Grown-up time (and the guilt that goes with it)

It’s a hard thing; to balance “me” time, with “family” time. Even, for the two-parent homes out there, this is a challenge and, for the single-parent homes, it’s just about impossible. I never have a chance at solitude, anymore. I used to live completely alone, free as a bird, in a trendy little part of Atlanta. Those days are long gone, and with them (it seems), my youth. The closest I get, to actual solitude these days, is the occasional bath, once Kyra has gone to bed. The obvious complications, here, being that;

a.  She could wake up, at any moment.

b.  I have to be quiet (so, no dancing around in my underwear to Jamiroquai, or half the original ‘Footloose’ soundtrack, on full blast;

one of my favorite alone time activities).

c.  I’m still worrying, the whole time I’m taking the bath, about her falling off the bed, or having a nightmare, or any one of the million

little imagined dangers, a mother’s mind can invent.

On the rare day that grown-up time, for me, is truly (and finally) feasible, I feel just plain guilty, being away from her. I think myself, at times, a horrible parent, for not wanting to watch the Disney channel, or (worse) Spongebob, all day. I hate myself, for not always being up for sidewalk chalk and Wiffle Ball, or coloring and playing in the fake kitchen, when my real kitchen waits patiently for its desperately overdue cleansing and scrubbing. Every time I pick up my laptop, I wait for the inevitable interruptions, almost welcoming them, still slightly resenting them, and loathing these mixed feelings of selfishness and unconditional love. It’s a rocky road, we walk, Moms and Dads.

There is no guilt as great as a parent who can’t spend time with his/her child(ren). Even though, I’m with her all the time, I still feel awful, whenever I’m not. Incessant worry gnaws at me, as I wonder what shenanigans she’ll get into, without the benefit of my vigilant supervision. As much as I look forward to time away, it’s always marred by worry for her and my guilt, at leaving her.

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