A jiggly bowl of guilt

So, I think it’s time. It’s time for me to join a gym. Since having Sam my exercise regime has been pretty much nil, with the exception of my awesome performance at the strollercize class, of course. And so as I watch my stomach jiggle (I originally spelled that “giggle” - wonder what that means…) due to my newfound obsession with baking and devouring the results, I figure I gotta do something here. But I’ll be honest, it’s not just to exercise. While the exercise element is all well and good and good for me too, this decision, in great part, is so that I can get a break…from Sam.

The gym that I am thinking of joining has childcare, and I would be joining specifically so that Sam and I could go during the week when Hubby is gone. I feel bad…sort of. In a lot of ways I think it might be good for Sam. We’re in each other’s face all the time. Maybe he’d like a break from me too. Maybe it would do us both some good. He might benefit from having some more independent time and exploring a new place with new people. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just rationalizing it that way so that I can feel ok about putting him in a childcare situation, which I’ve never done. Truth be told, Sam has never been left with anyone other than one friend we had back in Chicago and family members. The idea of leaving him in a room with strangers may end up being way more than I can handle. I also recall a few posts I’ve read in the past that make me wary of gym childcare. I went and toured the place on Saturday and asked a lot of questions. I also asked about it on the message board for “the club.” All the moms who responded said the care there was pretty good and that their kids enjoyed going. Maybe Sam would too.

I guess I just feel like I’d do a better job mothering if I could have just a little bit of time each week to do something for myself. It doesn’t really happen on the weekend because there is always so much to do, including spending time together as a family. The time just flies by. And yet the weekdays are loooooong. It’s just Sam and me for 13 hours every day. I feel like it’s really important for us to have ways to break up the day and keep things interesting. I am able to find TONS of errands to do in the morning just for the sake of getting out of the house for a change of scenery, but I can’t keep that up because it is just turning into a big spending habit that we totally CANNOT afford. This would be another way to have something scheduled in to break up the day and perhaps be beneficial for both of us. I get some exercise and a much needed break a few times a week, and Sam gets to do something a little more interesting than hanging out with Mommy at home or running errands. So why am I rationalizing this? Because when I read this over again it’s pretty obvious that that’t what I’m doing. Why should I feel bad about having someone else take care of Sam for a little while so that I can have 2-3 hours a week? Is it normal for me to feel bad about this? Jeez! Where does this come from, this mommy guilt?

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22 Responses

  1. Hey.. nice reading your blog.. am a new reader here.. =) it’s ok to be guilty and this proves that you are a great mum!!! mayb little sam will notice the change in mummy after she goes to the gym and enjoys mummy’s company even more?

  2. Go for it! It sound like it would be very good for both of you to have some time to yourself. Plus you’ll probably have more energy and a more upbeat after you exercise. Enjoy!

  3. I think it’s a great idea, the weather is going to get colder and this will be something to break up long days inside. It’s good for Sam to get some time with other kids too.
    By the way, I am one of those people who feel guilty about e-v-e-r-y thing. I am also an chronic “I-am-sorry-er”. I have found that mommy guilt is the hardest. You are a great mom and part of being a great mom is making sure that you are happy. If it makes you happy do it!

  4. I have learned that mommy guilt is a force to be reckoned with, But don’t let it win. You will feel great if you get some “you” time during the week, and then when you feel better, you will be a mom that is more fun for Sam.

  5. Kelli in the Mirror

    Feeling guilty just means you’re a good mom. Don’t worry about that part of it.

    Also, there’s a good chance he’s going to scream and hang on the door or your leg if he’s not used to being dropped off. It’s okay. I promise he will settle down really quickly. It will feel like you are being terrible to leave the first time, but just rip the bandaid off and do it quickly. Get out of his eyesight and he’ll be fine. :) Don’t let it make you think you don’t deserve to have a break, because you do.

  6. Adventures In Babywearing

    I would love to have such an opportunity- do it while you can! Only if you can get past the guilt… you don’t want to torture yourself! I think it’s important to listen to your “inner mommy” but be rational and reasonable if possible. You have made good points in your rationalization and if the gym has a trial week or something, maybe that would be a great way to see if it could really work!

  7. Moms should never feel guilty about needing/wanting a little time for themselves. After all, you are a Mom 24/7. Everyone deserves a break.

  8. Mommy off the Record

    Like the PP said, you deserve a break. I really do think that getting time to yourself is essential and it will rejuvinate you and make you happier when you are with your son. If you check out the daycare and feel comfortable that it is a safe place, then I say go for it. Enjoy the time to yourself and don’t feel guilty. Sam will probably enjoy the change of pace too!

  9. Good for you!! I think it is a great idea to join a gym and ditto the pps. Everyone deserves some me time and Sam will flourish in new ways by being with other kids. Go for it!!!

  10. I feel so good physically and emotionally when I exercise regularly. I’m glad you are taking care of yourself.

  11. This is a totally OK thing to do - even a necessary thing.

    A month ago, I had about reached my limit and I ended up in my doctor’s office, sobbing.

    Her prescription? An hour a day without my child to do WHATEVER I wanted to do.

    Excercise is a great thing, and excercising WITHOUT a little one “helping” is even better.

    And if they have a kickboxing class, take it. Let me tell you. It’s the best stress relief there is.

