Before I ever had kids, I knew what kind of mother I would be one day, completely hands-on. When I was growing up my parents split up by the time that I was 7, which meant that my single mom was forced to spend much of her time working. Being alone a lot, and usually without anyone to be involved in my daily activities, I always found myself envious of kids with stay-at-home moms. Plus my mother was single, so she would date and make time for her friends. We were left with a housekeeper while she got to go and do as she pleased. Obviously this was many years ago, in the time when pagers were the way you stayed connected. And although I knew that my mother had a life, we were still her number one priority (my brother and I) so I really couldn’t make too much of a fuss about it.
It wasn’t till I had kids of my own did I realize how hard it is to actually find good, reliable help. When my first child was born my mother would do anything and everything to help me with my baby, and I really had it made. My mother would simply call me and say, “oh, why don’t you go out to dinner, I’ll keep the baby” at the most random times and it was truly amazing. A year after I had my second child my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, which took her life a little more than a year later. Then I was faced with the reality that many parents deal with on an everyday basis. I had no help with my kids. Of course these are my children and I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when I had them, but not to have anyone that you can trust, and let alone not have to pay, is huge.
Jealousy is an emotion that we sometimes feel when something ruffles our feathers, even when we might pass it off as something else. There are times when I see Facebook posts of my friends with kids going out on routine date nights or couple’s vacations and it can certainly irk me a bit. But when I see it becoming repetitive I will begin to question their outing, like “didn’t they just go out last weekend?” in the back of my mind. Not having any help, working from home, and not getting a break can take a toll on your mind—not to mention your body. I live this every day, and with a husband who can work very long hours two weeks out of the month I get it a hard dose of reality I’m left to deal with.
So, it’s not that it’s not right to go out, but I think moderation might be best. From my standpoint I saw the way my mother was so eager to help me with my kids and I one time asked her why she did it, which she answered, “because I didn’t do enough when you were little.” It really shocked me because I had never told her how I felt. But it made me happy to know that she was aware of it without me ever having to say anything. My kids won’t have to feel that way with me, and I’m thankful for that, because it can leave a sense of abandonment inside. When I hear of my friends telling me how much help they have with their children, passing it off so casually like it’s this permanent fixture that can never end, I remind them to be grateful of the help that they have—which is usually the help of their own mother—because it could be gone before you know it.
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