Balancing Many Roles: Wife, Mother, Daughter

by Melanie Edwards on August 30, 2010 · 8 comments

in life

Napping on a Hammock

I had a nice, quiet, lazy weekend. One where I pretty much unplugged the entire two days. I had a lot of hang out time at home with my family and we rested – no going anywhere or errands to run. It was actually really nice. I think my body and mind needed it after the traveling I did this month and it seemed to be enjoyed by the husband and baby girl as well. Her and I even took a nap together.

The only thing I’m regretting about this weekend is that I didn’t go visit my parents. The last time my baby girl and I saw them was the weekend before. It’s harder to visit them during the week since the week entails a busy work/school schedule for all of us. So, it’s much easier to visit on Saturdays or Sundays. Since we didn’t visit this past weekend, it’s now a little over a week since we’ve seen them.

And, the guilt sets in.

Why is it that even though we had a very nice weekend, I still manage to have that one little thing that is pulling at me? I’m content with how we spent our time, but feel guilty that I didn’t carve out time to go and visit them. Since many of us play so many roles – wives, mothers, daughters – I am wondering if this is a “woman” thing. I know that men also play multiple roles, but for some reason, I don’t see many men stressing if they go over a week without talking to or seeing their extended family. In fact, I know a few who can go over 3 weeks without talking to their parents.

In our Latino culture, family is ultra, mega, important. In my immediate family, we don’t make it a habit of not talking to each other for extended periods of time. Actually, I think I’m already pushing the limits by not having a daily phone conversation with my mother; I usually talk to her every other day. And like I mentioned, we often see each other on at least a weekly basis, if not more – she does live only 15 minutes away from me.

So, does anyone else who lives close to their parents struggle with this? How do you keep the guilty feelings away if you happen to concentrate on yourself or family and don’t include your role as a daughter/son for a few days?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tracy August 30, 2010 at 6:25 pm

We live about an hour and a half from my parents. It’s further than I had wanted when we moved, but we didn’t have a choice at the time. I used to feel guilty about not visiting with the kids more often, but the guilt has worn off with the realization that when we go over there they just run around and make a lot of noise with their cousin and I know that my parents secretly value quiet time to relax on the weekend, (though I think they don’t want to admit it!)nnWith holidays/birthdays, it usually works out that my family gets together about once or twice a month, and I’m cool with that.nnMaybe your daughter could have a Skype chat with the grandparents once a month? She could show them drawings she made, sing songs for them, etc :)nnIt’s hard to let go of the guilt, (and this applies to so many things women feel guilty about), but you can’t do everything and be everywhere. Right now your kids need you to focus on your role as a mother, and your husband needs you as a wife. You fulfilled your role as a child when you were little, and you will fulfill it again as an adult child/caregiver as your children grow up and your parents age. Different seasons in life… just go with the flow.nn

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2 modernmami August 30, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Tracy, I cannot in all good conscience, schedule skype sessions for her andrnmy parents when we live 15 minutes away! LOL That just seems wrong…rnrnAbout the role of being an adult child/caregiver…I’m kind of alreadyrnthere. I’m the youngest and my mom is 30 years older than me, my dad is 37rnyears older and has dementia. So in a way, though I have small children, I’mrnalready in the double-role as a mom myself and caregiver. My mom is stillrngood, thank God, but little by little needs more help due to my dad’srnsituation.rnrnThanks for input, though. I do have to remind myself that no matter whatrnthey may think, I can only try my best.

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3 Leanne Chase - @leanneclc August 30, 2010 at 6:34 pm

You are not alone. I struggle with it, too. My mother is 20 minutes away…but she piles the guilt on me. Saw her a week and a half ago and my little one got sick this weekend so I canceled our visit. She was visibly upset and gave me guilt for doing the right thing for all of us.nnAs for the men vs. women thing. My husband’s mother sees us about 4 times a year and while she’d love more, she is content not to pile on the guilt. nnHere’s hoping I break that cycle with my daughter and allow her to have a weekend like yours without the guilt.

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4 modernmami August 30, 2010 at 6:38 pm

See? That’s my mother in law too. They live about 4 hours away, so we seernthem a few times throughout the year. But, even if she goes a few weeksrnwithout speaking to my husband, they just pick up conversation like nothingrn- no guilt!

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5 Tracy August 31, 2010 at 11:17 am

LOL – Okay, Skype sessions when you live 15 minutes away *is* a little weird. How about multi-tasking? If your daughter has a play date at the park or a dance class in the evenings, invite your Mom to meet you there for a quick ice cream afterwards? :) — It doesn’t have to be an all day “get together” – just keep that in mind, especially since you live so close. That works to your advantage.nnSorry that you’re having to juggle being a mother to young children and being a caregiver to your parents at the same time. Usually those things take place at different times in one’s life, but as we know, life doesn’t always work out accordingly. nnWishing you suerte!

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6 modernmami September 17, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Multi-tasking might not be too bad of an idea.

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7 Michelecaridadgv September 17, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I live about 35-40 mins away from my parents and i have the GUILT constantly!! my in-laws live in the same building so they see my daughter almost on a daily basis, sometimes every 2 or 3 days….

So…either sat. or sun will be a whole day affair because it just seems wrong to leave after only a few hours…but my mom often encourages me to just take it easy…i cant say the guilt comes from her…it comes from me!

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8 modernmami September 18, 2010 at 1:44 am

That’s great that your mom encourages you to take it easy! Now you just have
to find a way to let go of your own guilt.

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