Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Motherhood and More: A mother's guilt never ends*

I have the weirdest Mom Guilt.

Like now, I feel guilty for not knitting my children socks. I’m a knitter, a rabid knitter at times, but my children, especially my oldest, are lacking in the hand knit sock department.

This is mainly because I’m attempting to knit for hire, as in I would love to knit you a scarf or a hat if you pay me.

It’s going well; I have lots of projects in the works. But they’re all for other people. And my children’s feet will be so cold that their little toes will become frostbit and I will have to nurse them through toe removal, all the while knowing that I could have prevented this if I had just knit them socks.

I realize it’s neurotic, but that’s how my brain works. I feel guilty nonstop. I feel guilty because I haven’t made homemade bread today and we’ll be without tomorrow because we’re down to the last piece and all they want to eat for breakfast is toast.

I’ll feel guilty when I buy bread instead of making it.

I feel guilty for the hot dogs my daughter grabs out of the refrigerator. Or the chicken nuggets they both love to consume.

I feel guilty that I gave my son juice instead of water in his lunch box, or that I allowed my daughter to keep the three suckers she stole at the birthday party when I wasn’t looking, unwrapping them as quick as she could and shoving them all in her mouth at once.

I feel guilty that my children probably don’t eat as many vegetables as they should, or that they love fruit much more than vegetables, which means that they will grow up to only want sweet food and not savory, thus giving them a lifetime of food issues.

I feel guilty that my son spends too much time playing on the computer, or that I use television as a way to keep my daughter entertained when I need to perform a task that is easier to do without 3-year-old "assistance."

I feel guilty because sometimes it’s just easier to not brush her teeth than to chase her and hold her down and fight the screaming.

I feel guilty when I lose my temper. And when I yell. And when I lose my temper again. And when I yell again.

I feel guilty because my daughter requires more attention than my son, so sometimes he is pushed to the side.
I feel guilty because he accepts that.

I feel guilty that I don’t do crafts with my daughter. Or that I don’t work with her much on writing. Or that I work around the house instead of focusing solely on her. Or that I knit for hire instead of playing blocks with her.

I feel guilty that I’m relieved my son is in school during the day because that means less fighting between the kids.

I feel guilty that my children fight as much as they do, and that they can’t seem to get along.

I feel guilty that I don’t like putting my daughter to bed because the routine is usually full of her running away from me as I try to wrestle her into pajamas.

I feel guilty because I look forward to the quiet time after they are in bed.

I feel guilty because I want more than a couple of hours to myself a day. I feel guilty that I’m introverted, that I’m perfectly happy in my own head.

I feel guilty that none of this comes easily to me, that it’s all hard work and dedication and days filled with screw-ups.

But I guess that’s how it is, right? We screw up. And then we learn. And we get better.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go start knitting some socks. I’m not really in the mood to deal with toe loss. And I feel guilty for that, too.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on November 27, 2013. 

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