My union is participating in a picket line to show union solidarity in a strike that is not ours. I am beholden to four hours of walking this line daily, Monday to Friday. That means I have twenty hours of “free” time. Let’s take a rough eight of those out for sleeping. Twelve then, twelve hours. Now, since I entitled this post “Mom Guilt,” let’s also factor in that The Dude goes to bed at 7pm, three hours before I snuggle under my own covers and that gives me roughly nine hours of Dude time during these picket days. Right?
I spent a solid four hours with him yesterday. I had every intention of picking him up early from daycare, but my picket pal and I were covered in mud (because Spring in Northern BC). I needed to shower and Heaven help me, I cannot shower with a conscious toddler in my house. After a shower and a quick lunch, daycare advised that a second nap was in the cards. After second nap was over, it made more sense for my husband to pick The Dude up on his way home from work. Of course, Husband had an errand to run, which brought him home a little later than normal. Thus? Four hours of son time between our breakfast and to-daycare routine and evening and bedtime fun.
Did I decide to picket in a later “shift” today? Yup! Did I keep The Dude home for a few extra hours before going out? Nope!
I made a different decision and it’s almost not worth it. I decided to walk a later line, so I could chat book and indie bookshops with an amazing co-worker who I love and rarely get to see (because we work in a bigbigbig place, y’all), and I decided to hit a coffee bar before I did that so that I could get some writing done.
No brainer, right? I made that decision, for reasons, and it is a good one. I do not make enough (…any…. ) time for myself in a week, taking this opportunity seems like a great idea. It IS a great idea.
But the guilt. Holy moly, the guilt…!
“I did not choose to have a family, and I did choose this and work for it, so that someone else could raise my son for forty hours a week!” That is something I like to say, because it is something that I believe. I hate working full-time. I am really enjoying my new job, but I hate working full-time. (First world problem, I know. Cut that shit out.) That taken into account, I still chose to take a few hours of time out of today for me.
On the other hand, this will probably benefit everyone in my house at the end of the day. Resentful Kim isn’t fun to deal with. She’s a whacky stresscase who hates life. Kim who has had a break and has had some actual time to do the things she enjoys is a more calm, patient, happier person who does not feel tears welling when her sick, teething toddler won’t eat anything but biscuits, raspberry jam, bananas and cheese.
Taking that into consideration, maybe I’ll just accept the choice that I made and be a happier, more peaceful me and have the men in my life actually enjoy spending time with me.
Okay. Write on. (Plus? I’m already here, I can’t do much about that now. Hunker in, buckle down and enjoy the time. Leave the guilt behind, because I’m still me and I still need to take care of myself.)
(I have a huge guilt complex. When I was thinking about writing about Mom Guilt this morning, I thought that probably wouldn’t even touch the bullshit guilt I set myself up with, so I figured I could leave this open – like The Introvert Chronicles and Adventures in Baking – to be serial. …I really need to remember that I have pre-arranged topics to write about.)