My mommy guilt levels are through the roof right now. I'm writing this on the day before I take off for almost three weeks. And man, I think I have gone through every emotion possible.
You see, I use to play softball professionally but took a break. I had not played in eight years and was just recently asked to rejoin Softball Canada for the World Championships. This opportunity meant I could spend time getting back into the thing I loved but it also meant leaving my husband and my children for weeks for training and games.
This whole situation is like being pregnant and is paralleled as such:
You find out and are SO excited. The excitement stays for a while.
Then, you head into the "it's normal" phase and the excitement wears off a bit, but you're still anticipating and preparing for the upcoming event.
And then at the end it's more like, "This needs to happen, and it needs to happen now!"
I recently had the conversation with my husband Dave that I just need it to be time to go. I am struggling with trying to be everything and do everything, and I need a break to go and focus on one thing.
This is what we, as parents, do. All the time. I am no different. The only difference now is that I'm writing about it and actually putting it into words.
But we all feel the same. We all have busy schedules and deal with the ups and downs of mommy guilt - the happiness, sadness, craziness, and everything in between. As I've gone through this journey over the last few months, I've taken my lumps, both physically and mentally.
And, I have two main conclusions.
1. The grass is always greener. Or so we think
I have been a stay-at-home mom and thought: "Well, if I worked and I just got out of the house, I would have more sanity, and everything would be better!"
I've also been a working mom and thought: "Holy cow, if I could just stay at home and spend more time with my kids, everything would be better!"
The last two years have put me in a place where I have had to wear many (sometimes too many) hats. And I've come to the conclusion that wherever we are at that moment in time, it's going to be hard. Plain and simple.
We can easily romanticize the other option, convincing ourselves that it's the "easier" or "better" option. But, no matter what, IT'S ALL REALLY HARD! So we may as well get used to it.
The quicker we embrace the challenge, the quicker we stop wasting our time in the fantasyland of "easier" parenting, which, I can guarantee, is a fictitious world that only exists in the movies.
2. Mommy guilt is real
And since it's not going anywhere, we may as well turn it into something positive. In my case, mommy guilt has helped me get things done.
As I was preparing to leave, my mommy-guilt was in full swing. So I spent Monday with my daughter, just the two of us. Tuesday was a day with one son, Wednesday was spent with my other son and Thursday was Family Day. And I cherished those special moments, regardless of Dave telling me I was leaving for three weeks, not three years.
Instead of beating myself up, I tried to turn the mommy guilt into something to feel good about, something memorable. And, no, it wasn't easy. But I tried really hard because, you know, I actually care. I realized that mommy guilt comes from a place of caring. So feel good that you are a mom who truly cares!
Whether you feel guilty about taking time for yourself, for cleaning the house instead of going outside on a nice day, for spending more time with a needy child than with your other children, or, in my case, leaving for the summer to play softball, just remember, it's going to be OK.
Nothing is going to make it easier, not even that fantasy life where the grass is greener. Just rest your head on your pillow at night knowing you are mom that loves your children so much you feel guilty about every little thing.
And if all else fails, grab a bottle of wine, call a friend, discuss the reasons why you are both terrible, and make each other feel better. You'll never get rid of mommy guilt altogether, but you can stop trying to be the "perfect mom." Despite what Pinterest may show us, that woman simply doesn't exist.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on TrAkAthletics. It has been modified and republished here with permission.