Friday, May 06, 2011

How My Mommy Guilt Has Shifted Over the Years

As a full-time working mom, I kinda sorta have to be super organized.  Time management skills are essential.  There is pretty much not a minute to waste in my weekdays.  Unfortunately.


Therefore, by the time I am out the door on Monday-Friday around 7am in the morning, I have already done all these things.  Every. Single. Day.  I kid you not:

*exercised for 45 minutes
*caught up with Words With Friends on the iPad
*packed 3 lunches and 3 snacks for the boyz
*set up backpacks, all ready to go, by the door
*made 3 breakfasts for the boyz (usually cereal)
*showered/blow-dried my hair/gotten dressed/applied spackle makeup
*picked out 2 school outfits (Middle and Baby)
*applied some sort of bandaid/neosporin to at least one child's body
*some sort of laundry (whether sorting/folding/putting away/starting a load)
*packed my own lunch (some days)
*made my own breakfast (every day)

When I write it all down, it makes me think, "Holy crap!  That's a frigging lot of stuff before 7 in the morning."

And yet.

I still feel like I'm falling short in sooo many ways.

Why, hello, Mommy Guilt.  Like a bad rash, you keep coming back.

(I searched and realized I have written over 25 blog posts mentioning "Mommy Guilt."  Gah.)

Over the past few years, the Mommy Guilt has definitely shifted.  Before, I used to agonize over being a working mother and leaving my babies in the care of someone else for those years that I commuted into Boston.  Someone else, not me, spent more time with my children than I did. 

Ouch, my heart.

But this past September, I found that heaviness in my heart lifting when Baby started full-time kindergarten.  All 3 of my boyz are in school during the week.  I don't have that type of Guilt anymore. 

However, the Guilt has shifted.

Now that the boyz are older, they are definitely playmates.  Whether it's playing the Wii, or playing outside, or playing inside, they keep each other company.  They are much more self-sufficient and less reliant on me.  Which leaves me time to do things that need to get done.  Cooking.  Cleaning.  Laundry.  Words With Friends

Every minute of every day is accounted for.

So when I empty a backpack and see a library book that I know I haven't sat and read with a child before it's due back, it breaks me.

Little things like that.

I feel like the boyz have become almost immune, in a sense, to needing me.  That they are used to me Being Busy.  And therefore, they have learned not to ask me for little things like sitting and reading a book with them.

Ouch, my heart.

This is my fault.  And this is something I need to work on.

And then, this morning:  Before heading out the door to work, I was giving kisses.  And explaining to the boyz that I wouldn't see them until tomorrow night, as I'm heading into Boston overnight to speak at Bloggy Boot Camp tomorrow.

Middle looked up at me with his big brown eyes and asked, "How come you never come to any of my baseball games?"

Like a dagger.

To be fair, the game that I am missing tonight is a make-up game that wasn't on the schedule.  And the only other game I missed was because I had to take Eldest to his game.  But yes, I am missing 2 games tomorrow while I am in Boston.

More Mommy Guilt.  Because I'm taking time for myself.  Doing something I love to do. 

But taking time away from my family.

I honestly don't know what the Right Answer is.

Is there one?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some of this reminds me of our lunch conversation. I think an equal balance of both makes you the wonderful mom and writer that you are. Missing a few games won't change how much they love and need you. It is their way of saying they love you and enjoy you being there! So, my answer is that there is no answer. Happy Mother's Day :)

Anonymous said...

I have learned that if I don't take some "me time", I end up a burnout mom/wife and not useful/helpful to anyone. It may take time to implode/explode, but it will happen.
Be grateful that you do many things you enjoy and leave the guilt at the door. It will be there when you get home ;)

Joehi said...

That really sucks. I haven't had kids yet, so I don't have mommy guilt. But I know I will.

I already have guilt that I don't take my dogs enough places.

I can see this not going well for me. UGH!

Kim - Mommycosm said...

Ugh. I don't have the answer. I have my own Mom guilt evolution going on over here.

I think you're doing as good as any of us. You take time for you...but you also prioritize. That's the key, really. That and to tell guilt to take a hike because you are doing your best. I'm good at keeping it away most of the time...but it sucker punches me every now and then. Kinda sucks.

Michelle said...

*Sigh* The mommy guilt. Does it ever end? When they are adults and leave us will we still feel guilty about things we wished we could have done? Probably.

I'm still in the guilty leaving-my-children-at-daycare stage. But I think sometimes I am a BETTER mother when I get "me" time. If I have 4 days off in a row, I can admit my patience is much shorter than if I have been away from them for a while. So I guess it's finding a balance. But I wonder if we as mothers can ever really feel like we've done enough.

mostlyfitmom said...

There is no right answer, of course. I just wonder how many guys experience "dad guilt" the way we women do?

Manic Mommy said...

Gremlin has had separation anxiety all this year that HRH never had. I attribute it to me "stopping working" when he was a year old.

HRH asked me "how come *you* pick us up everyday?"

You can't win. Please don't feel guilty. It's never enough.

HAVE A GREAT TIME AT BOOTCAMP. The best way to be a good mother is to put your oxygen mask on first.

The Redhead Riter said...

Happy Mother's Day to all women - mothers and all those who want to be a mother! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Another Suburban Mom said...

Mommy guilt is sneaky. My boss was away so I picked my daughter up early from daycare. While she can't tell time, she knew it was early because I was getting her before "last call" snack.

On the way home she turned to me and asked if "Mr. Michael" was on vacation because I was early again.

Ouch

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