I’m a believer
I am about to suggest something radical. Something crazy. Are you ready for this?
Here it is: Our children want us moms to be happy.
I know, I know. It sounds like someone has taken me captive, tied down my hands and threatened to use the Neti Pot on me, so I have agreed to say whatever he or she requests in order to avoid having hot water poured into my nasal cavities.
But no. I am just sitting here at my computer, writing – content and shocked at this truth.
Over the past few months, I have been fortunate to connect with a small group of women for a weekly-ish Bible study. Even though I was nervous at first, going to these meetings has been a highlight of each week for me.
When I am able to attend, I usually put Cecilia to bed around 7 p.m. and head to our meeting at about 7:15. I leave Elliot at home with Daddy. They do whatever daddies and sons do when mamas are not there; I don’t need to know the specifics. Then Mike puts Elliot to bed.
Mommy Guilt tells me that I should stay home, read books with Elliot and tuck him in. I imagine it speaks those same lies to the other moms in my group.
You know what we’ve been saying to Mommy Guilt, though? This: Shut up, Mommy Guilt. You are a liar and a robber. Daddies are perfectly capable of taking care of our children and even putting them to bed!
I used to read things like that and say to myself, Yeah, that’s true. I need to stop being so hard on myself. The sucky thing about Mommy Guilt, however, is that it never shuts up. It’s always lurking, whispering (or shouting) into our already tired ears.
But here’s what really changed my mind. When I return home after an hour or two with my small group, Mike always tells me, “Elliot asked that you check on him and give him a hug and a kiss after your Bible study.” So I do, because who doesn’t love looking at a sleeping child?
Sometimes when I pull up the blanket and lean in to hug and kiss Elliot, he wakes up briefly. And when he does, he always asks, “How was Bible study, Mama?”
He also similarly asks, “How was your workout?” on the rare occasion when I go to the gym in the evening, rather than in the morning, because of Mike’s work schedule.
I think Elliot is asking about my Bible study or my workout not out of courtesy, but because he wants to make sure that these things are making me happy, fulfilling me in some way, helping me be a better mama to him and his sister.
It took almost seven years, but I think I’m finally, truly convinced of this: Our children want us to be happy. It is OK to participate in activities, without our children and without Mommy Guilt, because those things fulfill a need in our lives. Believe it, moms!
Originally published on ovparent.com.