“Guilt isn’t always a rational thing, Clio realized. Guilt is a weight that will crush you whether you deserve it or not.”Maureen Johnson– Girl at Sea
(There is ALWAYS more Mom guilt)
Mom guilt. You feel it. All moms do. And maybe dads do as well, but they don’t talk about it. You know the feeling… When you do, or don’t do, something for your little, and your mind just wont stop circling around that action; trying to convince you that you’ve made a mistake, you’ve caused damage, you’ve somehow put them in a situation filled with unforeseen dangers. It runs on and on and on, kind of like that last sentence.
This morning, while dropping my little off at daycare, she yelled for a kiss as I was leaving… and I kept walking… Right. Out. The. Door.
Now, before you weigh your stones and cast your judgement, let me fill you in on the facts that convinced me to ignore her pitiful pleas.
Fact 1- My little is a stage 1 CLINGER; and this is a daily ritual to her. Every morning I give her a hug and a kiss goodbye, start to walk away, and milliseconds later am met with “Mommy! KITTTHHHHH!” Every morning I turn around and bend to give her a ‘last kiss’. And every morning the arms go around my neck, the feet leave the floor and it takes a crew of daycare assistants and/or a crowbar and a slab of Crisco to remove her. Every. Single. Day.
Fact 2- I gave her a hug and a goodbye kiss before walking away. Today, I even said ‘just one today’.
So, on to the guilt!
Today, I stood my ground. I never do that.
Today, I walked away. I never do that.
Today, I didn’t give her a ‘last kiss’. I NEVER do that!
In my car driving to work all I can think of is the sound of her cries following me down the hall as I damn near run for the exit. “Kith! Mommy, kith!”. At my desk, between patients, over my break; all I see is her beautiful blue eyes watching me leave from under her baby blonde ponytail. I torture myself…
What if this is her first memory? What if, when she is no longer my little, this is the first thing she can recall from her childhood; Mommy, walking away from her, without a kiss goodbye? What if she forgets all the moments before this one and all the kisses before this singular missed last kiss? Worse, what if this is her last memory of me?! What if, by some turn of events, I don’t make it back to her and the last thing she remembers about me is how I walked away from her not giving her the last ‘kith’ she so desperately begged for? What if I have somehow damaged the trust she has in me by not turning around this one single time?
All day I find these thoughts invading my brain, and I feel awful. I imagine myself the worst mommy ever because I chose to walk away from what I knew would not be the last kiss she swears daily it will be. I imagine myself the bad mommy because I chose to get to work on time and not look like I went through a dry cycle at the carwash on foot beforehand.
Here’s the thing. I had to convince myself today that I was allowed to get to work on time. That I was allowed to arrive there with my hair in place, unmarred by the beautiful, chubby baby fingers I so adore. I had to convince myself that I was allowed to walk out that door without turning around. And now I am convinced that I am allowed to not feel like a bad mommy for doing so.
My fellow Momrades! You too are allowed to deny your littles. You are allowed to deny the sweet tiny humans the right to make you late. You are allowed to refuse them the last bites of your favorite snack. You are allowed to lock the door when you pee. You are allowed to choose a girls-night-out over another bed time story. Because dear Momrades, you are not just ‘Mommy’, you are a whole person! And no one is judging you, other than you At least no one who matters is.
Your littles are not judging you.
And as much as we beat ourselves up, and talk ourselves down over the ‘wrong’ we’ve visited upon our littles; they are thinking about how much they love us for all the other ‘wrong’ decisions we make.
Ms. S told me this afternoon that my lovely little forgot all about her last kiss mere seconds after the door swung shut behind me. She was distracted by telling everyone how she has the best mommy because I watched X-Files with her last night (don’t look at me like that, it’s her favorite show /shrug).
Tomorrow, at drop off, I am going to tell her ‘just one kiss today’, and I am going to stand my ground… by running away so no one needs the crowbar.
What ‘silly’ things have caused you the most mom guilt?