The Guilt, and the totally irrational way it can take over.

I fall into the “I don’t know how she does it” clique all the time. I work full-time, I teach cycle classes, I have twin 3 year old boys, I make time for friends and family, I manage to run most mornings, and I carry The Guilt (more commonly known as Mom Guilt, which should just be Parent Guilt) like no other. I can do all this because my husband is a god damn saint. He stays home with our boys full-time and makes sure every single thing about our home life is on point.

Even with our wonderful setup, The Guilt creeps in. I wanted to share 2 moments and the irrational way they made me unreasonably upset. I want to share to create more conversation about this type of feeling and how we can all (men and women) be kinder to ourselves and understand that life happens, and Perfection is a distant, distant planet.

The Run

On most mornings I go for a run. I take our dog Maverick, I meet my friend S, and we gab and run. Some mornings don’t go as planned especially when my kids decide that 5:15am is the new 8am and are raring to go before the sun is up. On this one particular morning, instead of running with the dog and S, I opted for pushing the twins. It’s about 80–100lbs to push these buggers, but if it gives my husband some time away from them and some shut eye, and I can get a run in, then I’m all for it. We run, I sweat, Maverick is mad he didn’t get to go, but on my return the kids start to tear through the house yet again, and I get overcome with guilt. I feel like a piece of garbage that my poor husband has to deal with them again and I wasn’t able to relieve him for more time.

This is madness. It’s before 7am, I have let my husband sleep for an extra (uninterrupted) hour, and now it’s time for me to get ready and go to work (which has a 1+ hr commute each way). Why do I feel like garbage? Why am I doing this to myself?

It’s irrational, it makes no sense. But here are the things that pull me out of this funk and I hope just one person will take these with them today as they feel The Guilt creeping in.

  1. Unless your partner or someone tells you what you have done has made them unhappy or is off-base, then stop making shit up. You only have yourself to blame for these feelings. Let those feelings come in and let you know they are there, but then punch them in the face.
  2. You are doing so much for your family already. Whether you are a SAHM, SAHD, part-time employee, full-time employee, or whatever else there is out there, you are ALWAYS a full-time parent. And that is something that can’t be argued. You may contribute to your kids childhood through facetime and/or financially — you make this family run. You should feel nothing other than proud.
  3. It’s OK to be sad. It’s not OK to feel guilty. The feeling I should have felt after the run was sadness that I didn’t get to hang out with my family for the rest of the day. Maybe even jealousy towards my husband who gets to hang with the boys each day. But guilt doesn’t make sense. I had nothing to be guilty for. I am going to start re-chategorizing my emotions, and I hope you’ll do the same too.

The School

Our twins are late talkers. They have a special language, they can communicate in their own way but they aren’t quite where they should be with their language. We had Early Intervention and now we receive services from our school. Services that I have had to push for a bit.

Today, was our first day of a new schedule. A new day of the week for services, and a new time. I put it on the family calendar. My husband and I talked about it a couple days ago. I left the house at 5:15am to hop a flight to California for work, and wouldn’t you know it at 9:06am I remembered the kids had speech at 9am.

My husband had forgot too. We never talked about it this morning.

And we both felt like total idiots for missing. The school emailed and I had no excuse other than “sorry.” How could I have forgot? Why wasn’t I thinking about what the kids had today?

The Guilt is different here because we both felt it. Not specific to me working, not specfic to my husband being responsible for the kids during the day. This hit both of us, and as we shame-spiraled in embarrasment and annoyonce with ourselves, I had to stop. On a flight across the country (where I am typing this from right now), my head space would be much better spent somewhere else.

Here is how I got over The Guilt on this one:

  1. We are not the first people to miss an appointment, a session, school, etc. As much as we feel like idiots, this has probably happened 1000x before with much less apologetic folks. Give yourself a break, put your error on a scale — it’s way, way at one end. The end that doesn’t matter.
  2. Find comfort in each other. It made me feel so much better texting with my husband when he said “we just look like idiots.” I couldn’t agree more. And having someone to commiserate with, makes the whole thing so much better. It wasn’t his fault, it wasn’t my fault. We had it on the calendar, we just both lost track of the day and the time. Use each other to build each other up versus pointing fingers. They’re called your partner for a reason. That partnership is something that should be leveraged.

Thank you for reading, and letting me share the icky way The Guilt can creep in from 30,000 feet up. I’m here for you, and your irrational guilt.