Atticus, may mommy go out tonight

A story about feeling guilty about being a mom.


I know one day in the not so distant future, Atticus is going to ask me if he can go out. It might be to go to a sleepover or maybe to the skate park, I know it’s eminent, but why as his mother do I feel so bad when I leave him? I feel anxious and I feel guilty even though it goes against everything society tells me to be.
My hat goes off to all the working moms out there. I don’t know how you do it. We are fortunate to be in a situation where my husband is the bread winner and I get to spend my days with Atticus. A part of me wonders if I would find it easier to leave him, if I did work outside the home.
Kevin and I have been on two date nights since having Atticus and I had to literally talk myself into going each time. My birthday is this weekend and we had plans to go to a romantic dinner and my friends book release party, but my MIL who was supposed to baby sit just called to cancel. A part of me is sad, because I would like to celebrate my birthday with a nice glass of champagne, yummy food and the company of my dashing husband, but another part of my is relieved that I won’t have to leave my precious baby boy. I know deep down inside that our time a part is good for his development, but it breaks my heart to even think of missing one of his developmental milestones.
My friends that don’t have kids think this anxiety of mine is silly, but over the last few hours I have thought about why exactly I have this issue of leaving my baby.

Right now I’m sitting on our front porch while Atticus sleeps in his stroller. The weather has been so nice, I had to take advantage of it and I could tell by his disposition that he wanted some fresh air too. While on our walk I reflected on all that I do as a mother, wife and home maker. Everyday starts relatively the same; Kevin leaves by 7am and shortly after I roll out of bed to brush my teeth, let the dogs out, eat some breakfast and do a load of laundry. Atticus sleeps peacefully till 8:30-9am and then we start our morning routine that involves a lot of giggles and a diaper change. Atticus will usually stare at his Wimmer for 15 minutes while I pump and get dressed. Then we head downstairs where I attend to eBay orders and online crap while I nurse him. It’s at this point when my mommy guilt starts to set in. Even though I’m nursing him, I feel guilty for doing something else and not giving him my undivided attention. After he is done nursing he usually coo’s and smiles at me for another 10 minutes while I frantically try to finish the emails and work that I’ve started.
At 10:30 he normally goes down for a nap that lasts anywhere from 1-3 hours. I will usually do more laundry, dishes and vacuum the downstairs. If I’m lucky I can also prep all the makings for our evening dinner. My to do lists are never short and I always feel a great sense of accomplishment when I am able to get everything done while being a mom.
When he wakes up from his first nap, I try to use this time to read stories, do tummy time together and take an afternoon stroll. Sometimes I find myself trying to tend to household dilemmas and online tasks, but what I have come to realize is trying to do these things in a frantic hurry only makes my mom anxiety skyrocket.
I genuinely have a problem in the way I handle the stress and anxiety of being the best mom I can. Atticus is my first and while I hope he is not my only child, I have to remind myself that he will be grown before I know it. I don’t want to ever regret not spending more time with him and while I love to watch him grow and discover new things, I would do anything to freeze this moment in time.
By the time 5:00 rolls around I am usually pretty beat. Not from being a mom, but from the stress I put on myself for getting everything done by the time Kevin gets home. I always feel the house is never clean enough even when my check list is finished. When Kevin gets home I tend to pass the baby off to him pretty quickly and it’s not so I get a break from being mom, it’s so I can pee for the first time since 7am. I know other moms out there know exactly what I’m talking about.
At the end of the day when I am putting Atticus to bed I always reflect on the day we had. I hope he knows how much he means to me and that the love I have for him is unlike anything I have felt before. I nurse him to sleep and even though I let out a sigh of relief when he starts to snooze, a part of me wishes he would stare and coo at me for another hour.


About the author

Xza Louise Higgins is the founder of MommyCon, creator of The Mommy Dialogues, and punk rock mom to two year old Atticus in the great city of Chicago, IL. She is incredibly passionate about birth options, human rights, and promoting gentle parenting practices.

No Comments

  1. Geneva -  March 20, 2012 - 5:38 pm

    Nice hat, Atticus! And thank you for that post, Xza. <3

  2. Stephanie -  March 20, 2012 - 8:16 pm

    You hit my situation on the NAIL! my birthday is this weekend as well and we too have plans in the air, I haven’t left Henry but two times 🙁 and I had to distract myself the whole time I was away just to get the errands done.
    I even work from home so I am with him 24:7 my clients even meet him. I’ am always told by others to let family watch him so he doesn’t develop separation anxiety But he is my Lil boy. My first.

    It’s so hard. But I know I need to be strong.

    *** ps: the 1st time you pee after 7AM – exact

  3. Kristel -  March 20, 2012 - 9:43 pm

    Oh I know just how you feel. I stay at home with my boy and I have such a hard time leaving him. My mom was visiting this weekend and convinced me to go out on a date with my husband. And I agreed only because Liam was already asleep when we left. I ended up having a great time but I don’t think I could do it if Liam was awake. Especially because he’s kind of a sensitive baby with lots of sleep issues and he doesn’t take bottles. Anyway, just wanted to see I totally get you!

  4. Amanda M S -  March 21, 2012 - 8:47 am

    Very touching post 🙂 He is such a cutie!

    I don’t feel very much mommy guilt. I take him to daycare several days a week and my mom watches him Saturday morning. While I don’t like to be away from him, I don’t feel guilty because I am working/running errands/grocery shopping…ect. He has stayed overnight at my parents’ house twice so my husband and I could have a night at home alone. It was hard and I missed him but I wasn’t overcome with guilt. I know many moms have not been away from their child for more then an hour or two. This sometimes makes me wonder if I’m strange/wrong/bad mom for being away from him so much and NOT feeling guilty… 🙁

  5. ashlie w -  October 19, 2012 - 6:37 pm

    i have left my first a few times but mostly when shes already asleep(not left her alone of corse lol).. (besides when i am at school) I am a full time student but other than that a stay at home mom and wife. My husband is in the military and leaves for work very often and i really dont know how he does it. The first time i left rylie over night she was 13 months old, and that was the Only time, (now almost 2) my husband and i booked a cruise in Feb and i am already getting anxious about it, my second will be almost 6 months old and the thought of being away from them for a whole 4 days kills me.. i dont know if i will ever get over the anxiety of leaving them, this is a great post and reminds me that its normal and other moms feel the same way all the time!

Leave comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.