Showing posts with label mom guilt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mom guilt. Show all posts

Feeling Guilty About Not Feeling Guilty

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A few days ago, when the snow really started falling on the east coast, I saw a Tweet go by that got me thinking about my Mom Guilt again. The Tweet was tagged with #snowday and read something to the effect of: "my kids are why I work from home, they are not an interruption." Then, my mom said something to me that stung a bit. I told her I don't usually cook a big dinner on the days Tyler's sports end late in the evening. Her response? "But why not? You're home all day." Ouch.

See, I've been feeling guilty for wanting Tyler to go on vacation. By himself. Every year since he turned one he's spent time at my mom's house during Christmas break. Since my Gramma comes from St. Louis and stays with my mom for three months, it's killed two birds with one stone. The Gramma's get some one on one time with their baby, Tyler gets (even more) spoiled and Phil and I get to act like the couple we were before we became parents.
Giant Gavelphoto © 2010 Sam Howzit | more info (via: Wylio)

When we asked Tyler if he wanted to go this year, he said no. I'll admit, my first thought was "how could he be so selfish!" I know, I know. He's only 8. He has no idea why his vacation is so important to his mom and dad. But my gut reaction, combined with that Tweet got me thinking about the idea that we should love being parents 100% of the time. Now that I'm a SAHM the pressure is even worse. It's my job to take care of my family. I should throw myself into it wholeheartedly and enjoy every minute of it, right?

Well, I don't. I love my kid with a fierceness that still surprises me. I love him so much it can be all consuming at times. I love him so much that, occasionally, there's not enough left for my husband, too (another thing I feel guilty about!). And that's my problem. Anything that takes up that much of a person's time, energy and focus is exhausting! I love being a mom. Specifically, I love being Tyler's mom. But every once in awhile I need a break. WE need a break.

Phil and I could really use the time to ourselves this year. We treat Tyler's time away as mini vacation for us too. There's stress that I can't write about just now and it's making me a bad mom and a bad wife. With Tyler gone, in addition to going to dinner somewhere with no kid's menu and watching R rated movies before 9:00, we have a few days to really talk and re-connect. And, maybe my mom and Gramama will crack the whip with eye rolling in a way I've been unsuccessful at so far. I'm sure Tyler could use a break from me, too.

I guess I can't call Tyler selfish without labeling myself the same. But is it selfish to want a break from the daily grind? Society tells me it is. But then there's also the idea that 'if Mama ain't happy, nobody's happy.' And just to throw in another curve, couples who make time for each other have happier marriages. So which is it? Selflessly take care of my family, take care of myself or nurture my marriage?

I don't know why this is such a struggle for me; finding balance. I think because I don't earn a steady income, I feel like I have to bring something to the table and right now all I've got is my time. Time to cook, clean, do laundry, grocery shop, take Tyler to practice, etc. etc. I'm lucky to be an at home mom. I know that. I don't want to go back to work. At least, I don't think I do.

Anytime I feel guilty about something I know it more than likely stems from some insecurity or doubt about a decision I've made. But in this case, I don't feel guilty about wanting Tyler to go visit my mom. If anything, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty, if that makes sense. Don't get me wrong, I miss him when he's away, but the margarita at Happy Hour helps ease the pain.

So, yes, I admit it. I want my son to away for a few days. When he does, I'm going to make a conscious choice to enjoy it and the few evenings I'll spend with my husband. Alone. This does not make me a bad person. Nor does it make me a bad mom. In fact, think it makes me a better mom. Screw you, society.

*Tyler changed his mind and decided to go! Thank you, Little Brother!

Mom Guilt Stinks

Friday, May 21, 2010

I've been feeling Mom Guilt since the moment I found out I was pregnant. Gasp! I had a few cocktails! What if something happens?! It's gotten progressively worse over the years. Even though I know it's a useless and wasted emotion, I carry it around with me like a favorite accessory.

I pushed for three hours and Tyler came out looking like a tiny prize fighter. Guilt. 

I had to go back to work when Tyler was only 3 months old. Guilt.

We started Tyler in Kindergarten at age 4. Guilt.

I try not to let parenting issues get me down, but I'm a worrier and I beat myself up over just about everything. It doesn't matter that Tyler is his own person, that he understand the basics of right and wrong and is mostly capable of making his own decisions. If he acts like a brat in public, people aren't wondering what his problem is, they're looking at right at me. 

