Balance. The Oxford Dictionary defines balance as an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. How the heck do parents do it?! And how do you not feel guilty?
It’s been months since you’ve experienced a night out. A night without kids, conversing with adults, and using sentences that contain more than five words. You’ll get to eat a hot meal instead of cold leftovers of the food your kids didn’t eat. Maybe enjoy some drinks with friends, and indulge in dessert. A night without changing diapers, bath time, or cleaning up toys.
For me, getting a night out with friends, or even a date night with my husband, is few and far between. I always find myself looking forward to an ‘adults only night’ leading up to it, but about one hour after we’ve left out house, I find myself missing my son, and wondering what he’s doing.
A night without our son usually means a roller coaster ride of emotions for me. By the end of the night, no matter how great of a time I’ve had with friends, I can’t wait to get home and see my son.
My night usually goes like this:
Check-in with baby-sitter
Laugh some more
Wonder what my son is doing
Check-in again and say goodnight/hope my son has gone to sleep
Guilt that I’m away from my son
Guilt that I’m missing my son and not giving my friends enough attention
Continue to miss my son, and start looking at photos on my phone of him
Say goodnight to friends, and feel bad because I don’t know when we will get a night out with them again
Excitement because I get to go home and see my son.
Now, most nights, when my husband and I get home, my son is fast asleep and has no idea that we have even returned.
But as soon as I get home, I get a sudden sense of relief.
I always go in and rub my sons back, tell him I love him, and that I missed him.
Yes, I enjoy time with my friends. Getting an adults only night out is something every parent needs. But that doesn’t mean I can’t miss my son the entire time. The guilt I feel when I’m not around him consumes me sometimes. Between working full-time, plus travel time back and forth to work five times a week, the amount of hours I spend away from him adds up. Then add in running errands without him sometimes, because let’s be honest, most of the time its easier and quicker to go to the grocery store by myself while my husband stays home with our son. And then there’s sleep. Sometimes its only four or five hours; sometimes my hubby let’s me sleep in and I can get about 8 hours of sleep. Add all that together, and that’s a lot of time not spent with my son.
The mom guilt is REAL!
What if I miss his first steps? What if he gets hurt and I’m not there to comfort him? Who is going to practice shapes and colors with him? These are the things I think about when I’m laying in bed late at night and can’t sleep. How do other moms find the balance? How do parents get out of the house and not feel bad for leaving their kids at home?
Is there such a thing as the perfect balance between family, work, friends, and hobbies? If there is, I need to hear about it!
I can’t lie, I enjoy a fun night out with friends. But I’m happier at home, playing with my son, watching him learn new things everyday. No one makes me smile as big, or makes me laugh as hard as he does. When he crawls over to me and throws himself into my arms; nothing beats that feeling. So yes, I love my friends, and I love our time together, but sometimes, I’m going to have to say no, and stay home so I can spend time with my son. And I’m positive I won’t regret my decision.
But the guilt does still linger sometimes.