Oops, I caught the mom guilt

This weekend at church, the main topic of discussion was about regrets, and the “what ifs” and “so whats” of our lives, and one thing that the speaker said really hit home. She said, “Parenthood is a crash course in guilt.” When she said this, I chuckled, because for all of the good intentions, all of the research and debating and positive thinking, as a parent you always worry, “Was it the right decision?” or “Did I do the best I could?”

Today is a great example. I am home today. All day, the house was silent. Why? Both Mr. Dad and Miss A were not home. He went to work, and I dropped her off at daycare this morning. I took today to get caught up on some other responsibilities in my life, mainly homework, but to be honest, I spent a bigger part of the day just taking a breather. I can’t remember the last time I was home alone for an extended period of time. It may have been before she was born. It was nice. I decompressed, decluttered my brain and in that sense, I feel amazing.

So why do I feel so guilty about it? When I left her at day care this morning I felt overwhelmingly guilty, like I should be keeping her at home with me since I’m home and all. But on the other hand, I really needed a day alone to take care of some other things and just breathe, separated from the daily comings and goings, work, daycare, grocery shopping, errands, and so on.

Then, when I talked with Mr. Dad about how I felt, he said to me, “So should I feel guilty that I would take the baby to daycare so that I can have a day to myself?” And of course the answer is no.

I think we as parents tend to forget about ourselves. Our natural inclination is to put our children first, and, of course, that’s how it should be. We forget, though, that part of putting our children first is making sure that we take care of ourselves. Happy parents have happy children.

Miss A was no worse for wear today because I took her to daycare. She had been out for a week already and was so thrilled to be back with her friends…and then so thrilled to be reunited with me at the end of the day. So, while I still feel a little guilty about it, all in all, I know I did a good thing for both of us.

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