The latest monkey on my back is Tyler's teeth. It seems he's inherited mine which resemble mini mountain ranges with steep peaks and valleys. The result? Four cavities and the makings of a new one. Guilt. 

I'm not sure what Tyler has against taking care of his teeth (and basic hygiene in general). We started fighting about it, meaning I'd yell at him for not doing it correctly and he'd whine that the toothpaste was too spicy and why can't he go back to the bubble gum flavored kind?! 

I found out that first, Tyler wasn't brushing at all, then he'd brush, but with no toothpaste! I resorted to doing random plaque checks, sneaking up on him when he's in the bathroom, putting the toothpaste in a specific position after he'd gone to bed and checking to make sure the toothbrush bristles were wet before we left for school. I had the dentist talk to him, showed him scary pictures of tooth decay and threatened to make him pay for any future cavities. The kid just wasn't getting it and I was ready to lay the ultimate smackdown.

As a last, last resort we got him a new toothbrush, the Sonicare for Kids. It seems to be working. We gave Tyler our old Sonicare when we got new ones, but I think the adult size head was part of the problem. He's brushing without fuss, with toothpaste, and seems to be more thorough. I'm happy that I can stop pulling my hair out and turning our mornings and nights into screaming matches. 

Photo from here

Now, if only I can find a way to get him to brush his hair and not leave the house looking like Crabman from My Name is Earl. Guilt. 

*We received a Sonicare for Kids from Mom Central. The opinions are mine, as is the guilt over not having this post up in time (despite the reminders) because I spent the last two days shopping, visiting with family and spa-ing with friends. Read my full Sonicare for Kids review.

Losing My Mom of the Year Award

Monday, April 12, 2010

I made Tyler cry yesterday. Granted, I've done it before, but this time it was accidental. Yesterday's weather was below southern California standards. It wasn't nice enough for the pool, beach or park (don't hate) so we decided to go see How To Train Your Dragon.
Tyler was outside playing. I called him in and told him to change into jeans and get his shoes on.

Before I get to the part where I made him cry, let me explain a little bit about Tyler. He makes it virtually impossible to surprise him or treat him to something. Whenever I ask him to get ready so we can leave, he starts in with 20 Questions.

Are we going somewhere?
Where are we going?
Is it the park?
Which park are we going to?
Is it the squishy one* or the one with the sand?
It's not the park?
Is it Chuck e Cheese?
Will there be food there?
Will my cousin be there?
Is it the skate park?
Can I bring my scooter?
Why is the sky blue in the daytime but not at night?

If I don't answer, he just keeps going. I've told him before that sometimes, part of the excitement of going somewhere is the anticipation and element of surprise. He needs to just sit back and enjoy the ride every once in awhile. We're still working on it.

Back to the story.

I can see that he's about to launch into 20 Questions. We need to get moving since we decided to go at the last minute and wanted to catch the next showing (leaving us about 25 minutes to get there) so we could go to dinner afterwards. We didn't have time to play his game.

"We're going to the movies and we need to get a move on."

"What movie are we seeing?"

I get easily frustrated that, when asked to do something, Tyler doesn't always just do it because we're his parents and we asked him to. He has to question everything. I'm sure this is a trait I'll admire later. Now? Not so much. Which is probably what led to me saying:

"You're not seeing a movie, Daddy and I are seeing a grown up one and you're waiting in the car."

Phil laughed a little and said, "we're going to see How To Train Your Dragon and we need to hurry."

Fast forward to after the movie.** We're walking back to the car asking each other what we thought when Tyler says to me, "you know, Mom, you made me cry earlier."

"What do you mean?"

"Before, when I asked where we were going."

"You mean, when I said you were going to be waiting in the car?'

"Yes. I was crying in the back seat on the way here. I used Dad's sweatshirt to wipe my tears."

Yes, he actually said 'wipe my tears.' I felt about thisbig. He didn't hear Phil when he said the name of the movie. My poor kid thought he'd be sitting in the car alone! Obviously, my sarcasm didn't quite come through. I've apologized profusely, but think I'm going to have to pull something really special out of my ass to make up for this one.

Please tell me I'm not the only one to inadvertently reduce their kid to tears?

*We have a park nearby with that bouncy, rubber tire-like stuff under the play structure. We started calling it the squishy park, to differentiate it from the sand park, and the where-we-used-to-live park.
**We all loved the movie. It's really cute. We saw it in IMAX 3D. The dragons aren't super scary, except for the giant bad-guy one. I wouldn't take kids under 5.

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!
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