Under the surface
“This stay at home mom gig is sometimes more rough than others. I mean, as a mom, I already always feel like people feel they’re open to judge me as a woman and a parent. I feel pressured to go out of my way to constantly do fun or educational things even when I’m physically or mentally exhausted. I fear posting to Facebook for people will judge me for spending time online. I feel bad when my kids are watching TV, or playing on their tablets….I just…I’m tired!”
This was a message I sent one of my friends during the day. I meant it. I know that being a parent is a tough job and there will always be some ongoing resentment war between the stay at home vs the working away from home parents. This situation was specifically about my sudden abundance of time to spend with my children during summer break. I have been a single working mom, a married working mom, and a stay at home mom all over the last 16 years of my life, so I’m not minimizing the responsibilities of which mom/parent someone is.
Why do I feel like I have to justify everything I say or do or quantify it to “as a mom” or some other way? Sometimes, I just want to let some steam off and say that I’m spread out really thin or I’m exhausted without having to qualify the statement with a reason or reasons to make it acceptable for me to feel that way. I feel that way and I don’t need an explanation to excuse it. I want to say something out loud so it isn’t bubbling under the surface.
If you’re someone who knows me, you probably know that I truly care about everyone I meet and I pray for them and will listen and do what I can to help. Heck, there are some people I’ve never met that I truly care about and pray for. I don’t expect anything in return for it and I don’t feel one must explain him/herself for feeling a certain way about something. I’m sure a lot of my feeling constantly scrutinized is in my head as part of my anxiety, but that doesn’t mean that I write it off as anxiety. I get anxious about my anxiety.
Filling my buckets
Kerri Walsh Jennings was on NBC’s Today for an interview and she mentioned her buckets in her life and how if she starts to feel grumpy, she goes back and looks at which bucket isn’t being serviced.
While my interpretation isn’t parallel to the way she discusses it in her interview, I do see that there is probably a reason behind my frustration. I have been running, but I am not currently involved in any specific training. I haven’t had anything holding me accountable and I don’t have as much time to go for a run as I did when the kids were in school. My fitness is still being taken care of, but as more of an afterthought than a priority. Then, I need to worry about people claiming that kids are the only priority when you have them and anything less is sub-par parenting. I can understand devoting time to kids and not being able to be self centered as a parent, I cannot see a person being expected to completely focus all of their energy and time into parenting. In my opinion, that would deter growth for the parent as an individual and affect interpersonal relationships.
Tie it together already
I am excited to start half marathon training next week and training for my first full marathon in a few weeks. I’ll start out with mentoring the half marathon group 2 days a week and add 2 more days with the full training. I know a lot of time goes into training and I also know that mommy is gentler, less anxious, and more energized when she’s doing something she enjoys and getting out of the house. So, I refuse to feel guilty for looking forward to my time away and enjoying it when I get it. I look forward to interacting with people and even seeing people reach their goals this fall. I also am excited that my kids can see me set and reach goals for myself because they will ultimately follow my example, not my advice. While some people might tell their kids to reach for the stars, I’m going to do my thing and let them see me reach for them, too!
I know I’m not the only parent who feels like the judgement is constant and unrelenting. So maybe you could be gentler on others and on yourself? Maybe if you think something someone else is doing is wrong, you could take a look in the mirror and do an inventory of yourself.