Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pity party over!

Whoa! I don't know how many of you had the chance read the dribble from my last post but I must apologize. What a load of whoa-is-me bullshit. I'm even a little bit embarrassed for myself.

I've now had a chance to think about things (and get a little rest) and I've come up with the following thoughts... (this may be more for me than you):

Being a mommy is more than a full time job. It is draining physically, emotionally and intellectually. You are on duty 24 hours a day. And you are bound to have some really challenging days, weeks, even months.

Anyone with a full time job gets time off. Even people who work long hard hours, get to go home and put their feet up at some point in time. They usually get at least a day or two off a week. And sometimes they even get to take vacations. And when they return to their job they feel refreshed and clear headed and they are better at their job for having a break (usually).

Although I don't want to liken my time with Ruby to being a "job" because I love and enjoy being with her so much, to some extent it is my job. And it is the most challenging yet rewarding job I've ever had.

I recognize that I need and deserve a break.

Any thoughts of guilt on this are purely my own issues, ones that need to be dealt with. I realize that there is no reason to feel guilty about taking some "me" time as long as I know that Ruby is being well cared for by someone who loves her. My mom is just that person.

I know that sometimes I have a tendency to make myself a martyr (I come by it honestly). I want to do everything myself and I don't want help from anyone. And when I have help I feel bad about it. Fine if I want to do that in my everyday life but I need to take a step back and look at it in a different perspective where Ruby is concerned. Because in the long run all I really want is what is best for her - and I should not confuse my own issues by making them seem like Ruby's issues. I should not fool myself into thinking that I am doing something for the sake of Ruby when in fact I am reacting to some of my own issues and convincing myself that the reasoning behind it is that I am doing what's best for Ruby.

Last night I had Steve take Ruby and entertain and care for her while I sat at the computer in another room (and wrote the previous post). I was away from her for about an hour. And even in that bit of a break I felt somewhat refreshed and was happy to see her and was excited to feed and snuggle her before bed. This made me realize that it is ridiculous of me to try to do this mommy thing without taking a break - and I will need to remind myself that it's not a real break if you feel bad about it the whole time. Missing her is ok, feeling miserable about it and not making the best of it is not ok.

I DO believe that it will make me a better mommy, and I DO believe that it will make her a better Ruby if we both get to do some things apart from each other once in a while. An overnighter to grandma's house should be thought of as as much a learning experience as reading a book, or tummy time, or sleeping in her own crib. I want her to be able to enjoy time on her own and learn and see new things.

As with any good relationship, you cannot spend every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moment together. It's simply not healthy. Some time needs to be spent apart if you are going to truly love and appreciate each other. I must take caution to not become the mom who loves her child so much that she smothers her.

If I want to be a good mom, I have to do this. For all parties concerned.

Now that I've come to this point mentally, all I need to do is make a plan, pick a day and find something that I want to do and make the most of it. I realize that my break doesn't have to be spent doing something big and spectacular (although that would be great fun). It could also be spent doing nothing much - maybe watching those movies that I rented (that didn't get watched as I predicted), maybe taking the time to cook myself a great meal, maybe hanging out in the book store for a couple of hours, or reading a book all afternoon, maybe just getting a good night's sleep. I must be cautious not to set my expectations too high on this and not to have my enjoyment depend on too many people other than myself - or I will surely be disappointed and it will defeat the purpose of it all.

I feel pretty pleased with getting myself to this place after such a dismal day yesterday. In the past I might have spiralled into the depths of depression, but after some careful thought I stopped it before it got carried away and even managed to come up with a solution. And as an added bonus, I managed to save myself a $110 therapist appointment with my DIY approach.

And when it happens, you can expect to read to read all about it here


Emily said...

Great post Tara! And I'm so thrilled that you came to the conclusion and the solution yourself. Mommy Martyrs are not good mommys they just want everyone to think they are. I know - my mum was one. (I once asked her when she was going to climb down off that cross she was carrying!)

I always think back to that analogy of the emergency oxygen in a plane. They tell you to fit your own before your child's for good reason. You won't be much good to said child (or anyone) if you're not breathing.

So grab that oxygen mask for you!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're feeling a bit better.

I'm looking forward to hearing what you decide to do on your me-time!

Somewhat Ordinary said...

For the first 3 months of me being home with the baby my husband came home at 4:00 pretty much everyday and took the baby for me. I would watch Oprah, play outside with the dogs, visit my parents, walk, visit a neighbor, go to the store-just something without the baby. It was fantastic. Then he changed jobs 3 months in and I lost that daily relief. Now I work again and while it isn't really a break because I have so much more to do in less time it makes me miss him like crazy and the mommy part of me can't wait to be back in mommy-mode!

Glad you reached that place and hope you can put it to practice!