There's No Escaping the Guilt.

As a working mom, I often feel like I’m shortchanging, well, everyone. I run out of work as fast as I can so I can spend time with my daughter. Then I half-ignore her so I can get some housework done. And my husband? Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing he’s a patient man.

But the one person who almost never gets any attention at all is…me. My hair hasn’t been cut in almost three months. My makeup supplies haven’t been replenished in six. Since Tori was born, I’ve been out with friends all of twice. Maybe three times. I’m lucky to get one book read every month, and naps (which used to be a treasured part of my weekends), have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Sometimes, I get to feeling like I’m running on fumes. Like I’ve got nothing left to give anyone. Like I just. need. a. break. If only for a couple of hours.

Today was one of those days. Tori’s teething, or fighting a cold, or possessed by demons, or something (maybe all three). My house is a pigsty. My laundry pile is reaching epic proportions. And my husband was annoying me just by breathing (which does not diminish my love for him, right honey?).

And just to make it worse? There was no fricking coffee. Or tea. Or even coke (the caffeinated beverage. although maybe I need to consider investing in the other kind) anywhere in the house. It was a bad scene.

So, pretending I was heading to the grocery store, I left. And headed directly to Starbucks. Where I ordered a giant vat of caffeinated goodness, plunked myself down at a table and opened my book. It was heaven. Before I knew it, over an hour had passed.

As soon as that realization sunk in, guilt raised its ugly, snaggle-toothed head. How dare I neglect my family this way, it asked. Wasn’t I always complaining that I didn’t get enough time to spend with my daughter? I was a baaaaaad mom, it asserted.

So I called home and told my already fed-up sounding husband that I had lost track of time and would head to the grocery store immediately.

But I didn’t. Instead I went to Kohls. Not looking for anything in particular. Just putting off the inevitable. Because I? Hate grocery shopping. Besides, I wasn’t anywhere close to feeling recharged yet.

Unfortunately, Kohls had nothing I wanted to buy. It’s that terrible time of year where I can’t stand to look at sweaters anymore. But spring? Could very well be years away, so there’s no point in buying any cute duds for that supposedly upcoming season.

Finally, I took myself off to Kroger, and after loading up on supplies, headed home. Where Tori was plunked in front of the TV (which she ordinarily is not allowed to watch. ever.) and my frustrated-looking husband was trying to pull a (wickedly delicious) chicken out of the oven.

Oh, the guilt. It hit me like a tsunami. I was asking too much of my husband. Caring too little for my child. How dare I leave them for that long? Bad person! BAAAAD person!

But the guilt was accompanied by a wave of resentment. Why shouldn’t  I take some time out for myself? Didn’t I count?

The only solution was to pour myself a biiiiig glass of wine. Which I eventually did, and am, in fact, currently sipping. But the frustration hasn’t left me yet. It’s just been pushed to the back of my mind and put on simmer.

So I’m asking you again, oh wise women of the Internet. Is it possible to find balance? Do I just need to get better at ignoring the guilt? Does it eventually get easier? Enlighten me. Please.

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