Yesterday, I did something that I haven't done in a long time.
When it was over, I felt instant shame, guilt, regret and of course, my usual self loathing.
I thought to myself, "What a loser you are. What kind of mom does this, especially when her kids are home?" I wanted to find my rewind button and hit that sucker with all of my might.
This is something that I used to do, back in the day. Way back in the day, when my choices lingered on the bad side of right and wrong more often than not.
I used to do it a lot in my teens. I'd do it during the afternoon and then go out til the wee hours of the morning...and then do it all over again the next day. The habit continued in college, getting so out of hand at one point that I'd miss classes. I remember roommates walking in on my boyfriend and I doing it together, and seeing the look of disgust on their faces.
Then, when I had kids, I stopped. Oh, don't get me wrong...I may have slipped a few times and tried it again, but never got back into the habit full-strength. It just seemed wrong, somehow. Seemed irresponsible. I still craved it, still thought about doing it way more than I should have, but for the most part, I abstained.
After joining the ranks of "Single Parenthood", it didn't even present itself as an option. My wingman was gone, I had no one to provide a buffer between me and the kids if the urge became too strong to resist. I couldn't do it with them around. I didn't want them to see Mommy in that state. I thought, "What if there's an emergency?? I'd be incapacitated..I would be in no state of mind to help my kids." Then I thought, "And how bad would that look on a police report?? How could I look a cop in the eye and tell him what I was doing when the fire broke out or the creepy dude knocked on the door and tried to grab one of my babies or one kid decided to try making tattoos on the other kids in the kitchen using a paring knife and Sharpies?".
But yesterday, for some reason, I gave in.
It wasn't a particularly harrowing or stressful day. It was beastly hot, and I ran around doing a bazillion errands and chauffeuring duties. Walked the dog, did some grocery shopping, the usual laundry. Nothing awful, though. Par for the course as far as days are concerned. But something in me snapped.
I went into my bedroom. I closed the door. I got everything arranged just the way I like it.
And I took a nap. A two hour nap, with a couple brief interruptions by mouth-breathing kids who pulled open my eyelids to tell me "I was playing Orgeon Trail on your phone and William just grabbed it from me, tell him to give it baaaaaaaaack" and one telling me "Guess what Henry did now, mom. Just guess. " I remember shushing them and putting the pillow back over my eyes. And then I woke up.
Woke up, groggy and awash with Mommy Guilt.
Why?? It was two hours. No one died, no one set fire to anything, no one juggled dirty used hypodermic needles, no one left the fridge door open. Nothing happened.
Then why did I feel so bad? Even now, THE DAY AFTER, I am feeling shameful about this.
I have friends who regularly partake in the ritual of napping. One of my oldest friends actually has a "nap time" that is set in stone and her kids have been trained since they were in utero to not disturb Mama at that time. She's normal. She's a good mom. I don't recall Child Protection Services being called to investigate any neglect charges at her house.
Will the day ever come that I can do even the smallest, stupidest act of self-indulgence and not feel the little tingles of mommy guilt creeping up into my head? Or is that a kind of scar from motherhood, like a stretch mark or c-section line, a scar that may fade over time but will always be there, reminding me of this part of my life?
I think I need to sleep on this one.