guilt about leaving kids with babysitter - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-24-2012, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm single and have three kids ages 5 to 10 - 24/7 365.  XH lives 3000 miles away.  I have no family here.  So I have a full time au pair.  I need to make some money and I need to meet people and have a life at least somewhat where I get to spend time with grown-ups.  I feel tremendous guilt though when I leave the kids with the au pair.  The au pair is wonderful, fun, educative, artistic, happy to be with the kids and speaks her mother tongue with them.  My kids speak several languages - I  can't speak all of the languages so I like to have someone around who speaks one of them.

I feel no guilt if what I'm doing is grocery shopping or earning money but if I'm actually out having fun I feel like I shouldn't be doing it.  And I miss them, worry about them and feel awful guilt.  The only time I don't feel it is when their dad is visiting them and they are with him.  At those times I know they are with someone they want to be with.  But my XH doesn't regularly take all three kids at one shot (I know, I know).  To keep the peace I put up witih that - and he's only here 3 or 4 times a year for a couple of weeks at a time and then only a few hours per day with the kids. 

 

Anyway - I'm looking for a book, website or your insight as to how to not feel guilty about having some time to myself.  The gym, a date, out with friends - a few hours in the day to myself and no guilt.   Today I went out and felt so bad that I came back early.

 

I try to look at the good things.  I went through a hellish divorce including him cheating but managed to get some great help (psychologist) who made me realize the importance of keeping it all together for the kids - not fighting in front of the kids, keeping in a good mood, not falling into depression.  And now three years later I have HAPPY kids.  And they have two parents who both love them and they feel no guilt if they want to call their dad or go to his house while he's here visiting.  We talk openly about him and only positive things and he calls them regularly on Skype - almost every day.  And he and I are OK now. 

 

The guilt thing is eating me up though and I need help with it.

 

 

TIA

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#2 of 10 Old 02-24-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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Perhaps if you viewed your outings as *necessary* to your mental health and overall well-being, which in turn, is necessary for you to be a good mother, you wouldn't feel so guilty. Beyond being a mama, you're a grown woman and you have social needs like everyone else; being a parent doesn't mean those needs go away.

 

Take that time. Go have coffee ALONE and read that trashy novel. Go meet with girlfriends. Your kids will benefit from having a FULFILLED mama, instead of a stressed out one. Remember, quality not quantity :)

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#3 of 10 Old 02-24-2012, 05:06 PM
 
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I totally agree with HAM. Although I get every other weekend away from all of my children, I still hire a babysitter to go out with friends two or three times a month. It's mental health time and all of us benefit from it. I have seen single mothers (and married mothers for that matter) who don't get mental health time and it's sometimes not only not pretty, it can be darn ugly!!!!

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#4 of 10 Old 02-24-2012, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree with you too but I don't think that thinking it is going to help me get over the guilt.

I need something more profound.  I need to find a way to change my mindset.  I guess a big part is that I just began homeschool (unschool) a few months ago and am having doubts about it b/c they are now with the babysitter a lot more whereas in the past they were in school. 

It is only me and I don't need a babysitter a few times a month - I have someone living with me so they have a babysitter every day.

I appreciate any help.  This is really bothering me.

Thx

 

 

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#5 of 10 Old 02-26-2012, 10:12 AM
 
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I don't get alone time.  Life is rough.  I do have a drink with co-workers after work 2 nights a week to get that adult time.  XH is always an asshat about it b/c then he doesn't get enough sleep those nights, but whatever. I simply can't afford to pay a babysitter and have that alone time, and it doesn't help that my kids hate the babysitter and whine and cry about going there.  They are abuse victims and so really only feel safe and happy with me.  If your kids enjoy your babysitter, then I think you should let go of the guilt.  The only thing we really need to feel guilty about is that as a society we have failed to set up positive mothering communities where group-care-exchange is possible.  It really does take a village, and we don't have those any more, and it sucks both for us and our kids.  I have joined the Y and am working on getting mine comfortable with going to the care room there, but of course, they advertised Barbies and then didn't have any for the kids to play with, so my girls feel betrayed.

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#6 of 10 Old 02-27-2012, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by provocativa View Post

I don't get alone time.  Life is rough. 

