Guilt is a feeling that I have felt ever since I became a mother. It’s that feeling that creeps up on me when I want to be the strongest. I have felt it some mornings when my daughter wants icecream for breakfast, when she wants to eat a whole box of cookies by mid afternoon, when she wants to stay longer at the park on this 3-digit degree weather, or when I ask my husband to help me with the kids after he comes home from work or on his days off. Even though I know better, I can’t shake those emotions away. But why? None of my actions or thoughts have violated any moral or personal standards as the dictionary likes to define it.
Sometimes, the guilt I experience is so overwheming and overpowering that as a result, I tend to take on much more responsibilities for my own good.
Why is it that I feel guilt to ask my hardworking husband to feed our son in the middle of the night every once in a while? I’ve been doing it every single night (sometimes numerous amounts of times in one night) since the day he was born on February 28th, 2017. You do the math. Another question I ask myself is why is it that he’s never offered? Is it because his sleep, stress, emotional drainage, or physicial load is much heavier than mine? These questions are typically in my repertoire when I’m at my wits end. Funny thing is that he offers that middle of the night unconditional caress/pat on my back as if saying “I’m sorry you’re going through all the BS, but you’ve got this”. Thanks. Very thoughtful.
Why is it that I feel guilt when I leave the house for an hour or two and leave the kids with my tired husband? Why do I always have to rush back home when this is the ONLY time I have to myself? Does he not know that I am too exhausted and looking for a little room to breathe? Everything I do involves a toddler and an infant. I can never eat a hot meal before my daughter demands juice, a channel change, her socks taken off, her shoes put on, or grabbing her blankie from her room. I can never visit the restroom for more than 2 minutes at a time before having her barge in the bathroom intentionally wanting to get into some sort of trouble to get my attention or hearing my infant cry because it’s past his feeding time. I can never take a decent and quiet shower or even apply one of my favorite and expensive Morrocan Oil hair masks before my toddler opens up the shower door demanding for it to stay open just so she can see me. If I don’t comply with the Queen’s orders, she loses her shit. I certainly don’t want her to lose her shit. I know better than that. So what do I do? I freeze to death and take the quickest shower known to man-kind.
Why is it that it’s so difficult to ask for a day off? Why does it feel like I’m asking to borrow a million dollars from some stranger? It’s not like I sleep like a rock around this house or that I don’t get pretty much everything a stay-at-home mom should get done. Right? Because stay-at-home moms have no excuse for not completing the endless list of chores if we’re in the house all damn day. Grocery shopping, keeping up with the overall cleanliness of the house, dry cleaners, laundry (washing, drying, folding, and putting it away), feeding, changing pee-pee diapers and poopy diapers, loading and unloading the dishwasher, picking up the mail, vacuuming, dressing the kids, socializing them, changing diapers again, cleaning up the juice my toddler just spilled all over the living room, running errands, taking out the trash, sleep training, constantly picking up toys, dealing with tantrums, bad naps, cranky babies, cooking dinner, Facetiming our parents, playing games, teaching her the ABC’s and getting her to get the colors right, water the plants and keep the backyard clean, did I mention changing dirty diapers? All of this needs to be done while having slept 4 hours and looking good because God forbid you’re wearing the same pajamas from the night before, the comfortable yoga pants you absolutely love, having chipped fingernail polish, or greasy hair by the time your husband comes home. How dare you? That’s an eye sore. Did I even mention the gym? Cause I know it’s all mama’s dream to lose that baby weight and look like that young fit sexy chic from Instagram everyone’s talking about. So, how can I be so tired and drained from doing such simple tasks every single day? How do I even dare to attempt to tap out? I should have this all figured out by now. No wonder we become ogres.
Dropping a few tears here and there is necessary, but without looking too dramatic because at the end of it all, we have it the easiest because we get to do all of this from the convenience of our own home. Right? This is not me hating my life, it’s me waving my white flag and reminding myself and others that I’m human. I am burnt out. I am tired. I am drained.
I have never discounted the endless efforts my husband has done and continues to make for us and for our family. I have never doubted the stress he experiences when all the bills are due at the beginning of the month or the anxiety he feels when business is slow. I have never been ungrateful for the life we have; especially with my ability and blessing of staying home with our kids. For these same reasons, asking for a helping hand from him make me feel inconsiderante and disrespectful. But then again, if I have sympathy and compassion for his efforts and hard work each day and/or his inability to function after a long day of hard work, who has it for me? I don’t want to make it seem like he doesn’t help me at all. Because he does. Especially when it comes to bedtimes and/or making dinner if I didn’t get to it on time. My point is that sometimes, just sometimes, it feels nice to know that if I fail or if my knees beging to buckle from exhaustion, someone is there to say “you know what? Go take a nap, I can handle this today”. I shouldn’t have to ask when my distressed face shows it all or when the extreme cries in my head are so loud it keeps us up all night. But here I am, pulling through the fourth waking of the night at 4:19am. Wish me luck and strength through it all. For some reason, today I need it more than usual.