    Good luck, and you ARE NOT A BAD MOM for needing some alone time. Hang in there.

  12. I probably don’t need to add my two cents here, but I will anyway…just to say that I agree with everyone else. You NEED time to yourself. Sam will definitely benefit (especially at this age) from time on his own in a different place. I had the same feelings when we started bringing our daughter to nursery on Sunday mornings, but she has never had a problem. She loves being around other babies and seeing new people.

    If I had the chance that you do, I’d go for it in a heartbeat! My husband is gone a lot, as well, including a lot of evenings. You will be a better mommy, and exercise is always a good thing!

  13. Hi Beth,

    As you know from reading many of my multiple posts, I often suffer from Mommy guilt too. It is okay - we are good mommies.

    Mommies do need breaks (although I would rather poke my eyes with hot needles that admit that), as it is good for both the babe and mom. You may find that the gym is not the right thing, but keep on searching. There is something out there that will totally appeal to both you and Sam.

    And, as a previous poster said, Sam will likely cry the first couple of times. It will break your heart and fill you full of guilt. Perhaps the two of you could start out with 20 minutes to 1/2 hour first and then gradually work yourself up to an hour or two if you wish.

    Good luck. At first it is not easy, but the rewards will show forth soon for the both of you.

  14. Funny, we all seem to feel the same way. I had a really hard time when my youngest was about two, because I quit my job to stay home with him and his 3-1/2 year old brother…so why was I going bonkers, being home all day with them both?

    Because, as we’ve read above, being a Mom is a 24-hour a day job. You don’t just shut it off and quit doing it for a while, you’re always on the guard, watching out for them, taking care of them, playing with them…them, them, them!!

    And I love my two little boys more than anything on God’s Green Earth, they definately are the biggest blessings in my life, along with my husband. But once in a while, I like to be just Sari, and not mom.

    Once in a while. ;-)

  15. You will be a better mother if you’re able to unwind plus you’ll have more energy to devote back to the tot if you’re working out.

    Yes, I’m helping you rationalize…because I’m an enabler…and because it’s the right thing to do.

    Seriously…it’s not like you need some extra time to pick up your crack rocks or something.

    Do it and enjoy without guilt.

  16. STROLLERCIZE!!!

    I tell you what, I tried it once. I thought “I’m a big, tough mama. I can whip these ladies. I ride through the mud for fun!!” But….

    My experience was a bit like yours — lots of revealing spandex and pricey strollers. Yeowch.

    Anyhow, the most impressive part was that AFTER the class? I was still feeling cocky. The next morning, however, not so much. OOOOOOWWWWIE!

    Unfortunately, I found the ladies in my class to be as polite and socially adept to new people as you did, and nixed the idea of paying almost $50 a month doing something I could do for free and in the company of someone who didn’t look down their nose at me. Actually, he looks straight up and usually has an adoring smile.

    And that’s MUCH better.

  17. “Seriously…it’s not like you need some extra time to pick up your crack rocks or something.”

    I think that’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day!! :-)

  18. That’s awesome Beth. You do deserve the time to yourself and shouldn’t feel guilty about it. (if only it were that easy right?) I am currently paying for a gym membership that I am not using. Smart. I think now with Peter’s new job I might be able to go when he gets home. I seriously have to figure something out.

    I really hope Sam enjoys the time playing with the other kids and doesn’t cry. That is the worst. I’ll be thinking about you guys.

  19. Sounds like a great idea to me! I was just about to do the same, but then I got pregnant, and now I have no energy to go to the gym. For now I’m holding off, but once the new baby is here, I’m signing up for sure, just to get some time to myself and the promise of a shower in peace.

  20. Jeez, that whole last paragraph could’ve been stolen from my life and my head!

    I can’t answer the question about mommy guilt, but I can whole-heartedly endorse the idea that you DO need a little time to yourself each week (if not each day) in order to be the best mama you can be. You DO need a break if you’re taking care of your son for that many hours each day. Of course you love him dearly, but you just need a break! Nothing to feel guilty about, in my humble opinion.

    Oh, and as for gym daycare, I’d start him sooner rather than later. I’ve waited til my little one is 17-months old and she’s totally onto when I try to leave. She begins crying and screaming the second I start to sidle away from her while too obviously pointing out an interesting toy. If you start them earlier, they adjust more easily I think.

  21. Give it a go and see what you both think! Taking care of yourself is the best way to give back to Sam, anyway (am I just rationalizing with you here?) I know how you feel though- X is 9 1/2 months and I’ve never left him with anyone - not even my husband… taking a shower without him is about as far a I’ve gone … and I’ve been thinking I might just be ready for a bit of a break. Let me know how it goes - I may just have to let you try things out for me:)

  22. I can relate to so much of this!
    First, the baking and devouring. It must be the housewifey thing to do. Then then exercise must follow because no woman needs that many chocolate chip cookies.
    Second, the only thing baby and I do together during the day is go out and ‘run errands’ aka: spend money. That we don’t have.
    And most importantly, Avery and I need a small break from each other once in a while too… If only I could find something to do that would make money, not waste it. Hhmmm, I will let you know when I find that one.

    Oh and about the gym, I would REALLY inspect the person in charge at the gym daycare, that would make me WAY nervous.

    Good luck, I know you will figure out what is best for you both.

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