Maybe I felt guilty, thinking that by needing time for me, I was somehow negating my love for my children. After all, I had two healthy, wonderful kids relatively late in life, with no complications -- how dare I need some alone time!
A chubby young girl with Pippi Longstocking braids stands in front of the mirror holding up a too-small pink dress and sees a different version of herself. Her mirror image is thin. It's the cover of a (disturbing) new children's book.
Whether we admit it or not -- whether we want to or not -- we mirror our parents. Parents are the single greatest influence on our lives. We see, absorb and act out their best and worst habits and behaviors.
Sometimes I wish I could talk to the parents I had as a kid. One question I would ask them is this: what was the point of making a thirsty child eat their vegetables before drinking that watery Kool-Aid you served with dinner?
I wore my hair very long in high school and cut it in college only when it caused my mother serious distress. But my parents never let how I looked diminish how much they loved me or wished to be with me... anytime, anywhere.
It is vitally important that you have a sense of passion and purpose in your life separate from your children. And it is vitally important that you learn to define your own sense of worth rather than making your children's behavior responsible.