only half of things on my list and I consider that a good day.

 

See, I love my kids. But there is this constant need to give up my time and work for them which everyone expects me to. The unfortunate part is even I do so. When I give preference to just me and do the stuff which matters to me the most (excluding the kids) my mind so effortlessly points that out, leading to feeling a pang of guilt. And then I end up in a vicious cycle of feeling guilty.

 

I had never ever seen me as a stay at home mom. But the circumstances led me to be one. From where I am standing, I am forced to give up my dreams. Yes, it was the circumstance to blame. But now I feel any time I make myself a priority even if that is after taking care of my kids’ needs, I feel guilty. When did motherhood become a synonym of guilt I wonder!

 

When my first born was around one and a half years old, I put a status on social media – “Rest in peace sounds so tempting. I want to rest in peace for a day!” If you are wondering I am still waiting for that rest to arrive. Just for a day. I am so tired! Ah, the joys of motherhood!

 

Now, you have read two perspectives of mothers who are more often than not pitted against each other. But do you see the similarity? The judgement, the mom guilt or even the sacrificed dreams? Like, Vinitha says, the joys of motherhood indeed.

 

Your views?

 

Maybe, time for the fathers, to pick up the baton for more distance than they do now, even the good ones?

 

Why do moms have to feel mom guilt? Why do we feel guilty about having some me-time? Two Moms Talk About Me-Time And Mom Guilt. #MomLife #MommyTalks #MomGuilt #StayAtHomeMoms #WorkingMoms

26 thoughts on “Two Moms Talk About Me-Time And Mom Guilt”

  1. Thank you for giving my voice a space in your blog, Naba! We might be living two completely different lives, but the feelings we go through, how similar are they! I’m doing my best to get out of the clutches of this motherhood induced guilt. Some days I succeed, some days not so much.
    Always a pleasure to read your thoughts, Naba. ❤️
    Vinitha recently posted…Save a School #HelpMithuSaveSchoolMy Profile

  2. While there is a higher proportion of moms who go through this frustration every single day of their lives, we are beginning to see a change in the way fathers are getting very closely involved in the upbringing of their children, way more than what we’ve ever seen in the earlier decades. I guess the equation we women set with our respective partners at the time of our marriage with relation to our work and our me-time is very important and most of all, how we ourselves perceive the time-off and the concept of ‘me-time’. It is very important to believe that we are never feeling guilty because we are taking time off since it is essential for our sanity. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that moms are biologically wired to be more emotionally attached to their kids than their partners which explains why they feel terrible when leaving their kids at home or at the daycare while dads never feel that way.
    Esha M Dutta recently posted…Forgive Me | #WTFoW2019 – Day 1My Profile

  3. What a relevant post, Naba. You spoke to my heart. This is just my story too, though my girls are much older almost 11 and 21. But I feel so obliged to be invested towards them and their needs. So much so that I have forgotten what it means to nourish and nurture myself.
    Slowly but surely, I’m trying to break the shackles of this unending guilt and not feel sorry for taking time away for myself and figuring ways to keep myself happy. After all we are flooded all the time with so much work- home management, chores, kids, dogs(in my case) plus my own work, where is the time to even unwind. But those little breaks are so essential to regain ones sanity.

    I’ve realised the hard way, that if I don’t take care of myself, no one will. And to be a better mother, writer professionally, wife and homemaker, I need these time-outs just for myself.
    I think it’s pertinent we work whole heartedly to nourish and love ourselves more, much ahead of trying to putt others needs before us. After all an empty cup can never nourish others, can it?

    I’m so glad I stopped by. 🙂

    https://natashamusing.com/2019/03/valuing-our-loved-ones-before-we-lose-them-mondaymusings/
    Natasha recently posted…Valuing Our Loved Ones Before We Lose Them: #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  4. I used to have loads of mom guilt when the kids were younger but I saw a change in me in my late 30s. I started focusing on me. Luckily, everyone in my family supported me including the kids. I do keep time aside for myself, do my own thing and go on solo or work -related trips with more ease then before. Solicit help from your spouse or close friends and do take time off. It is important.

