Would you believe me if I said the moments of being guilt-free since giving birth to my son in September 2015 have been few if at all.
I am a constant ball of anxiety and panic and guilt because, like most people who would admit it and own it, I didn’t plan for my kids. However they arrived and even though I was not ready I became the best version of myself I’ve ever been purely because I was granted the gift of being their mom.
I often say my children saved me. Each one of them from a different death. They reawakened me to who I was, am and could become. I could boldly and certainly see a beauty in myself I had long since become blind to. They gave me life. As moms we often think that birthing is giving someone else life. But I was reborn twice, and both times just in the nick of time.
You would think then that my life would be a collage of pictures of quality time spent alone with my kids. I’ve been present don’t get me wrong, hands on, there at every milestone and every growth spurt. But let’s be honest, being a ‘single mom’ is not easy. What more a ‘single mom’ of two? Here’s where my situation gets worse, throw in fulltime employed, Master’s student, anxious grieving mess for the most part (I mask it well I know, what does that say about me) blogging, YouTube and the realisation that because I’m constantly depleting my energies I have to recharge, rest, take care of me before I get to pour into my kids.
I spent a while running on reserve and it was not healthy for me for starters and definitely I did not want to be the mom who came to her children when nothing else was left to give. Believe it or not I do the blogging and YouTube to fill up my tank, it makes me happy, it replenishes me, it fulfils me – all of which make me a better person to be around.
Even though I’ve learnt ways to pour into my own soul, because come on let’s face it, as a single, busy mom, the only people pouring into your tank are family and close friends in whose tank you need to pour back as well. Everyone else, especially when it comes to energy, is taking and taking some more. So even though I’m teaching myself some tricks, I cannot cut down on what’s on my list currently, I live for completing school, that will be a huge chunk off my shoulders and a lot of time returned to me.
So why is it that I feel guilty about every second I spend away from my children if I’m not at work. The nights I stay late at the office to study, the weekend mornings I shut myself in my room to shoot videos, or simply rest. The scarce opportunities I get to leave the house and be human again?
A close friend was shocked when I told her after my recent block week that that was the longest I had been away from my kids since I became a mom. I basically have not been on my own for longer than a few days in 3 years. Most times even when my kids are not there the nanny might still be there or I would be away from them for a reason. Seven days, I broke the record this month. And yes I was at school, by day 2 though I was chewing up the guilt.
Does it end?
What I know is if I spent every waking minute of my life with my kids they would not benefit from what I am doing now. Now I’m spending every waking minute of my life on my kids. Everything I’m doing is for and about them. Someone else may look from the outside and judge, but after I gave birth to my son, my light (Bukhanye) he illuminated my dreams, a few months later my rain and nourishment came (Iyana) and I’d be damned if I’d throw back in their faceS the life they gave me.
Make time. Push past the guilt. Fill up your tank
This is what I know.