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Getting beyond the guilt factor....

(31 Posts)
Legacy Wed 22-Jun-05 22:25:48

Someone gave me a health club/spa gift voucher for my birthday, and the only time I could find to use it was in the evening. So tonight I left at 7.15 to go for a massage, leaving DH to (very capably, I might add) put the kids to bed.

As I was driving to the place I realised that I was feeling really guilty, as DH & I are out tomorrow night, and also on Saturday this week.

I kept thinking that's 3 night's I haven't read them bedtime stories....
It's not helped by the fact that my 2 year old is going through a really whiney demanding, "but I need YOUUUUUU Mummmmmmmy!" stage (although reportedly is absolutely fine the minute I leave the room..)

Does the feeling guilty for any tiny thing you do for yourself ever go away, once you have kids?

Or is it just me?

aloha Wed 22-Jun-05 22:26:50


Legacy Wed 22-Jun-05 22:27:51

? WOt? It IS me - and I should stop beating myself up???

moondog Wed 22-Jun-05 22:28:10

No,it's not just you but just remind yourself that there is an irrational and a rational part of the brain. Occasionally,the rational one has to win.

Lovely present,hope you enjoyed it.
My dh gor me a day in a spa for my birthday and I was so much nicer when i came back that I swear it benefitted us all.

aloha Wed 22-Jun-05 22:28:42

I mean yes to guilt, not yes to is it me.

Caligula Wed 22-Jun-05 22:38:20

It must be my Catholic upbringing, but I can honestly say that I've never felt any guilt about taking time for myself whatsoever. Anxiety sometimes, but never guilt. I just factor it in as one of those things which is in my child's interests, because if I've had some time to myself, i'll be more relaxed, therefore child will be happier. Maybe that's just a convenient rationalisation, but hey, it works for me.

motherinferior Wed 22-Jun-05 22:40:35

I think I end up grasping time for me so greedily there isn't space for guilt.

An attitude which makes me feel very guilty, obviously.

WideWebWitch Wed 22-Jun-05 22:43:34

God, I'm so relieved to get any time alone, - ALONE, I repeat! - that I don't have time to feel guilty since my overwhelming feeling is relief at having my body and brain (what little there is of it, shame I can't say the same for my body) to myself. Blimey, don't feel guilty! As you can see, I think it goes away!

trefusis Wed 22-Jun-05 22:44:27

Message withdrawn

Legacy Wed 22-Jun-05 22:45:42

I think it's probably because I work full-time, I kind of assume I MUST spend every other waking hour with my kids to make up for it .

soapbox Wed 22-Jun-05 22:47:45

The price I pay for escaping to work each day is that if I spend a moment of non-work time apart from the children I am crippled with guilt!

This has consequences! Haircuts/leg waxing etc have to be booked in what would be work time rather than home time Sometimes I marvel at the fact I still have a job despite my erratic performance

There are some friends for whom I endure the guilt - but manage meeting up with them on a strict rotational basis - no more than 2 nights out a week!

soapbox Wed 22-Jun-05 22:49:44

X-posted! Snap!

moondog Wed 22-Jun-05 22:52:33

I've swung bizarrely from working full time (with dh away for weeks on end) and never seeing my dd,to being a sahm who never gets any time alone (as dh is still usually elsewhere).There was a particularly trying period over last winter in Turkey (very long,cold and snowy) when the only respite I had in 8 weeks was a 20 minute trip to the supermarket alone. I'm frankly amazed that i didn't run amok with the blender.

I'm off to Birmingham next week to a concert alone and a night in Hotel du Vin alone.
Cannot stop thinking about it. If anyone talks to me,I shall probably punch them.

Legacy Wed 22-Jun-05 22:54:41

Rationally, I know it's completely non-sensical... my kids are ABSOLUTELY fine, and some "me-time" or ""Us time" for DH & I is all that keeps us sane.

Sometimes when I come home from work I feel I have to find something to 'do' in the same room as them (even if they're engrossed in something else) or else I'll feel I haven't 'spent time' with them.... (that's mad isnt it?)

