Mom Guilt & Learning to say Yes…& No

I feel like Mom Guilt is the worst feeling in the world. And it doesn’t happen just because I feel like I’m not spending enough time with my child, but I feel like that feeling comes often…like when my house isn’t clean, when I feel like I’m not spending enough time with my husband, when I don’t want to see family or friends because I just want to stay at home, when I question whether or not I’m doing enough for myself because if I’m not happy, my family can’t be happy and blah blah blah. Cue image of the mom who hasn’t showered, house is a mess, children are un-bathed and un-clothed and dog has pooped on the floor. And I work a full time job during the day so this is literally from 5-8ish at night. It all seems rather, “woe is me,” doesn’t it? Wine is my friend, people.

I say “mom” guilt because I feel like I really didn’t have this overwhelming feeling of disappointing people until I became a mom. I actually feel like I quite frequently choose others over William or choose different scenarios that he can’t be involved in, but I still feel like I let people down all. the. time. Even with Alex – a simple request from him to come sit on the couch and watch a TV show makes me feel like I HAVE to do it or he will be upset with me choosing to continue to put laundry away. Or the simple request results in a devilish response from me that equates to feeling like I haven’t spent more than 30 seconds alone since William has been born. Which is actually true – I feel like a magnet pulling whoever is in the house closer to me. Somehow William and Alex can be outside playing, full on dedicated to “guy time.” So I slip away for a quick shower and all of a sudden they have made it up the stairs into the bathroom just to be near me…and our house is not easy to navigate from the backyard. They had to be DEDICATED to finding me. And then when they show up in the bathroom while I’m in the middle of my shower, I’m thinking – oh no! Did William puke all over himself and need to be showered off this instant and therefore your trip to the shower was necessary?! No – we just came to say hi! …Wait, what?! …cue the rage. I can often hear, “let’s go see what mom is doing” and to be completely honest, many times the response is…mom is hiding so please don’t look too hard for me. Even now, as I write this, I feel guilty…am I giving them enough credit? Do I want to make it seem like I would rather be alone than hanging out with my family? Do I sound like I no longer want friends?! AHHH. And while it is slightly exaggerated, it IS true. Feelings are real and I’m learning that it is OK to say no. And more times than not, saying no is the best approach.

I tend to say “YES” all the time..just to say yes. And then I’m digging my hole deeper and deeper and forgetting to tell people that I actually can’t do what I promised, or that I will have to back out super last minute because there was no way in hell I was going to be able to make it from the beginning. But I tell myself, this is different. I’m going to make it happen because I know others do all the time and I can be THAT person who makes it happen…but I honestly will be miserable in the process. So this isn’t the typical, “no is a full sentence,” “you shouldn’t have to justify yourself,” “only do what you want” pep talk…although I get that it seems that way…

I’m truly learning how to say, “yes” more by figuring out how to manage my time. Figuring out how to get organized so that when the spur of the moment event happens – I don’t have a mountain of laundry waiting for me to do, or a closet full of clothes on the ground just asking to be hung up. Nothing has to be set in stone and it never has to be all or nothing. Maybe Monday – Wednesday is often set aside for family time. I dedicate those days to William and Alex. Maybe Thursday is date night or friend night…maybe two weekends a month we allow ourselves to only have 1 thing to do…or no things. And don’t think I have people lined up ready to hang out with me…it’s just managing the extended family requests and friend obligations and organizations we are a part of so we all don’t go insane. And guys…I have one child. I have this vision in my head of 5 kids in diapers wreaking havoc on my life and I often have to tell myself….you have one boy, Kelly. Get over it. Things could be and will be a lot crazier. So I’m using these feelings as a learning experience to manage my time better and allow myself to say “yes” because nine times out of ten I would prefer to sit on the couch and watch TV, but then I feel bad about the laundry and so on and so forth….you get the idea. And I have wine. Lots and lots of wine.


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