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July 30, 2012 - Stacey Sacco
I think moms are programmed to feel guilty. Along with that rush of hormones we experience after birth, I think our DNA is permanently altered to second guess our every step, doubt our abilities, stress over every small decision, and rehash every move for evidence of our poor mothering abilities.
There’s not much we can’t manage to feel guilty about. Parenting is a landmine of decision-making. All the choices can sound good or bad. We make huge decisions like where to send our kids to school and little decisions like what to make for lunch and everything in between. We feel responsible for every last one of them.
Mothering is a manual labor job. We are often working at the point of exhaustion, exasperation, or desperation. It’s crazy hard. It’s worth it, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
I’ll be the first to admit that bedtime is my favorite part of the day sometimes. When everything has gone wrong and the kids are wild, I just want the day to be done. There are days when I think if I hear “mamamamamamamama…” one more time, my head will probably explode. And times that if I have to scrub another food or drink spill out of the carpet, I’ll just break down crying. And times that I can’t stand to see the inside of my house because the kids have torn it apart despite my best efforts to keep it reasonably clean and neat all day. And times that I’m disgusted with myself for having on a shirt with spit-up, peanut butter, and grass stains on it. And times I bite my tongue every time I hear “Look mama!” to keep from yelling “What the hell made you think THAT was a great idea?!?!”
On those days, I don’t want to make another meal. I don’t want to have an entire conversation about who would win a race between Lightening McQueen and a Star Wars vehicle. I have no patience for complaints about the dinner I spent an hour preparing. I don’t have the energy for fights over getting into the bathtub and getting out of the bathtub and putting pajamas on. I don’t have any desire to search the house for a two-year-old’s blankie that he likes to hide, but needs to sleep.
But as soon as I start having these thoughts, they are replaced by immense guilt. There are days that couldn’t go any slower, but overall, people are right- they grow up way too fast. What if I wasted today? My kids will never be this age again. I’ll never get this day back. Why can’t I see all the good instead of focusing on all that has gone wrong?
What will my kids remember? Will they recall the times we spent the day in the yard, exploring and having fun? Or will they remember the times I turned on the TV because I just couldn’t handle refereeing another argument?
They are mine for such a short period of time. There will be a time they share their excitement with friends instead of me. Before I know it, I’ll be sending them all to school on Monday mornings. They won’t always beg for “one more story” or to lay with them at night for “one more minute.”
Despite the fact that I know the days of Matchbox cars and Legos are limited, I still have trouble embracing the chaos at times. We have great days frequently- where we have fun, get along, and don’t stress about the dishes in the sink. Even though the good days outnumber the bad, I still feel guilty for those days I want nothing more than to sleep past six a.m., to drink an entire cup of tea without interruption, and to close the door when I take a shower.
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