Made me feel crap tonight when I told DD that I'd taken a week's (unpaid!) leave off during the school hols to do things with her, and she looked disappointed and said "Oh, but I wanted to go to KidsClub that week 'cos x, y, & z are going...." SO much for the guilt.....

WideWebWitch Wed 22-Jun-05 22:56:49

I'm fucking envious moondog. Of hotel du vin and aloneness, not Turkey alone with small children. Obviously! Legacy, I bet they're just happy that you're there and around

Legacy Wed 22-Jun-05 22:57:29

Moondog - I know EXACTLY what you mean. I ended up with an afternoon to spare in a shopping centre recently, and I jus couldn't buy anything, I was just too overwhelmed by the excitement at having 4 hours to myself - went and sat and drank coffee for most of it!

soapbox Wed 22-Jun-05 22:58:35

Legacy - I think for me the problem is only partly guilt.

I really really want to spend every spare minute with them for me, not for them

I look at them (at 5 and 7 yo) and know that their time of dependance on me is truely at an end and I find that gutting

I know that our role as parents is to turn out happy independent adults and I think we are well on the way to being successful at that. However, I secretly wish that they weren't untying the apron strings, just yet!

Legacy Wed 22-Jun-05 23:00:54

Yup - I can relate to that too! DD went off for tea to someone's house after school last Friday, when I would normally be with her, and I suddenly felt very 'bereft' and sad that I wasn't 'required'! )She's 5....

aloha Wed 22-Jun-05 23:01:32

One thing that I think is rarely factored into the the working mum v sahm/guilt crap is how much time with our kids we need. Not how much our kids need us but how much we need to be with them. I know I need quite a lot otherwise I get guilty and tense and twitchy. It's not about them, it's about me.So it makes sense to sacrifice lovely me time for 'them' time because otherwise I don't feel happy (iyswim). They would probably be equally happy, but I wouldn't be. Don't get me wrong, I love going out and shopping alone and being in a cafe in peace, but if I do it too much the happiness balance shifts and I stop enjoying it.

soapbox Wed 22-Jun-05 23:02:04

Hmm - obviously I mean dependance as in *total dependance. They are not quite ready to move out just yet. Although DD has mentioned leaving home a few times recently - she's not quite Queen Flounce - but is defintately Princess Founce

moondog Wed 22-Jun-05 23:05:15

The balance is a very delicate on aloha.I can switch from thinking 'Bloody kids! What about me??' to 'OMG, I'm a useless drunken feckless cow who cares more about trivial get togethers with other adults than her babies' in literally minutes.....

soapbox Wed 22-Jun-05 23:05:47

Aloha, you are so right - the SAHM vs WOTHM focuses so much on the child's needs that the mothers' (and fathers') needs seem unimportant.

This Friday is an inset day for their school so they have the day off. I'm so looking forward to a lovely day out with them

Legacy Wed 22-Jun-05 23:06:09

Aloha - I think you're right - it has to be REALLY worthwhile for me to sacrifice time with them. And if I do miss putting them to bed one evening, for example, as soon as I'm home I have to go and kiss/sniff them while they're asleep, sort of to 'reconnect' with them IYSWIM...

Gawd ---- I sound like a dog!

Caligula Wed 22-Jun-05 23:08:38

I think that's a very good point Aloha, and one women are generally reluctant to make, because the "the kids need it" argument is likely to be better received than the "I need it" argument. And also, we're trained not to demand stuff we want, but to cater to everyone else's needs. So when we talk about our children's need for us, that's an acceptable currency, whereas talking about our need for them is seen as self-indulgence - we've got no right to put our need to spend time with them above our duty to go and self-actualise in the workplace (or elsewhere).

moondog Wed 22-Jun-05 23:09:06

Know where you're coming from, legacy.The first day my dd went to nursery,when I picked her up,I had to b/feed her straight away to 'reclaim' her,whilst weeping into her hair and kissing her little hands, as she smelt of one of the workers' perfume.
Still find that such an olfactory affront when they have been with other people.

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