My One Big Goal - 700 miles

My One Big Goal - 700 miles

Running from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Savannah, Georgia

Miles Run So Far: 63.7

Miles To Go: 636.3

Saturday, April 10, 2010

*that* kind of mother

I realized this week that I've become that kind of mother.

The kind of mother I never wanted to be. The kind of mother that I used to sit in haughty judgment over whilst drinking good, dark beers with my friend Jess.

The kind of mother who sits her child in front of the TV so she can get laundrymoppingcleaningdishwashingyogacrunches done.

During the month of February - busy with unpacking boxes from my move into Glenn's townhouse and busy with a wedding just a few weeks away - I'd catch a quiet hour or so with Claire happily watching Playhouse Disney. And I vowed that this was a temporary solution - that once life settled down and a rhythm and routine developed, this stay-at-home mom wasn't going to have her kid in front of the tv all day. This mom wasn't going to have an electronic babysitter sapping the creativity, personality, and essence out of her child. Not this mother.

But, it's becoming a habit, and not even one that Claire initiates. At 8:30 most mornings - the time when Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes one - I say to Claire, "Finish your breakfast - Mickey's almost on" and she gobbles up the remains of her soggy cereal...I've become the TV pusher, me, a person who lived for a year and half without any cable on my little 19" screen, a screen that for 6 months Claire didn't even really was a TV, because it was never on. Sigh.

But, I'm having a bit of trouble finding the sweet zone of staying at home. I've been out of work for a long time, but Claire was still in daycare. I'd bring her to school, do errands, clean, prepare supper, go for a run or go to my minimum wage job at Gymboree, or go to an interview all while she was occupied at daycare, learning her days of the week, stories, songs, computer time, socializing, getting educated. When she'd come home, I'd only focus on Claire. Everything else was done. Now, she's with me all time (which I do love, honestly), but I feel torn between the chores, the Me Time, and my Claire time.

I know I'll find a balance. I'll figure out my own fun & educational activities to do with Claire during the day. And I'll find a balance for my Me Time too, which for me is also known as my running time.

The Mommy Guilt is a real, pervasive thing, though. I know I'm a good mom, AND I know it's good for Claire's psycological development into a happy, well-adjusted person if I am not at her beck-and-call each and every moment of the day. But, I also know that Mommy Guilt makes me feel badly when I'm trying to get a bajillion things to fit into a day, most especially my run.

Yesterday, I dropped Claire off at a one-hour Math and Music class that a preschool is doing (called "Afternoon Enrichment"). I signed Claire up so she could have some school-like time, some friends, a little return to the structure that she knows and loves and is desperately missing. I met several of the other moms, all nice ladies about my age, most of whom were sticking around, chatting and drinking flavored coffee during the hour their child was occupied with number games. I thought, "Well, here's an opportunity to meet some new moms, good for me, good for Claire..."

And then, I looked out the window, saw the beautiful bright blue sky and realized, this hour was my Me Time, my running time...As the other moms gathered, chatting away, I started jogging down the driveway. Claire was happy and safe at the daycare. I need my Me Time as much as Claire needs to be with other kids at that daycare.

That is the kind of mother I want to be. The one who knows it's ok to leave her child - and her Mommy Guilt - behind.


  1. I'm with you 100% Jill! I just quit a job that I took J to (most of the time), to stay home with him because I felt I was ignoring him too much. Now that I'm here all the time (ok, this is only my first official day of it) HE is my job. I am worried that I will never be alone again. I'm making it a priority to schedule some ME time and to make sure my husband understands it.

  2. Agh, how am I going to bitch about "that" mom if you have become one! I know you will find your groove just as Stella got hers back and you will learn to balance all aspects of your new life. But know this, I will always love you as long as you don't disparage us working moms!

  3. I'm glad you're able to get some me time. I'm still struggling to get my husband to understand that I need it once in a while, where I don't have a single child with me. That has only happened TWICE in the 2 1/2 yrs since I had my oldest. :( So relish those times when you have them.

  4. jess, i'm still working 10 hrs a week, so i've got my toes there...won't ever disparage the working mom!

    marny, it's tough, the all day every day all the time part of staying at home. i'm afraid i'm going to lose my sanity!

  5. My hubby is constantly reminding me that I have a full time job. He usually does this when I worry about not contributing enough to the household....he reminds me that I stay at home and raise our son, and that is my full time job and my contribution. I also clean, cook dinner, and make sure the dog doesn't run away. It's a full time job!! So for a little while every day (the best he can), he tries to allow me that hour I need to go for a run, or to go take a nap, or read a book. So I get a little bit here and there.

    I, too have been guilty of using the TV as a temporary distraction...usually while cooking dinner. I also swore I'd never use it, but I have succumbed. I try to limit it to once a day, but it's hard. I think it's okay as long as it's in small doses. :)

    Enjoy these moments...not everyone is so lucky to have them!! Being a SAHM is a wonderful, exhausting, frustrating, beautiful thing. But if you have a supportive spouse and a good attitude, you can survive!