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GUILTY CONSCIENCE
Anders and I were on the phone together, while at work today, coordinating our calendars for the next 2 months, and as I gave him date after date to add, I kept feeling guiltier and guiltier. I'm not 100% sure why. But with choir every Wednesday evening, a club event nearly every weekend, and a club activity nearly every week, not to mention family things, and non-club commitments, I feel as though I'm gone from home A LOT. Granted some of the events are with family and/or spouse, but still. Anders has hockey-bockey every other week but it's at 11 p.m. and he has hockey practice Saturday mornings, so why am I feeling guilty?

I told him that I thought the addition of a weekly commitment (choir) was stressing me out a bit, and his reply was that he thought I really needed something for myself. I said that the club activities already fulfilled that function and his response was, "No, those you do for others." And he's right, although I get a lot out of them, too, and most of the time, I love going to club activities and hosting them, especially bookworms and social circles. Right now, I seem to be in a major love/hate relationship with the club.

I was talking to Debbie about it the other night as we were walking out of choir practice, and she told me I'm superwoman. While that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, I had to be honest, and told her that even if it may seem so, I pay for it in ways that others don't see. I don't spend as much time with my family as I ought; Anders is much more willing than I am to take the kids off for the day to the zoo or the woods for a picnic...leaving me to enjoy my solitude, which I DO need.

My philosophy has always been that a happy, fulfilled mother makes for happy, fulfilled children as long as they aren't being totally ignored, which they're NOT, so why the guilt? I'm NOT a perfect mother, I admit that freely, but I do think I'm a good one. However, I don't define myself purely as "the mother of Martin and Karin," and I honestly think that's a good thing.

/end guilty venting
 pensive
mood: pensive
music: XTC—That's Really Super, Supergirl


Comments

OK, there's a lot here that I don't know (like, what kind of club it is you're talking about?), but I'll let the kid in me do the talking anyways. If there is one thing in what you write that I want to repeat it's this: "My philosophy has always been that a happy, fulfilled mother makes for happy, fulfilled children". Because it's absolutely true.

I'm not saying your kids can't be happy and fulfilled unless you do these things, they can. But they will have a helluva lot harder time to get there, and it will never be uncomplicated.

I grew up with a mother who had no interests of her own, who sort of just left all other roles behind, except the mother-role. And while I of course love my mother, I do see how that's affected me and given me insecurities I don't think I would have had if my parents had been sticking with their hobbies, and actually doing things for themselves. The kids need that reference, and they certainly don't need the bitterness and rootlessness that will follow when the kids move out and the Mother is left unsure of what to do then.

I know, I don't have kids, I don't know what it's like, and all that. But I was so happy when I spoke with a girl-friend of mine a while back, and she agreed with me, there has to be room to be just YOU, in order for the parenting thing to work. We were speaking of creativity, as in my writing and her music/painting, but I think the point is pretty much the same regardless of what it is that makes you YOU.

I think your husband seems to be a wise man. (At least in this case.) Listen to him. At least in this case! ;o)

Thank you for that thoughtful response, and not incidentally, backing me up in my beliefs with personal experience. :) The club I was referring to is the American Women's Club, and you are right, my husband IS (at least part of the time) a wise man. :) :)

I totally agree with your other commenter.

But I would also like to add that for your children to have time with their father on their own is also a very good thing for both your partner and your children. :) He's a good guy for being willing to cover your time away from the family, but I think you're not acknowledging that he should have time with them to enrich their bonds and relationships :)

I think being a parent is THE most important job. If doing these things (outside events) enriches your life, it can only help enrich your childrens' as long as you still find time for them (which you've already stated you do). Go you! Be guiltfree! :) And enjoy that time! :) Alot of women don't get the opportunity.

You know, I hadn't really thought of it that way, but you're right. It IS just as important that the kids get quality time with their father, perhaps MORE so simply because they don't get as much time with him.

I agree with them, for what it's worth. You do need time for yourself, as it keeps you feeling like ... you. I don't know that you even define yourself firstly as 'the mother of Martin and Karin.' You're your own woman, and you also happen to be a mother, but that doesn't lessen your need to do something for yourself, whether it's crafting in solitude, going to choir, or, I don't know, skeet shooting. :) Guilt is probably normal, but I think you are right in your philosophy, so don't sweat it!

skeet shooting! LOL!

well..im not sure i can put my 2 cents in since i dont have kids but i think its good that you dont define yourself as just a 'mom' and nothing else.

i see SOOO many parents that are so wrapped up in their spouses and kids that its like they're not individuals anymore. it freaks me out when all a woman can do is talk about her kids or her husband.

Your philosophy is a good one me thinks :)

I know a lot of people like that and they scare me too.

not to mention i find them extremely annoying because why would I have so much interest in THEIR kid? haha

But their kids are the center of the universe. How could you not be interested?! LOL!

i dunno..i guess that makes me boring?? ;)

(Anonymous)

Well- the ultimate comment- from YOUR MOM!!!
Good job, Great job- it reminds me of when you kids were young- I had to get out of the house- go do something, anything- time away from kids is as needed as air! Your kids get breaks from you too- but a person who spends all their time thinking, doing for someone else is not a person in their own right.
So, ok- maybe you do DO too much- but then the question becomes one of "what is most important?"- so make a list of your activites- and rank them in order of preference- and then sut out one or two that are at the bottom. More if you want! Then after one or two months check how you feel- getting so upset about the Club- will only mean that before long you'll want to chuck it all- and then will feel guilty- Time with the kids IS important- but it's most important that you're there for when THEY NEED YOU- and you're then lovingly present for them and not stressed out because you are supposed to be doing something else. And best of all- Anders is a great Dad too- kids need that- and they are lucky to have him enjoy doing stuff with them-- remember the car he made- the COOLEST thing in the neighborhood - that, caring enough to be a scout Dad, and the fun times doing stuff together are what make great memories and great future adults!
Relax! Love, Mom

I love you, Mom!! :) XO

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