The MommyGuilt Monster. I kind of think he looks like this:
(Credit: Cute Monster by ~WotansKriegerin on deviantART)
At first glance, he looks cute, no? But don't be fooled. He is one passive-aggressive MOFO. I know he doesn't make any sense. I fully understand that he is irrational, and what he says MAKES. NO. SENSE.
"RAWR. You should work. You should stay at home. You're not good enough. Nothing you do is right. You work out too much. You don't work out enough. Why don't you make more crafts? Why don't you cut their sandwiches into the shape of an elaborate pirate ship with sails and action figures? Why did you allow them to eat a french fry and non-organic chicken? RAWR WORSTMOTHEREVERRAWR!"
As much as I know that he makes no sense, I still hear him. Quite often. And the funny thing is, once I make peace with him, ignore him, and move on, he seems to go away. He's like the one bad kid in the room that wants all the attention, but when no one pays attention, he actually shuts up, you know?
Swimming has been difficult lately. Like, nonexistent. Because MommyGuilt Monster was rawring all over my attempts to swim. But what if I'm not around in the morning as much before school? But what if I go after school and Matt has to pick the kids up? BUT?! BUTBUTBUT! Life CANNOT go on without ME! ME ME ME
(MommyGuilt Monster is really about validation, sometimes.)
The funny thing? That things CAN go on without me. And go quite well, after all. That my husband is an amazing father, and doesn't need me to hover like an annoying insect whispering, "Do you need me to help? Should I get her socks? Did you remember their lunches?"
No. No. And YES ALREADY!
Here's a classic example. I was really, really going to try and swim Friday morning. The goal was to pack up the bag and go to the pool and then go straight to work, which is about a block away from the pool. There is no good reason I haven't been swimming. I practically work in the building. But I haven't, and it's mostly because of Monster and how he won't shut up about me "missing it." "It" being time, space, minutes, seconds, breakfast, WHATEVER.
It took me about 348,942 minutes to pack everything up. I got annoyed. I grumbled.
And then it appeared.
Rawr. You won't see the kids before school. You're a MONSTER. They will not survive the day.
So then, at about 11:30pm, I changed my mind. I'd go, come home and shower and see the kids off, and then go to work.
Yeah! That's a good idea!
But the Monster got louder.
WORST idea ever, RAWR. They won't see you for more than a few minutes. RAWR. That's not quality time RAWRRAWRRAWR. MOMMYFAIL.
Before I knew it, it was 2:03am and I was still wide awake. Panicking. That if I wasn't around EVERY second in the morning, the world would cease to spin on its axis.
See? Irrational. But that's how the Monster works.
So what ended up happening, you ask?
I was so exhausted I slept in and was almost late--thank goodness Matt came in to wake me up! No swim. And, the kids were already dressed and in the car, with their lunches and blankies.
So that precious important time that Monster told me I'd be a failure if I missed?
I missed it anyway. AND my swim.
I thought about it a lot Friday. It seems that Monster has a way of making me feel guilty about things that really don't need guilt about. Yes, I've been at this for almost 4 1/2 years. No, that's not news. But I'm really going to try and be better about letting Monster in my head.
I swam after school. It was awesome. I remembered how much I love the pool, and how much I'm a TRIATHLETE and not a runner or a cyclist or a duathlete. And to be a triathlete requires swimming, which I love anyway, and I need to make this work for me.
That when I have that short time--just 40 minutes, even--in the pool, it reminds me of summer and the beach and races, and it makes me happy. And that, in turn, makes me a better mother.
So here's what I'm going to do, at least once during the week:
Swim from 5:45-6:25am. Yes, it's short. But I can do some harder sets in there, and I'm going to have to live by the philosophy "quality over quantity" for a while, because that's my life at the present time.
Quick shower until 6:35.
Home by 6:45am. See kids off and put Bean's hair in piggies.
Dry hair, change, coffee. Out the door by 7:30am. Back to my school, which is 0.5 miles from the pool. But doing it this way will allow me not to have to pack EVERYTHING in the free world, and I'll get to see the kids in the morning, which, let's be honest, is probably more important to me than to them. I'm pretty sure they're happy to see me whenever it is, YOU HEAR ME, MONSTER?
MommyGuilt Monster is one powerful, loud, SOB. I may not be able to drown him out entirely, but I'm going to try. I'm going to do my best to ignore him and look the other way and remember that sometimes giving up a few frantic, "did you brush your teeth?" minutes in the morning will lead to many more quality minutes later in the day. And that it's important for me to continue doing things I love as much as I can. To show my kids that it's important, too. And to set a good example for them on how to stay active, even if you have to get creative in the process.
Be gone, Monster. I took my cuties to see an Eric Carle stories play this morning downtown at Playhouse Theater, then lunch at Chick Fil-A (Bug's favorite treat), and now one's napping and the other's playing with his daddy. You can't tell me I'm doing this wrong. You can't tell me I'm not good enough. Well, you might try, but I sure as hell am NOT going to listen.
And anyway, I'm off to the pool.