 

  If your kids enjoy your babysitter, then I think you should let go of the guilt. 

 

as a society we have failed to set up positive mothering communities where group-care-exchange is possible.  It really does take a village, and we don't have those any more, and it sucks both for us and our kids. 

 

 

I don't get alone time.  Life is rough.

 

 

 I do get alone time but exclusively with a bbsitter b/c there is absolutely no one else.  It would be one thing if I had one child and he/she went to a friend's house now and then but there is almost never a time when all three kids have a play date for the same day and same time.  And if they do it entails a lot of driving for me meaning whatever break I have is taken up driving and again - it's only me driving around 3 kids - no dad in the picture to take up some of the slack.  This is the biggest issue for me.  I appreciate other moms who feel a grain of sympathy and try to help.  I also have a very hard time asking for help. 

 

 

If your kids enjoy your babysitter, then I think you should let go of the guilt - THANK YOU.  good advice but so hard for me to follow.  I need to figure out HOW to get over it.  I'm trying to let go.  I can't figure out how. 

 

 

as a society we have failed to set up positive mothering communities where group-care-exchange is possible.  It really does take a village, and we don't have those any more, and it sucks both for us and our kids

 

Totally agree and think about this subject all the time.  I not only don't have a village - I have no family at all as XH - dad of 3 kids up and moved 3000 miles away to be with (one of) his lovers.  He does pay the bills - and I can't complain about that.  If I had to raise three kids alone and not receive support I don't know where I'd be or how I'd do it.   I know I need to stop and think how grateful I am that a guy who could leave his kids - at the time between 2 and 6 years old - is out of my life and was only in it for about 8 years.  I could have been stuck with him forever - and I'm not.  The kids are better off in a happy home - no one belittling them - no parents fighting.  Crazy but I never felt guilt fighting in front of them with xh but leaving them with a healthy person (bbsitter) during the day makes me crazy guilty.  Have to get my head screwed on straight!

 

Think I will make a list of all the good things - pros and cons of homeschool etc.  maybe a start to stop beating myself up.

 

 

 

 

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#7 of 10 Old 02-27-2012, 08:19 PM
 
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I think one way you could look at it is that your sitter is filling in for the absent fathers parenting time, which at a minimum would be every other weekend and one evening every other week. Thats how much sbx sees our children and then on top of that I use a sitter one or two evenings a month.

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#8 of 10 Old 03-02-2012, 12:35 PM
 
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I think a lot of us here on this board judge ourselves a lot more harshly than we judge other people. Quite frankly, I think a lot of us somehow don't think that we "deserve" things like social time with other adults, time to work out, time to be alone, etc. I think one good way to get around it is to imagine the situation in a third party kind of way. Tell your story with someone else in your place, and see if you judge that woman for getting a babysitter for her kids every now and again.


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#9 of 10 Old 03-04-2012, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So true MamaJen - I judge myself much harder than I judge anyone else.  Actually one of the things I've worked on since my divorce is NOT judging others.  Not letting their moods/decisions/actions affect me in any way nor thinking bad of them if their actions are not the ones I would have followed.  I did all the MDC things - all 3 home births, BF for years, no vax, homeschool, etc.  If I judged everyone who didn't do those things I wouldn't have a friend in the world.  But meanwhile I'm being harsh on myself for homeschooling and not doing it 'correctly' as in what others around me must be thinking since I'm doing it with the use of a babysitter... so completely mistaken and I have to give self a break. 

I think I'm getting there. 

Thx! 

 

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#10 of 10 Old 03-08-2012, 04:59 AM
 
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Mama guilt is the worse. Some days are good with letting it go, some are hard. I combat it by all the suggestions that have been listed here already. And I can say one thing that helps is I do notice a vast difference in myself and my patience level and mothering overall when I get some me time in a week vs the weeks I do not. I get burned out very quickly and I need that bit of re-charge time every week, but that doesn't always happen. Guilt is a horrible thing that pays us no favors.

 

I do feel it is important to be well rounded and a full functioning adult to model for the kids though. Maybe that will help too. You know you aren't neglecting your kids, you are taking care of yourself as well. And I think it's good for kids to know that.


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