He felt guilty when he left for the office each day, and he felt guilty whenever he would take off for an outing to the store - the gym - or the strip club.
(Are you paying attention?!)
I never really understood what he was talking about in regards to all of this "guilt" until very recently. Now that I've returned to work full time and Charlie is home, I feel really guilty whenever I'm not around to lend my support.
Like those times when I have to leave early for an all day meeting.
Or those times when I have to leave town for several days for a meeting.
Or those times when I'm busy working at home and cannot be disturbed. Like those occasions when I've got an important conference call and I sequester Charlie and the children to the garage or shoo them off to a park because there isn't a SINGLE room in our house that is fully sound proof when I absolutely need it to be. Take it from me when I say there's just something very unprofessional about an important call being interrupted by a small voice yelling out in the background:
"MOMMY! COME WIPE MEEEEEEE!!!!"
Just yesterday, I was participating in a very important conference call with a team of lawyers and senior management while the children, I thought, were playing outdoors. Charlie had stepped in to the garage for a moment and in the span of 15 seconds, Henry ambushed me.
At the time, I was totally distracted by my conference call and I was studying a document that was opened on my lap. When something caught my eye, I looked up to see that Henry had stealthily climbed on top of my desk and was standing directly over me whilst holding a wooden spoon AND pot that he started CLANGING together as loudly as you could imagine.
It was like something from a cartoon.
I didn't even have time to hit mute on the phone. All I did was shout, "ARGHHH! HOLY CRAP HENRY HOW THE HECK DID YOU GET THERE!" before hastily hanging up on my call. Then, I dragged my toddler off my desk before
When I called back in to my conference line a few minutes later, Charlie and the children were driving circles around the block and the attendees on the line were highly amused. Which was a good thing. Because they all know that I work from the same exact home where my husband and I are raising four small children.
Even though I know I can't take care of any one until I take care of myself, I feel like I'm ridden with guilt.
Because my husband is with the children the majority of each and every day. And whenever I get a break, it causes me great angst to imagine leaving Charlie alone with the kids so I can take care of me. Me. ME.
Instead, whenever I do get a break, I'm pushing Charlie out the door to go play softball - or tennis - or mountain bike - or run - or swim - or do pretty much anything that will bring joy to his soul and make him happy because it ain't easy being the primary caregiver of four small children. (And husband of me.)
So it's no wonder that my level of physical activity severely plummeted once I started to work full time. I've got less free hours in the day and during those free hours I do have, there's a tug to be at home and to give my husband a much needed break, while I spend time with the children.
Charlie certainly encourages me to take some time for myself. But I feel badly leaving when I'm at least "mentally" gone so much as it is. Hence the reason it's such a great thing that I invested in that small trampoline because now, I can be at home, while getting in family time and a side of exercise.
I've also been trying to get some physical activity, with the family, on the weekend.
Typically, this comes in the form of a hike.
Which is a lot more aerobic than you might think.
Because usually midway through the hike, the children can't walk any more and we end up carrying them back to the car. We don't have a picture of that. But just imagine Charlie with two kids in his arms and me with two kids in mine. And everyone is moaning.
Charlie and I the loudest of all, because our car is on the other side of that hill.
My question of the day is: do you struggle with guilt when you take time for yourself?
And if so, how do you manage it?
(FYI: Getting up really early isn't an option. I tried once and almost died.)