Tonight my husband and I had a date night, first time in over a year and a half. Thanks to my wonderful BFF, whose name isn’t Beth, along with her husband took the kids for few hours so we could go to dinner and a movie. It’s so nice to have friends in your life that care about you and your well-being. Eric and I needed this so bad, a night away from the kids. It was like we recharged the batteries for our relationship. After going this long without ‘us time’, you begin to forget to take the time for the each other and care for that relationship. Just like it is essential to take “me time”, you need to have that connection with your significant other and or that connection with yourself.
“Me time” has always been hard for me to do. I have always, since the kids came into m life, felt so much guilt when I would take the “me time”. Some times it was as small as taking a bath, and I felt guilty about that. I wasn’t spending the time with the kids so that means I must be a bad mother. That was my worst nightmare ever. I had it in my head exactly how a mother should be and it wasn’t someone who took time for themselves. I don’t know how that ever got stuck in my head but I would burn myself out so much because I wasn’t taking that time. I began to be very emotional with the kids, and always exhausted. I remember having this conversation with my therapist and telling her about this one evening I was so over stressed so much so that the slightest things would make me cry. I felt that overwhelming guilt and then I would cry, and then I would make my son cry who was about 5 at the time. So I was telling my therapist about how I was this horrible mother and how I was ruining my kids lives and going on and on about this. Finally my therapist stopped me and said “Lisa, if you were that horrible of a mother, do you honestly think a bad mother would feel guilty about taking “me time” or let alone feel guilty for being emotional in front of your son and letting him see that its ok to cry?” I never thought about it like that and I always tried to hide any emotions if it wasn’t me being happy. I was actually doing a disservice to my kids because I was showing them that having emotions, good or bad, wasn’t ok to have.
My fear of failing as a mother has been less and less over the years. I don’t feel as guilty for taking a date night with my husband anymore, and “me time’ is getting a lot better. I’m not 100% perfect but it takes time to change and as long as I am trying, that’s all that I can ask myself.
It would be interesting to see who feels more guilt, men or women, people in pain all the time, or people with a chronic illness. I think we need to start a poll to see how it comes out.