I Don't Leave My Daughter's Side All Weekend

5 years ago

This coming weekend, my husband will be going out on Saturday night and Sunday night to socialize with his friends. He will also probably go to the gym for an hour or two at some point on Sunday. Me? I’ll be no more than two feet away from Emmy, for the 60 plus hours that stretch from Friday night to Monday morning.

Clocks for Den

But don’t read resentment in the tone of that statement. There honestly is none. The fact of the matter is, my husband asked if I wanted to hire a babysitter so I could go with him on Sunday night, and I said no. My husband would also be MORE than happy to watch Em if I wanted to take a break and go join a Zumba class, or take a walk, or just go lie down for an hour or so.

So what’s my issue? It’s simple. I have an acute case of the “working mommy guilt complex.” I just can’t let go of “we time” in order to grab some well-deserved, much-needed “me time.” It’s crazy! I get jealous whenever I overhear other women talking about their plans to get together with their friends for dinner and drinks, or go see a show at one of the local theaters. But if one of my girlfriends calls up and tries to make plans with me, I start stuttering and pacing around, coming up with lame excuses as to why I can’t join in the fun.

This is how my inner conversation goes, every time I consider going out SANS Emmy on the weekend:

Non-mama self: Hey, mama! So, going out to dinner and a movie with the girls sounds like a GREAT TIME, doesn’t it?

Mama self: Yeah, that sounds terrific! Let’s do it!! (Pause)Um… except…

Non-mama self: Oh lord, here we go again…

Mama self: But I only have 60 hours to be with Emmy before I have to go back to work again! I have to make the most of every minute!

Non-mama self: By the time the evening rolls around, Em is going to be sleepy and cranky anyways, so you aren’t going to be missing out on much “quality time.”

Mama self: But I’ll miss feeding her dinner – it’s so much fun feeding her dinner! And what if she learns to say a new word, like “pasta,” and I’m not there to hear it? I will feel SO bad. And getting Em into her pajamas while she is screaming bloody murder? That’s always tons of fun. I wouldn’t want to miss that.

Non-mama self: Seriously, don’t you MISS the parts of you that are not defined as “Emmy’s mama?”

Mama-self: Well, yeah, but I get a break from being “mama” 35 hours a week!

Non-mama: That’s called work. That’s hardly a break. You NEED “you time!” If you don’t get “you time,” you will begin to begrudge Emmy for requiring all of your energy. Plus besides, your friends will start to hate you for not hanging out with them.

Mama-self: But I don’t begrudge the time I spend with Emmy. Sure, I’d like to get to the gym, and hang out with the girls, and work on my art projects again, and go on more than a once-a-month date with the hubster. But if I don’t spend the entire weekend with Em, I’m worried that I will get to the office on Monday, and feel like I didn’t get my entire “mama fix” satisfied. I’ll have to go through another FIVE WHOLE DAYS before I get another opportunity for real one-on-one time with the little one.

Non-mama self: You’re crazy. I give up. I’ll come back when Emmy is twelve, and doesn’t WANT to spend any time with you. Maybe you will want a social life THEN.

This debate happens ALL THE TIME. Every once in a while, the non-mama part of me will win the argument, and I WILL go to the gym, or on a date with my husband. But most of the time (by quite a wide margin), it’s the mama-self that wins.

What about you? Do you go through this same (or a similar) inner battle of “me time” vs. “we time”? Who wins, your mama-self, or your non-mama self?

And yes, I am totally looking forward to being told I am crazy by all the working mamas who still have a social life and an active gym membership, and somehow manage to feel guilty about nothing.


Dvora Koelling
Parenting with imagination. Or at least trying.


Photo Credit: robandstepanielevy.

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