Am I selfish?

I’ve been away from mychildtheaddict.com for what feels like a long time. It seems like I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind of activity and just finding it difficult to find the time to sit down and focus on things other than me. In my head I think “That’s ok. It’s important to put yourself first once in a while” but in my gut, I have feelings of doubt. I find myself thinking maybe I’m being selfish by turning my focus away from everyone else, including my children, for a few months.

David and I recently picked up our lives and moved across the country. We are spending a lot of time outdoors, away from the rest of the world, and (somewhat impatiently) waiting for our home to be built. In making this move, we’ve left our children behind. That sounds awful, doesn’t it?

Our children are grown. Sarah, the youngest, will be moving into college dorms in a couple of weeks. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve probably heard me say something along the lines of “Their lives are theirs to live” and I do know that’s true. At the same time, I feel guilty for not being there if a moment were to arise where they want/need my presence.

My kids are doing fairly well at the moment. Laura is recently married and looking into moving a couple of states away from where they’re currently living. She seems happier than she’s been in quite some time. Matt is still in a sober living halfway house learning to take responsibility for himself. Sarah will be starting college soon and is somewhat petrified as it’s a big step in life but, once there, she’ll only be a half day drive away from me so I will be able to help her when necessary. Still, knowing all that in my head, does not completely alleviate my feelings of guilt. I have always felt responsible for my kids. At what point is it ok to stop feeling that?

I plan to see my kids as much as possible but, honestly, I think once or twice a year visits is about what I can expect. We have phone calls and FaceTime. When I was 18 I talked to my parents on the phone once a month and I was ok with that. Do my kids need me more than I needed my parents or am I overinflating my own importance. Perhaps I am putting these feelings of selfishness and guilt upon myself to satisfy my own ego. Maybe my feelings of guilt are also selfishness, focusing on me and my own emotions.

I can honestly say that parenting is the hardest job I ever had. You constantly question yourself, wondering if you’re doing it right and, even looking back upon past decisions, sometimes you never really know.

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