I learn something new about mom-guilt almost every day. I learn what it is, what it isn’t, what power it has over me, and what power I have over it. Sometimes I win and sometimes I don’t.
Currently, I’m working on friendship. On being a friend, investing the time and energy in people, being intentional about relationships. Because truthfully, I’m pretty content to stay at home and read a book. But I don’t want the end result of staying at home and reading a book: the lack of deep relationships and community.
So I’m joining communities. I’m making relationships important and putting dates on the calendar. They become real and intentional when I schedule the time for them.
But with this new sense of need for community comes my children missing their mommy. When do you do community when you work full time, want to go to the gym a few times a week, and still need to sleep at some point? Where does community fit when I have to cook dinner most nights, we have family commitments, and, for the love of God, can we get a date night every once in a while?
That’s where I’m at right now. Things are scheduled, dinners are happening, small groups are small-grouping, but I haven’t seen my kids all week and I know they just want to stay home and watch a movie with their mom. Yes, a little time spent on the floor with some blocks and dolls sounds great, but we need groceries and so we’ve got to get going.
I know I’m a better mom and a better wife when I get to have dinner with my girlfriends. I’m a better Jesus-follower when I get to be in community with fellow Jesus people. I am more introspective and thoughtful when I can sit and talk to my friend, Christine, for a few hours. These are all good and beneficial things. I’m happier when those things happen regularly.
But somewhere in juggling all these wants, needs, and desires, I always leave another area lacking. And mom guilt sets in. I don’t actually play the lottery, but sometimes I dream about winning it so I wouldn’t have to work anymore. Then I feel it would all balance out.
I know that’s not truth, but I feel like it sometimes anyway.
I think I’ve purged a lot of unnecessary things out of my life: unnecessary friends, unnecessary relationships, unnecessary time commitments, unnecessary stuff. So I can’t cut more out, I just need more time.
Or maybe, stepping back, I need to allow myself more grace. What do you think? How do you make it work? Or do you not make it work? What gives??