It’s pretty easy for me to say I don’t have any mom guilt. When my boys were born I owned a personal training/fitness studio and mostly worked in the afternoons and evenings while my aunt lovingly watched them for me. When they were three, I sold the business and became a SAHM. About two weeks later, I started teaching fitness classes at the local YMCA, began blogging and eventually started freelance writing. I have been with my kids for the majority of their days, everyday, since the day they were born. I laughed at mom guilt.
I was always very sure I needed to go for my run, bike or swim and never really thought twice about having the “me” time because every other moment of my life was “us” time. I took vacations with my husband, ran races on Sundays (even the one I did three months after they were born) with nary a twinge of guilt because each and every Monday through Friday I was happily spending with my boys.
Way back in February of this year I found out I qualified for the New York City Marathon. This was obviously a big deal for a running junky like myself and also a great challenge since I had not run a marathon in seven years. I thought about it, talked with my husband and then my coach, and made the decision to register.
The race is always held the first Sunday of November. The first Sunday of November this year is November 1, which means the night before is Halloween.
At first, I didn’t think much of it. In my adult brain I was actually thinking “NYC is amazing on Halloween! The kids’ minds will be blown! They probably have all of Central Park decked out and maybe a massive spider crawling up the Empire State building.” Obviously I have never been to the city on Halloween.
I started planting the seed with the boys around March since they love Halloween almost more then life itself. They start asking to bring out the Halloween decorations around their birthday. In April. This year I “waited” until September 4th to decorate.
We live in a neighborhood built for Halloween. People come from surrounding neighborhoods to fill their bags in ours. The streets are lined with kids and adults and, some parents (that I love), pull drink carts or drive decorated golf carts, ready to give you a lift or a drink or both. It’s a huge party and everyone talks about it for months.
The first conversation I had with the boys was rough. I told them we would be in New York for Halloween and quickly started saying how much fun the city would be on that night and I’m sure they will have special events and yes of course we will still go trick or treating. Their only response was to ask if any number of their friends would be there. Once they started listing just about every kid in our neighborhood, and the realization of what I was taking away from them hit me, I felt incredibly selfish.
I didn’t want to be that mom. I didn’t want my race to take the boys away from what is a very fun and special night for them at the pinnacle of Halloween age, which I believe has been determined as six and half. I always wanted to make my training and racing fun – like that time we went to Spain! – and not something they had to go to. I struggled.
Then I started thinking it was all ridiculous. It was one Halloween and what a life experience it would be to have them see and hear and absorb the New York City marathon at six! What an opportunity I was giving them. They should be grateful! I bet Sheryl Sandberg doesn’t ask her kids if they want to be in Japan on Christmas, she just leans in and flies them there on her private jet. *Yes I just compared myself to the COO of Facebook
I had conversations with my Dad about it. I talked to my husband over and over again. He’s always brutally honest and not always in favor of my running and racing so, with raised eyebrows and a kind of “now do you see what you’re doing?” look, helped me come up with some options:
- Have my dad and stepmom stay home with the boys and give them the Halloween they know and love.
- Ask my sitter to come and stay with them and give them the Halloween they know and love.
- Have my husband stay with them (and I would go with my dad and stepmom to the race) and give them the Halloween they know and love.
To me, all of these options sucked. I wanted my boys to be at this race! I wanted everyone to be there but them especially. Yes, I was being selfish and sulking, but that’s when I had the idea for the guilt party.
I proposed this idea to the kids as if I was pitching Nike. I told them I would throw them the biggest, most elaborate Halloween party this side of Sleepy Hallow, and invite each and every neighborhood friend – the weekend before Halloween. Deal?
They took it!
I immediately texted every mom in the ‘hood and asked them to save the date, went online and ordered invitations, opened my Target Red Card account and bought out the store!
How’s that for guilt? I’m Italian and was raised Catholic so I’m a guilt professional.
[Tweet “Mom guilt and the NYC Marathon. What would you do? #NYCMarathon #parenting”]
I still feel incredibly guilty. I’m so afraid that Halloween will come, we will be in New York and they will be upset. Part of me knows it’s not that big of a deal but, in the moment, it might be. I also know I can’t live to make my kids happy and obviously I’m trying to balance my wants with theirs, but this has been a tough one.
I’m afraid that despite the party, they are miserable in New York on Halloween night and I feel like the worst mother on the planet.
But then I had a vision.
It’s 20 years from now, and they are being interviewed at the Olympics for being the first twin brothers in history to set dual American records in the men’s marathon and win two gold medals!
“This is all thanks to our mom who dragged us to New York City on Halloween, to watch her race the marathon when we were six.”
How do you deal with mom guilt? Did you mom seem to care about this?
When is the last time you had a mom guilt dilemma?
NYC bloggers – give me some great things to do in the city on Halloween night with the boys!