Mommy Guilt. Ick.
How do you even begin to describe it? The pit in your stomach you feel when leave your kid with a sitter & they’re crying. You may even feel it for leaving them at all. I’m on my second kid so I’m familiar with recognizing that guilt & most of the time I can easily remind myself that I deserve a break, I’m allowed to get a pedicure, it makes me a better mom, blah, blah, blah. I get that.
Here’s what I’m realizing about mommy guilt though, it’s a sneaky son of a bitch. It’s like the very hungry caterpillar I told you about on Monday. One day it’s a squishy nasty slug & then a few weeks later you could have a beautiful butterfly. It morphs so drastically you can’t even recognize it’s the same creature. Except mommy guilt doesn’t turn into a lovely Monarch, it morphs from a disgusting worm to a creeper moth. Just as unwanted & all from the same ugly place.
Allow me to explain…
I’ve had a backache for awhile now & well, I’ll just say it, it’s become really hard to take a leak. After a low fever popped up over the weekend & I felt like a truck had backed over me I recognized the symptoms & went to the doctor. A kidney infection, lovely. That’s all good & fine, the girls had camp Monday morning & P was a major trooper helping with them the rest of the day. I was OK with accepting a sick day, I was sick afterall. A couple doses of antibiotics & I could be back to business.
Except then I stayed sick. Monday night I felt worse, yesterday was miserable & seriously I COULD NOT PEE. At least not without a heck of an effort. My doctor isn’t open on Tuesdays so I decided I should just go to the ER & get checked out. I wasn’t in agonizing pain but I felt pretty certain I had some sort of blockage, so I went. Going to the ER when you’re a stay at home is not as simple as just taking yourself. I had to rely on my dear friend Stacy to watch my kids. Fine. She has kids the same age & I’ve kept hers before. I still felt guilty for leaving them but she assured me it was ok. I get to the ER & of course it’s a 5 hour ordeal, which means P had to pick the kids up from Stacy’s after his work event on the other side of town. Oh, and of course I had the carseats & was on the other side of town so I had to then ask my other friend to go to Stacy’s house, watch her kids so Stacy could drive MY kids in her van with her carseats to meet P at our house. If you’re not following basically I felt like I had majorly inconvenienced 3 different people because I couldn’t get myself together. I felt (feel) like I shirked the responsibility of watching my children, which IS my job after all, onto other people who really shouldn’t have to take that on. Except for my husband, yes he should help out when I need it but he had already helped me so much that week that I felt like I was sucking him dry too.
The Er doctor, who literally saw me for all of 30 seconds and didn’t even examine me, said that my bloodwork was fine, I should follow up with a urologist & he was sending me home with pain medicine. After FIVE HOURS that was it. No scans, no pushing on my belly does this hurt? Nothing. And THAT is when the guilt set in. I was coming home with no legitimate reason that I could justify inconveniencing everyone else. I even felt bad that I wasted the craptastic doctor’s time. From then on the guilt has been drowning me.
I’m trying to do some internal digging as to why I feel this way when deep down I know it’s probably not justified.
I don’t think it’s just my personality. When I was younger & was sick I had absolutely no problem accepting help from others. In fact, I’m sure I milked it for all it was worth. This didn’t start until after I became a mother.
Could it be we become so used to taking care of everyone else that when we need to be taken care we’re mentally unable to accept it?
Maybe being a mother turns you into a bit of a robot. Your brain gets rewired so you can no longer just let yourself be enough.
I am enough that I deserve to accept help from those who love me. I am a regular person & am vulnerable to the weaknesses of the human body just like those I take care of. When my friends or husband get sick I don’t look down on them for checking out. I certainly don’t abhor them for needing my help. I insist on helping them! So why is it so hard to believe that is exactly how they feel about me?
Perhaps if we had designated sick days, like in a regular job, then we wouldn’t feel like we were doing something wrong by staying in bed.
There is no set time off when you’re a mom. Perhaps the other side of accepting that concept is that when life does happen, which it inevitably will, and you HAVE to take time off you’re no longer able to do so without feeling like it’s wrong.