Letting go of the mommy guilt

Created and inspired by my kids, I became Super Mom for the Turkey Trot.

Created and inspired by my kids, I became Super Mom for the Turkey Trot.

Two sentiments have struck a chord with me since my last post.
One was my pastor speaking about God’s love. He said that when you love someone, you put their needs ahead of your own. You love them more than you love yourself.
The other was spoken during a bonus feature of the “Man of Steel” DVD. In speaking about Gen. Zod, someone noted how villains never really see themselves as evil. They are trying, in their own warped way, to achieve a noble goal. In Zod’s case, he thought he was restoring Krypton by getting the Codex, destroying the human race and killing Superman.
I agree with both notions of love and villains. There is a time, however, when you have to put your loved one’s needs aside so you can meet your needs. There comes a time when a villain does something heroic to prove he or she isn’t a monster.
I have been dealing a lot with what some consider mommy guilt. Any mother — working, stay-at-home, nanny-raising-kids-instead — deals with this at some point.
When you feel guilty, that means you’ve struggled and carefully thought out your response.
You miss out on one of your child’s activities so you can meet another obligation. For me, I work a shift where I rarely get to see my kids at night. When my kids ask, “Why do you work so much?” I fall apart, every time.
I love my family. By doing the daily chores, going to work, taking care of our small business, etc., I’m showing that I love them, that I’m willing to put their needs above my own.
I am, but am not, that person who can do everything. I can do a lot and make it look like I do everything. But I need help and breaks, just like everyone else.
I also needed give myself permission to let go and delegate responsibility more.
My kids are old enough to do certain things, but I did a lot of it for them. Why? I didn’t want to deal with the aftermath of any failure.
I also had to accept help from my significant other. He’s there to help, even if I can’t watch him do dishes. (The sight of wet dishes going into closed cabinets makes me gag.)
As a part of this whole letting go experience, on Thanksgiving eve, I decided to have fun. The next day I ran a Turkey Trot, and I wanted a costume. I didn’t have a tutu, but I did have pens, markers and my kids’ imagination.
We created Super Mom. I had a shirt with a logo, cape (back of an old tie-dyed shirt), tiara (beaded headband) and a mask.
On Thanksgiving Day, I ran down on of the busiest streets in town toward the rail-trail in my costume. I made my way to the finish line in 29 minutes, 20 seconds. It wasn’t a personal best, but I beat my time from last year’s race. I think there’s a 2012 race recap in this blog somewhere.
I met some cool people, especially those who liked my cape.
While my primary goal was to get the last of the Morgantown Area Grand Prix races under my belt, I also ran for my kids.
I gave myself permission to be silly with them, not the know-it-all adult I often portray in our house. I broke that rule I created for myself that made me feel like I was an “acceptable” mom.
I don’t think “acceptable” works anymore for me. I like “super,” “rock star,” or “awesome.”
This will be my main goal for 2014. I want to show my kids that there’s a time to be serious and a time to play.
I’m probably still going to feel guilty for using my gym membership or going for a run for more than an hour. But I won’t feel that guilty. When they see how much I’ve accomplished and how I’ve taken care of myself, I want them to be just as proud of me as I am of them.
Like Darth Vader throwing the Emperor to his death in order to save Luke and the future, maybe this is my last saving throw against true villainy.
I don’t want to be the parent no one talks too when my kids grow up.

***

On a side note, I ended up placing in the top 10 in the Morgantown Area Grand Prix. I’ll get a certificate for doing eight out of 10 races and something else. Will get my stuff soon. I’m so excited! *happy dance*

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