  5. I don’t understand how this is still an issue in the time we are now. I’m not a mom yet, but so many people are asking young women who just got married when are they going to have a child because that is the role of women. I’m so disgusted by this way of thinking. The same goes with a mother wanting to have a bit of free/me time and maybe even follow her dream job. Just because she’s a mom doesn’t mean that her life it’s done and she exists only in correlation with the child. Of course, this doesn’t me she should not pay attention to her child and love him and spent time with him.

  6. I have a friend with two kids. She is not employed and she doesn’t have to do any work at home either. But, still, she seems to be frustrated with her life because she is not given a chance to do something for herself.

  7. So true! Me time is important. I always say I can’t stay sane without me time. No mom can. I used to feel guilty, but now I don’t! I proudly will take that me time!
    Amber Myers recently posted…Hey, It’s OkayMy Profile

  8. For me time is everything as I have 2 kids of one year apart and I never get me time until weekends when my hubby is home

  9. The mom guilt is so real. After raising kids for 28 years, my youngest are 10 and 12 so I finally have time for me and I love my solo trips.

  10. Yes! Parent guilt is so real but we have to have our time too. It is important to keep ourselves balanced as well as balancing everything else.

  11. I used to feel bad about buying something for myself or doing something by myself. That was brought about my mother’s manipulative ways. Now that I realized it, I am all for self love. I don’t neglect my family but instead I enjoy with them. And I also enjoy by myself. ~Sigrid

  12. It’s so healthy to have your me time. I am not talking about being at work but time that you spend for yourself either by going to the movies on your own or treating yourself for some much needed r and r at a spa. Yes, it is built in our society that women are the care givers, although it is changing, so the thought of mommy time isn’t suppose to even exist however, we are still the same person we were before we had our children when we have children. We still should be able to do the things we want to do, although within a limited time frame, that we want to do. I still enjoy playing video games when my kid isn’t around (since I’m into shooting things in games and all, too violent for him to watch), I still watch animes, still go out to get my spa on and still have time to be the mother he needs as well. It’s all about balance and keeping our sanity.

  13. I am not a mum yet so I can’t really relate to this mom guilt feeling. But I feel that every mom shouldn’t feel guilty if they were to enjoy some time for themselves.

  14. I don’t have children yet. However, I’ve witnessed my friends struggle with mom guilt more times than I can count.

  15. I think women are hardwired to feel guilty because a babies survival is dependent on it. If we didn’t feel guilty, we could just set them down and forget about them.

  16. I think women are designed to take care of the kids and it comes to them naturally to be caring and nurturing. No wonder when women indulge in some me time they feel mum guilt.

  17. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people ask how I balance work and family. I have yet, in my life, to ever hear that question posed to a man. ARGH!

  18. This is a great post. This is so true! We need me time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy. There’s a tremendous amount of stress and pressure put on women: being parents, being daughters, mothers, wives, professionals. All of these roles combined leave many of us not taking adequate care of ourselves — which is what sustains us and gives us the energy to take care of all these other responsibilities that we have.

  19. This is a great post and it is so true! We need me time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy. There’s a tremendous amount of stress and pressure put on women: being parents, being daughters, mothers, wives, professionals. All of these roles combined leave many of us not taking adequate care of ourselves — which is what sustains us and gives us the energy to take care of all these other responsibilities that we have.
    Ladonna Batiste recently posted…How to Identify Children with ADD or ADHDMy Profile

  20. I cannot relate to this, as I am not a mom, but I’ve spoken with friends who have felt this way. I feel like eventually they learn that there’s nothing wrong with treating themselves. Mom my got over mom guilt super fast when I was young! lol.

  21. I so agree with you. It is important to keep ourselves balanced as well as balancing everything else.

  22. I agree with Rachna here 🙂

    When I was younger in my early 30s, I would be loaded with mom guilt. Over time and as the child grew older and I began to focus more on my needs as well as hers, the guilt has fallen away. I don’t downplay your guilt or Vinitha’s for one second. All I am saying is that this is a phase and it’s perfectly normal to feel that guilt right now.

    But it will change over time, especially if you have a supportive partner who picks up the slack and also shares the workload at home and on the parenting front.

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