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Girl Talk: Mommy Guilt

Q. I love my baby so much, but sometimes I find myself daydreaming about my pre-baby life. Am I a bad mother?

Think of it this way: I find myself daydreaming about being a kid again  -- an enviable time when I ate Twinkies and slept a full eight hours every night  -- but that doesn't make me a "bad adult." (Stuffing myself with Twinkies now is a different story.)

I look back because I enjoy basking in the warm glow of nostalgia. It's both comforting and does wonders for my skin tone. It's also an escape from the stress of the here and now, a stress that skyrocketed after my first baby was born. I can't believe there are many moms out there who never dream of jumping backward over that fateful divide  -- or yawning chasm  -- that separates B.C. (before children) from A.D. (after delivery).

Daydreaming about the "good old days," however, doesn't mean that you're denying the amazing gift of your present life  -- just as watching a sitcom doesn't mean that you want to trade your home life for a three-walled set. It's a temporary escape. If you were actively pursuing a lifestyle that ignored your new identity as a parent (say, partying until 3 a.m. every night, or refusing to buy diapers and wipes), then I'd say that you need to seek help.

You'll probably never stop thinking about your past, but believe it or not the view in the rearview mirror will change. In fact, someday you'll reach for your rose-colored specs and find yourself gazing at the first year of your baby's life. And you'll be amazed at how it glows.