A struggle I face as a parent is a balance between time spent with my child and time spent without my child (outside of school and the workday).
It is a paradox when I finally get a night off from parenting duties and all I can think about is what my daughter is doing.
I only ‘kind of’ enjoy myself because I feel guilty about leaving / ditching her even though I rarely get a break (mostly by choice).
It just baffles me how I can plan and look forward to time away – I even crave it – but when the time comes I have trouble walking out the door. I distract myself with last-minute things I need to get done before I leave.
On my drive to the given destination, I think about what moments I will be missing.
Even when I so badly need and desire a night out this still happens. I am excited to see whomever I am meeting and I enjoy catching up and seeing them. I almost always manage to be completely present – almost.
I am driven crazy by random thoughts of what my daughter is doing throughout the evening.
On the way home I tend to feel selfish and guilty for leaving.
I know that I am not a neglectful parent because I pour my heart, soul and most of my energy into Taylor – probably too much. I think that maybe why it is so hard for me when I am away.
**Now I would like to note that Taylor is just fine without me. She is a happy, well-adjusted child who doesn’t really take notice of my absence.**
This is something that is clearly my issue.
Being Taylor’s mom is so much of my identity that I have lost or forgotten just how to be Alysha.
It is weird to have time to be fully focused on myself. So much of my time is being a wife, a mom and a pet owner that I leave little time, energy or thoughts to myself and my desires.
This is something I need to work on because by taking care of me will allow me to take care of them better. I fully recognize this and understand it on an intellectual level – it is implementing this knowledge that is my problem.
The biggest struggle will be the mental battle of challenging my guilt ridden thoughts and forcing myself to take time away alone. To take time with friends.
To exist as Alysha, a separate entity of all the other labels I own and embrace.
Does anyone else struggle with this? How do you keep a handle on it?