Monday, September 12, 2011

Wine, Park, and Guilt

I am not very good at relaxing. I hate getting massages. I can't stand yoga (an hour alone with my thoughts is not relaxing). I don't like being at home very much. I always want to get out and do something.

Usually we are so busy that there is not much downtime for me to get bored but this past Sunday we did not have much going on and I so wanted to get out of the house. We were debating between taking Leo to the park or strolling around the Circle (the Circle is this adorable little town center where I live with antique stores, restaurants, a cute fountain, etc.). The Circle ended up winning. We walked around and had an appetizer and a glass of wine on the patio of a favorite restaurant. The weather was gorgeous and it felt like we were on vacation.

When we got back to the house, Leo was cuh-razy. He was just a little ball of energy that was ricocheting off the walls. I started to feel bad that we had not taken him to the park. The husband off-handedly commented, "oh Mommy was selfish and didn't take you to the park."

Me? Selfish? Putting my own needs before the baby? Never! It is all about him, all the time. Ok, maybe I was thinking more about me when I decided I wanted to go to a restaurant for a glass of wine and a little food. That definitely would not be Leo's first choice. He would have chosen the park. I declared that we were still going to the park and would go after dinner.

I fed Leo his dinner and got in the car to go to the park. There is an awesome, brand new, super clean with a perfect toddler sized playset park about 15 minutes from our house. I headed there. While I was driving I realized that the sun was setting. Crap! I have to take my baby to the park! I started to freak out and tried checking my phone for the sunset time. It was in 20 minutes! Shit! I started to use my navigation to find a closer park with no luck. Fuck it, I thought, we are going to the damn park and I floored it. Now I was the crazy mom in her crazy SUV driving like a bat out of hell to get to the park in time before the sunset.

Don't judge me about my cell phone use and bat out of hell driving. There is a reason why I bought Leo the most expensive car seat that ever existed.

We finally got to the park (the husband stayed home to work on the yard aka watch football). It ended up being a success. We had a solid 20 minutes of play time which is perfect for a toddler. Leo is obsessed with balloons right now and he saw a little girl with one, of course he started to chase her. The little girl didn't speak English and kept yelling at him in Spanish. I wanted to say "he just likes your balloon" but my high school Spanish was failing me and I was afraid of saying something horribly offensive which would prompt her parents yelling at me in Spanish. So I just kept redirecting him. Despite the constant chasing, we had fun.

On the way home I realized that I had no gas. After filling up, we got home around 8pm. Leo got a bath and went straight to bed he was so exhausted. All this because I felt compelled by guilt to get him to the park. Because I felt guilty for thinking about what I wanted to do before what the baby might want to do. Looking back, Leo had fun at the Circle and would have been fine without going to the park. We had fun at the park but the heart attack I suffered in trying to get there really wasn't necessary. He would have had just as much fun at home with us.

I need to remember that it is ok to think about what I want from time to time. That putting me first or listening to what I would like to do is ok and does not need to result in a frantic dash to the park to make up for it. When I was younger and I thought about motherhood being hard I thought it was because of the dirty diapers and sleepless nights. I did not fathom the sheer amounts of guilt that could stem from a simple decision to go to a restaurant versus the park.

Motherhood is kind of a mind-fuck.


  1. I always feel guilty when I feel like I need a night or meal away from the baby. I always end up guilting myself out of it and not going or having it.

    The Mister always tells me that it's a sign of a good mom to have the worry, and that it is OK to need some time with my old self.

  2. I hate those moments. I get some of those on the weekends--this past weekend I wanted to go to a farmer's market but the guilt of doing that instead of the park killed it. But at the same time, I DO need time to do "my" stuff.

    But man, that last line? Yeah. That. In big giant embossed letters.

  3. Try not to feel guilty, in truth the healthier you keep yourself. ie giving yourself that much needed break or moment to yourself in the end allows you to be a happier person and a better mom because you are taking care of yourself too! Well, at least that's my opinion now. I can only imagine the incredible guilt factor of which you speak at this stage in my life. xo