Apr 17 2020
Even going to the bathroom alone was an impossible task.
I was trapped, yes trapped in a house with three kids for two weeks under quarantine. I love my kids dearly. They are great little humans. But the screaming, questions, time consumption, and lack of privacy was all too much for me. I felt I was going crazy yet I felt guilty for not having the schedule down pat. I felt guilty for feeling overwhelmed. I felt guilty about ordering pizza twice in two weeks. And more then ever I felt like less of a mom because I just needed to get out.
I can hear the voice in your head as you read those words saying one of two things.
- Yes, That’s how I feel! I don’t dare to say it out loud, or
- What kind of mom wants a break from her kids?!
Let’s be real. An honest mom would tell you that not only does she need a break from her kids, but she also wants too.
I write from a judgement-free space. in my opinion, judging others is one of the least loving things we can do to another human being. I allow you to judge me if you need to. But I also invite you to be open to hearing a different point of view.
The downward spiral of ‘mommy guilt’ started nine years ago
I have been a mom for nine years. When the twins turned six and Riley was three that I started travelling for work and began down the path of self-discovery and growth. Prior to this time, I was an overly dedicated mom. I still worked full time, but boy oh boy, did I hold myself to a high standard. I only cooked organic from scratch meals. I was present for all drop-off and pickups. Nighttime routines were always on schedule. And of course, I gave all my time to my kids and my husband. And that was just the tip of the ice burg. There was nothing left for me.
What I didn’t notice was the drip of guilt placed on me every time I needed something for me, similar to Chinese water torture. Simple things like going to the gym resulted in responses like “when they are napping, or after they go to sleep for the night”. Or the guilt I started to feel when I wanted to have a glass of wine on a Tuesday night because my husband’s policy was that the kids should only see me drink wine on the weekend. The slow infusion of being convinced that wanting or needing something for myself was a selfish act started to paralyze me and make me question my own sanity.
An awaking in the making
Fast forward to my awakening, career growth and desire to be more than just a mom. This ambition was new and came with travel, late working nights and a lot less time to be the ‘Martha Stuart’ mother and wife once felt I needed to be. Although I was determined and stood up for myself the guilt trips continued and came in the form of questioning, control, and the classic “you care more about your career than us” line that I head on repeat like a broken record. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that I was ‘ruining’ our kids and that I was told I was an inadequate mom because of my desires and passions. The guilt I felt was so deep and so real that I started to believe like I was a ‘bad mom’.
I was (and still might be) part of the 21% of moms that feel guilty ALL THE TIME. That’s a staggering stat, one-fifth of moms live in a place of constant guilt. Here is another crazy stat, 90% of moms feel guilty daily. They feel guilty for not being good enough, whether or not they make the right decisions for the family, taking time for themselves, or letting their kids have too much screen time 😳 (the list of reasons we feel guilty keeps going).
Part of these feelings of guilt is self-inflicted. We take the judgement of others; personally. We look at the ‘perfect’ Instagram & Pinterest moms that seem to have it all figured out, and we shelf judge.
Insert “mommy guilt”
But if you were to take a close look at how social media, the world wide web, marketing ads, and the unrealistically high expectations of those around us are it doesn’t surprise me why we stumble down a downward spiral of self-judgement and guilt.
A mindset shift, a divorce, and new love
A mindset change and a divorce have brought light to my eyes. The most transformational event during this time has been that the love of my life ( a man I dared to dream about but didn’t think existed) has taught me that I am worthy enough to let go of the ‘mommy guilt ‘ I carry around. He has taught me that it is ok to want to pee in private!
This mindset change has brought an uproar of judgement from those closest to me in the form of questioning and statements like “you’re different and how can you say you need a break from your kids.”
The truth is; man or woman, mom or dad, we all need a break. Raising kids is THE hardest job one will ever have. I love my kids to bits, that didn’t change. I would do ANYTHING for them, that also remains the same. My kids don’t want or need for anything, status quo. What’s different about me? I care about me, I have let go out the guilt, and if that makes me a bad mom in anyone’s eyes then so be it! I won’t let myself feel guilty about that either.
I left quarantine one week ago; I miss my kids, but boy oh boy, do I love my guilt-free time.
My hope is that you have read this from a judgement-free space but if you haven’t that’s on you; I won’t carry that with me. I do hope you have the ability, to be honest with yourself and decide to let go of the guilt you carry.
Sep 24 2019
If you follow me on any of my social platforms you would have seen not too long ago I took a trip over to Europe for a little family time and research intermixed.
I visited some of the best hotels and restaurants, Italy and Croatia had to offer. I had a goal in mind when making these visits, and that was to observe the customer interaction of those around myself and my family. Then document our experiences.
While Europeans are warm and inviting, they don’t like tourists (or they don’t have any customer experience training). I must admit that I am generalizing right now. However, the majority of my experiences speak to the fact that the servers at restaurants either lost their smile on their way to work or forgot how to smile all together!
Other than the lack of smiles being a trend that I saw and experienced for myself, there was another trend that (at home) I hadn’t paid much attention to; who is given the check at the end of the meal when a male and female are dining together?
Let me explain this further.
The first few restaurants we visited, I noticed that our server would give my husband the check. He then passed it to me, and I then paid for it. But, I was not putting any thought into it.
Until, one evening our family was walking down the picturesque alleyways of Venice searching for the right restaurant that would serve the best pizza, carbonara, and rose with an outside table for people watching.
My kids hopped from restaurant to restaurant yelling “this one?!” of course one of them would disagree, and onto the next, we would go. Finally, we landed in a restaurant that suited everyone’s particularities, and we sat down. Our menus were passed out in the typical old fashioned ‘kids and ladies first’ fashion (Ela, Riley, Noah, me, then Marcel).
Our order was taken in the same way; the waiter was looking to Marcel for the decisions in what wine we were going to order and confirmation that the order was correct. With all the logistics out of the way, we patiently waited for our food. Let me tell you that the food was fabulous! I mean, it’s Italy! How could it be anything but fabulous?
The service, again, was decent (still no smiles), but what came next was my ah-ha moment!
My husband and I were seated at each end of the table and the kids were between us (easier to control them this way!) As the waiter approached with the check I put my hand out, he looked at me, and continued to hand the check to my husband. At that moment, ALL check giving moments came flooding back. Without fail, every check drop has been directed at my husband. Now, I was on a mission!
I had to find out why the waiters feel they must give the check to the man at the table, assuming the woman wouldn’t be paying.
I talked my husband’s ear off the rest of the trip and at every restaurant going forward. I watched, each time, to see who the check would be dropped with. Without fail, each time, it was given to my husband. As I was on a mission, I started asked the waiter at each restaurant,
“Why do you choose to give the man the check over the woman?”
Some responses I got:
“That’s the way it is; the man should pay.”
“The man usually has the credit card.”
“I assume women don’t pay for the meal.”
“That’s the way I have been taught.”
I must say I am ALWAYS the one who pays for dinner, and I genuinely believe it is not cool for anyone to assume that just because a man and a woman are dining together that it is the man’s responsibility to pay OR that the woman is not capable of treating her dinner partner. If it were two ladies or two gents dining the waiter would ask how the check will be settled (split, Dutch, one bill?). So, why is this not done when a man and a woman are dining together?
This is another small example of the many ways that a woman’s influence gets overlooked. If she has a say in the restaurant, why wouldn’t she have the ability to pay for the meal or at least be treated like an equal?
I challenge you.
The next time you are out for dinner with the opposite sex, take notice who the check is automatically given to. If I were a betting woman, and after the experiences I have had, I would say, the man will be given that little black folder.