Tag Archives: children

Mom Guilt

12 Oct

This past Sunday when bestie was over we somehow got on the topic of Mom Guilt.

Mom Guilt is a special brand of guilt reserved for mothers who are doing their best to do it all. It’s feeling guilty when you tell your toddler he can’t play outside because you have to stay inside and feed the baby. It’s feeling guilty when you let your baby cry for ten minutes while you finish your shower. It’s feeling guilty when you let your children watch more television than you know is good for them so that you can do the dishes. It’s feeling guilty when you neglect the dishes so that you can take the time to write for the first time in months.

Now, I don’t presume to speak on behalf of all mothers, but I have spoken to enough of my mom friends to know that most experience at least some Mom Guilt on a semi-regular basis.

I’ve been experiencing higher than average levels of Mom Guilt these past few weeks. I know that logically this is to be expected given the recent addition of Child #3 to our family. I keep telling myself that it’s normal for things to fall behind and priorities to shift while we adjust to life as a family of five. I tell myself this, but it doesn’t make me feel any better.

I’m doing my best to turn my life into a spinoff of an improv game I once played. Instead of adding, “yes, and…” to the end of each of my sentences, though, I’m adding an, “and that’s okay” to the end of each of my admissions of guilt.

Yes, Child #2 hasn’t had a ton of Vitamin D lately, and that’s okay. Yes, Child #3 had to scream bloody murder in order for me to shave my armpits, and that’s okay. You get the idea.

It’s okay because I’m doing the best I can. As much as I’ve prayed to the gods for superpowers or, even better, my very-belated Hogwarts letter, I sadly remain a mere human, and a muggle at that.

I’m not perfect. Even on my best days, there are still going to be dirty bottles on the counter and unfolded laundry in the dryer. There are going to be times when my household obligations don’t get my attention because of time spent with my children and vice versa. This doesn’t make me a failure as a mother, or as a spouse (side note: Spouse Guilt is another beast, entirely). It makes me normal.

I need to do better at reminding myself that at the end of each exhausting day [How long until babies sleep through the night, again? No, seriously, I can’t remember.] my children go to bed with all their basic needs met. Even better, they are (usually) happy, and at least somewhat clean. Most importantly, they are loved, and that is more than okay.

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Won’t You Not Be My Neighbor?

14 Jul

The word “neighbor” has always been one that I have associated with warm and fuzzy feelings of a trusting world in an era gone by. I think of baked cookies, night games, Mr. Rogers and “Hi-dee-ho neighbor Tim.” Neighbors are one of the things that I most looked forward to when Husband and I purchased our house seven years ago. We live in a newer suburban development, and at the time ours was one of the only houses up. For a while it was almost lonely. As our neighborhood has developed, though, I’m glad to say that we’ve turned into quite the happy little community. For the longest time our little stretch of road only had six houses on it. There are six children scattered amongst these houses and together as a block we’ve watched them learn to ride bikes, helped them build snowmen, and purchased crap items from their fundraisers. Recently, however, the last two houses on our street have gone up and owners have moved in. I haven’t yet met the occupants of one of these houses, but the new couple (in their late 20s, early 30s) that moved into the other… Well, let’s just say they don’t seem to fit into the general atmosphere that’s been created in our neighborhood.

Cases in point:

  • Their first week in the neighborhood I told the woman that her dogs were adorable. She said, “Yeah,” and walked away.
  • When we wave while driving or walking past their house they do not wave back.
  • While on a walk my son (4yo) stopped to throw a ball for their dogs. I asked the woman if it bothered her that he was playing with her dogs and she said it did.
  • My 4yo who is just learning to ride his bike with training wheels used the bottom of her driveway to turn around. She asked him not to go in her driveway.

Husband and I are really bothered by their (especially her) behavior. Not letting my son turn around in her driveway is particularly irritating to both myself and Husband. Her house is at the end of our block, which means it marks the limit of where he’s allowed to bike to on his own. He has to turn around when he reaches her house. The sidewalk isn’t wide enough for him to turn around in without either going in her driveway or her grass, unless he were to get off of his bike, pick it up and manually turn it around. Kind of an inconvenience for a boy of four.

And that there is the clincher. It is inconvenient and annoying. But are the things these neighbors are doing criminal? No. Is she perfectly within her right as an American property owner to do and say these things? Yes. But they just seem so unfriendly and unnecessarily rude. Bitching Complaining about this led to quite a spirited debate (as all the best ones are) between Bestie, Husband and myself last night. Do you have a social obligation to be nice to your neighbors? A series of random events brought you together to live in the same neighborhood, but does that somehow make it your duty to be friendly to them? To keep a patient and watchful eye on their children? To smile and wave at these people who are otherwise strangers?

The short answer, as Bestie and I argued, is no. But wouldn’t the world be a happier place if we all did it anyway?

As for our particular situation, I plan on handling it like a true Minnesotan – by being passive aggressive. Specifically, she will soon be receiving a plate full of cookies from yours truly with a note thanking her for letting Child use her driveway to be safe while biking. You’re in my neighborhood now, *****.

A Birthday Wish

7 Jan

My miracle turned two years old today.

When I think about the day he was born, I always am amused because it really did start out like any other day. I slept in, took a shower, shaved my legs, did my hair and makeup. Nothing unusual about that. But then I went to the hospital and one surgery later, I had a son.

It really does seem like only yesterday when he was wearing newborn sized clothing, sleeping all hours of the day (except when I wanted needed him to), and making me realize that until that time I had never truly understood the meaning of the word “exhausted.”

Now today, he sang happy birthday to himself, wore a 2T Cars t-shirt, refused to nap, and still left me exhausted.

I know this is cliché, coming from a mother, but I truly believe that I have been blessed with the best little boy to have ever walked the planet. He is sweet, loving (usually, unless you’re trying to pick up his toys or change his diaper), hilarious, and I’m pretty sure he’s a genius. Plus, have you seen him? I know as his mother I’m supposed to say this, but it’s true: he is one cute little boy. I would not change one single thing about him.

As I sit here getting weepy-eyed about the prospect of him aging even more than he already has (can’t he just stay two forever?), I have a birthday wish for him. I wish for him to remain as sweet, loving, smart, hilarious and cute as he is on this day for the rest of his life. I wish for his life to be easy, and that if struggles do come (as they usually always do), he realizes has the love and support necessary to get through them. I wish for him to be healthy and happy, always. And lastly, I wish for him to realize that no one will ever love him more, or as completely, as I do on this day.

Happy Birthday, to my son. I love you.