Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I guess guilt comes with the territory.

Thanks to our wonderful economy and extremely slow business yesterday, I won a paper-rock-scissors with our other doctor and got to leave work early yesterday. I saw my last appointment at 1pm and then I was free. Normally I pick J up from daycare around 5:30pm, so to have several free hours stretching before me was a real treat. Like most moms with a working guilt gland, however, as soon as I left work the inner conflict began. My immediate thought when my boss let me leave early was that I would pick J up early and find something fun to do. This was quickly followed by a different idea -- have the free afternoon to myself, which is really, really, really rare. I work 4 days a week, and on the other 3 days I'm home with J. Some weeks I work weekends, too, so like most moms I don't ever have real "days off." Sure, when we're home together I'll run to the store or workout or get my hair done, but it never feels fair for me to leave J with TH all day when it's his weekend, too. So I end up feeling guilty about that on top of everything else and I never have my extravagant "Me Days" that I'm always planning.

I decided to swing by TH's office and we had lunch together with just the two of us, another really, really, really rare occurrence. By the time we were done, I knew that even at daycare J would be taking his nap, so I headed off to get a pedicure and my eyebrows waxed, something I haven't done in months. But I couldn't help but feel guilty the whole time! I kept wondering, which is worse: Leaving your kid at daycare when you could have picked him up early, just to do something as trivial as a pedicure, or never taking time for yourself? My days are full from sun-up to sundown of things that need to get done for other people: feeding, cleaning, working, taking care of sick animals, driving, getting things ready for the next day, etc. My only true "just me" time is when I can scrounge up enough energy to go work out. It's a classic case of trying to be Supermom when I'm just a regular person.

Bridget wrote a great post the other day about a certain celebrity's completely unrealistic view of what is to be a mom these days, spouting off about how wonderful and fulfilling her pampered and assisted life is and how if we just try hard enough we can all be like her. I bet she's never wracked with guilt about leaving her children in someone else's care for a couple hours (or a couple days) so she can sneak away and relax with her feet in bubbles, reading Us Weekly and drinking wine. I bet when she's getting her eyebrows waxed, she's not tensely watching the clock thinking about how much she's been working lately and how her kid was the last kid picked up from day care every day last week and if she wasn't so selfish she would have picked him up an hour ago and they'd be happily skipping along eating ice cream cones with him happily proclaiming "You're the best mommy ever!!"

So I still managed to race over to daycare an hour before usual, and was super proud of myself that J was The First Kid Picked Up this time. Of course when I got there J had just gotten up from his nap and was cranky, throwing his cup in the car and screaming all the way home about "NO JUICE!! I WANT CHOCKA MILK!!", and then later I almost threw my back out overcompensating for my guilt and wrestling around with him in the living room. Darnit. I should have added a massage onto my spa package.

At least when TH got home he noticed the eyebrows.


LauraC said...

Oh yes, I know this guilt very well!

Heidi O said...

I am glad you tamped down that guilt to get something done for you and that's great that th noticed.

Joanna said...

Yep, the guilt does come with the territory. You nailed that one right on the head.

claudia said...

Drop the guilt. I know its hard but if they are in a good daycare situation they are happy with their routine. When I pick up my DC early she is angry that I have disrupted her. If I come while she is sitting around the tiny table having afternoon snack with her "friends" she would rather have me join than to go home with me. They need a break from us sometimes too. It sounds like J has a good attentive mom and she needs some time to herself to just read a book or go the spa.