Am I Selfish?

Am I selfish to want more time for myself, my writing?  Does it make me a bad person that I’m happy my kids are attending summer day camp for the next two weeks?  I mean, I did sign on as Stay-at-Home Mom.  When we married, it was agreed that my husband would assume the work/financial support role while I took on the house and kids.  Eventually it was understood I’d transition back into the workforce, once the kids were out of the house…

But I’m writing and publishing NOW, despite the fact it will be half a dozen years before my youngest moves out to college.  So technically, I’m breaking the agreement.  But I can’t help it.  I love to write.  I want to write.  And something needs to fill my days other than household chores, else I go mad.

So it’s with enthusiasm and joy that I dropped my kids off at the camp this morning.  I’m starting a new project, looking forward to a new release… 

Life is good.  Life is fulfilling.  Yet I feel guilty.  Okay, I don’t harbor a LOT of guilt, but I do have some.  Is it me?  Am I alone? 

I know mothers who work “outside” the home experience a conflict between duties, families and chores pulling at them as bosses and coworkers do the same.  But in my case, I’m bringing this upon myself.  Voluntarily.  I don’t HAVE to work.  I WANT to work.  I’m happier when I work, creating, sharing.  I need to work.  It’s an outlet.  It keeps me sane.  Yet sometimes, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m “sneaking” it in between the layers of my real life.

Maybe when I earn enough to support myself and the family I won’t feel this way.  Maybe not.  I’m not sure.  I’m conflicted.  Anyone else feel the same?

 

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Posted on July 2, 2012, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Dianne,
    I remember when my stay-at-home mom went back to work when I was in 5th grade. To be honest, I didn’t love her not being around all the time, but I do remember that it changed the way I thought about her. She wasn’t just my mom–she was something else to a lot of other people. I respected her more seeing her in a new role and I didn’t take her as much for granted.

    I think the happier you are, the better mother you are for your kids. They wouldn’t want you to give up something that made you happy. As Buddy on Cake Boss says, “A happy wife makes a happy life.” The same can be said for mom, but I can’t think of anything that rhymes with mom that would make sense!

    • Thanks, Christy. I think that too, but wonder if I’m not simply rationalizing away my wants and desires so they make sense for everyone around me. 🙂

  2. I think as mothers, we all struggle with Super Mom guilt–for no reason. You shouldn’t feel guilty about sending your kids to camp. Both you and they will benefit from the experience. I agree with Christy, your kids need to see you as someone more than just “Mom”. Enjoy kicking off your new project!!

    • Thanks! It IS an exhilarating time in writing when the seeds of your ideas finally hit the paper (or computer page). And the good news? The kids had a ball today and got to see some friends from school, to boot!

  3. I’ve been a stay at home mom since giving birth to my son (now 18) and didn’t find “writing” until 2009, but I’m happier now that I’m writing and my family is supportive. The house doesn’t get as clean as it should, but then again, it’s never been pristine anyway. The kids still get taken care of, as always, and they are my first priority, but when they’re gone at school that’s my writing time. And that time is pretty much uninterrupted. That’s cool.

  4. Those hours spent in school really do open up my schedule. I can write chapters at a time! Important when the ideas are popping. I’ll get on a roll and nearly forget to pick them up! (Nearly, but not ever.) 🙂 Appreciate it!

  5. Dianne, each person needs to do what’s right for them. I’m with you. I needed –still do — to do more than housework and cook. 🙂

  6. It’s not selfish at all. What’s unreasonable is the expectation that if the kids are out of the house, you fold up into the wall like a Murphy Bed to await their return. Existing solely for your kids is one reason why so many young adults (like the ones I work with) have issues when they go off to college–mom has been so busy handling every aspect of their lives, they never learn to do anything for themselves. There’s a woman in town who drives to the University of Florida every weekend to CLEAN HER DAUGHTER’S DORM ROOM. You read that right! That’s the sign of a woman who’s invested *too* much into her children.

    As with everything else, balance is the key. You have to balance Dianne’s wants and needs with the wants and needs of your family. Anything else is cheating someone out of a chance to grow–and you don’t want to do that to yourself or your kids.

  7. OMG, my jaw is still on the floor. Cleans her dorm room? Talk about helicopter mom–sheesh! And I like your point about giving them a chance to grow–by doing things for themselves. Makes me feel better about making my nine year old do his own laundry. (Well he didn’t appreciate ME when I did it!) 🙂

    Thanks for the good words, Mimi! I could use them this week…

  8. Sharon Behre

    Omg you do what feeds your soul..I’m trying to find my way. Husbands have many diversions , when they r done with work ,theyre done. With us , we r never done and monotonous chores are one short trip to the insane asylum..

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