Monday, October 16, 2006

Selfish Mommy

By Heather Pohlabel

Yes, I admit it; I am a selfish mommy. I need my hour at the gym every day and my glass of wine before bed. I also like to bathe once or twice a day if I can squeeze that in. For this, I feel guilty. I feel selfish.

I am certainly not the only mother in the universe who has her "thing" that she just needs to do. But I think I deserve it; I think we all do!

Moms in general give up a lot of their lives to have, raise, and nurture children. I was surprised at how much I really didn't care to go back into the workforce after having my children, and with the birth of my third child, I'm practically convinced that I never will! But for this, I sacrifice! I wipe bottoms all day, fix bottles, do laundry, dishes, bathe babies, and start over. I say everything with a huge smile on my face in the highest pitch that I can possibly muster to ensure my baby does not think I am angry and to entertain her at the same time. I babysat to pay for diapers, formula and cereal. It is double duty around here, and it's not easy.

Sometimes I WAKE UP exhausted, only to try to get motivated enough to do it again! One more bottle, are you kidding me?!!? Is this ever going to stop? No. Heck no. Not any time soon, anyway.

Some mornings I'm embarrassed to answer the door when the parents of the girl I babysat bring her over. I have just rolled out of bed (very obviously so) and I'm in no shape to be seen by adults, especially not ones who are paying me. Yet I drag myself over and answer the door, paint on my Mona Lisa smile, and grab up their child and prepare for my day, whether I want to or not.

Don't get me wrong; I love staying home with my child! I just don't look forward to seeing adults! If you've ever stayed home with your babies, chances are that you know why. You probably lived in sweats and were lucky to get a bath. Brush your teeth! That's something you hear from your husband because you have forgotten once again to do so. You begin to feel like a child in some ways.

One thing that has motivated me is to head to the gym every morning. I get up, greet the baby and her parents, get my daughter ready for school, clean up just enough for the gym, make sure both babies are fed and have clean diapers, check diaper bags, load everyone up in the mommobile, and hit the town. First stop is school, where I drop off my daughter. Second stop is the YMCA, where we have been members for ten years. I pull in, get out the stroller, put one baby and two diaper bags in, go to the other side, retrieve other baby, and begin my quest to the door.

The door is the tricky part. I have stroller in one hand and baby in the other. There is usually someone coming in at the same time as I am, which is always very welcome and wonderful, but every now and again, my workout begins at the door, trying to wrestle the door to stay open as I push the stroller through and then run to catch it before it slams into the next set of door and before the last set of doors traps me between the door and the jam. It's actually probably quite hilarious to watch.

After the struggle with the second set of doors, I sign us in and head for the babysitting room. I know what you're thinking "babysitting room? But you're the babysitter!" Yes, I know. I feel so selfish. But I need this.

I dump the babies on two other women for an hour so I can energize, refresh, and tone my body while I listen to my MP3 player to non nursery rhyme music. By the time I've broken a sweat, I start to worry that one of them is crying or that the babysitting room is too full or that someone is hungry or needs a change. Guilt gets the best of me and I creep back to that babysitting room to see if they need me to take the girls. Usually, they do not, but on occasion, I can't stop myself from feeling guilty and leaving with them anyway.

Even though I have my "selfish" moments, they're not quite so selfish after all.

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