Mom Guilt: A Force of Nature

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I've been doing the stay at home mom thing for a little over a year now. Which means I've had a year to become organized, with an easy to manage schedule and routine. A year to figure out how to manage my time and find a balance between running a home, being a wife and mom, growing this blog, nurturing my friendships, and keep up with my book club and blogging group. A year should be plenty of time get my act together and have everything under control, right?

I'll give you a moment to find a tissue for the tears of laughter.

All set?

Anyway, yesterday I had two doctor appointments in the morning then went on errands, keeping an eye on the clock so I could make it school in time for pick up at 3:10. All day, that time was in the back of my mind, playing over and over like a CD on repeat, "must finish in time for pick up, must finish in time for pick up." We took Drama Kid out of the after school care program so I'm not used to needing to be at school right at the bell on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, thus the mental reminder.

After the second doctor appointment I went to WalMart. Time check: 12:45. Totally on schedule. Then I went to the commissary which is on the marine base in Oceanside. Time check: 1:30. I forgot my list, which always makes shopping take longer but we didn't need a whole lot. Pushing it but doable.

I made my way through the store and by the time I got to the frozen foods I could tell I was running late. Time check: 2:39. Crap! If I really hurry, he'll only be waiting outside for a few minutes.

I knew I was forgetting something but I got in line and was starting to put the groceries on the belt when my cell rang. I wasn't going to answer since I was in a hurry but, as a mom, there's always that moment of "what if it has to do with the kid?" so I looked at the caller ID and sure enough it was the school.

"Hi Mel, this is A from the front office?"

"Yes, hello."

"Well, I'm sure it just slipped your mind, but Wednesday is early pick up day for teacher conferencing. We have Drama Kid here in the office." Double crap!

"I'm so sorry! I did forget, he usually goes to the after program. I'll leave the store right now."

The school only calls when a parent is more than half an hour late. On early day, classes get out at 2:10. Triple crap!

I started helping the bagger and at first he waved me off but when I him my son's school just called he kicked it into high gear and helped me load everything into my car.

The whole way to school I kept thinking, "I can't believe I forgot my child," and that replaced the "must finish in time for pick up" mantra on the loop in my head.

I forgot my child! I'm a stay at home mom. It's not like I was in a meeting or on a deadline. I was comparing prices and digging through my coupons. How could I forget my kid?!

And I know, I didn't really forget him, but it certainly felt that way. Especially when I went into the office and he was sitting on the floor, all alone next to his backpack.

I apologized profusely to the office staff and they were understanding because they remembered he was normally supposed to be at the after program, but I still felt like they ready to call CPS and report me for neglect.

And I apologized to Drama Kid once we were in the car and he said, "that's OK, Mom" and dug into his snack. He was safe and had obviously moved on with his life but I felt horrible and guilty all night.

I don't know why being at home is still so hard. I've had a year to get it right. It's one thing to forget a dentist appointment but not your kid. *sigh* Hopefully it won't take me another year to get it together.

How about you? Have you left you child somewhere? Was the transition from "working*" mom to at home mom hard for you and how did you handle it?

*I put working in quotes because we all work no matter if our office is a cubicle or a mini van!


  1. Haaaa!!! When you figure that one out let me know!!! I too have "forgotten" that it was early release day!!! Now I have a weekly reminder on my phone "just in case" ;)

  2. I have forgotten the last day of friggin SCHOOL. LOL. I have forgotten just about EVERYTHING once and been embarrassingly late more times than I care to count. It happens to the best of us. ((HUG))

  3. I am in a constant state of leaving everything, everywhere! SAHM, WAHM...I am not even sure what I am (blog designer/illustrator)
    I do always feel like a chicken with her head cut off:P

  4. There's not enough room to write all of the things that I've forgotten since my children were born and wrecked my memory - smiles!

    I work from home and I swear someone is speeding up the clock every day 'cause 2:50 p.m. comes so fast!

  5. I've been a stay at home mom since the beginning, and I can't even count how many things I've forgotten, but here's the good news: the oldest drives himself to and from school so I don't have to worry about forgetting him anymore. Now I only have to worry about his getting home without a wreck.

  6. I didn't forget my kid, but I did forget her "Student of the Week" ceremony--I was on a field trip with another child. She was totally cool.

    It's good for them to see that something can go awry and the world doesn't fall apart.

    Great pictures from Christmas--you're a photogenic bunch!

  7. Don't feel bad. My mother habitually forgot me at piano lessons. I was a quiet child.
    But I turned out ok.

  8. I have been a SAHM for about 8 years and let me tell you it really doesn't get any better. Don't beat yourself up about it too much. It sounds like he made it through the ordeal pretty intact. Moms are humans too and are entitled to make a few mistakes every once in awhile.

  9. Oh, no! It's totally understandable that it would happen though - I mean, gosh, our lives are too big for our brains so we have to forget sometimes. I don't have a child yet, so I don't have one to forget. But I did once take the day off for a dentist appointment and then forget to actually go to the appointment. That was pretty lame.

  10. Elle- Nice to meet you and thank you for stopping by. That's a great story. Thanks for the laugh! (With you, not at you hee hee)

  11. I haven't made the transition yet but when I do I'll remember your post, Don't forget the kid. I think it happens to everyone at some point.


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