Sometimes Mom Guilt is Justified
April 28, 2010
There’s a lot of talk about Mom Guilt, how we need to let it go, love ourselves and just do the best we can. I can get behind that. I think we’re often too hard on ourselves and on each other. But sometimes Mom Guilt is a good motivator for me to do better. There are a few times when I think motivational guilt can be warranted and even useful.
Remember the time you forgot to feed your 7-year-old lunch before heading to church and she started crying because she was so hungry? You felt pretty bad about that, huh? Oh wait. That was me. Laylee doesn’t really care too much about food. She can pretty much take it or leave it as evidenced by her pokey countable ribs. So she will go until she’s starving before she requests something to eat.
Usually I’m pretty good about remembering to feed her but sometimes I just forget. When we’re in a rush or not eating meals at regular times, Magoo will be sure to let me know he needs nourishment and I’ll throw him a PB&J while Laylee is off somewhere reading a book or plotting world domination.
I nurse the baby. I feed whoever’s around and asking for it. Then I move on. This Sunday I was awash with guilt and I really think it will help me do better in the future. I need to schedule regular snack times for Laylee. I need to sit with her and make sure she eats before she wanders off to work on some project. If Magoo is eating, I need to check in and see if Laylee’s hungry too. She’s 7, for goodness sake, not 17. She may seem really independent, but she still needs her mommy to take care of her.
It seems that most of my Mom Guilt comes from forgetfulness. I promised Magoo a playdate with a friend but repeatedly forgot to call the other mom and schedule it. I told the kids I’d give them allowance every week but sometimes I go months without remembering. Being forgetful is not something to feel guilty about but not recognizing your forgetfulness and creating a list or backup plan to help you remember so you repeatedly let your kids down is a big problem.
This week was Laylee’s turn to be the Classroom Superstar. Each week one of the kids is featured and each week Laylee talks about how she can’t wait until it’s her turn. So last week she came home with the packet for us to fill out. There was a poster and a request for pictures and other items for Laylee to show and tell. This was her week. And I forgot. She came home from school on Monday upset that she wasn’t prepared and adamant that we put together her project by Tuesday morning or she’d miss her week to be featured.
Really? 8 months into the school year with frequent reminders that it was coming and I completely forgot to do the project with her? She handled it pretty well and we spent Monday evening rushing to get it all together but I felt sad and guilty that I had let her down.
I have excuses for letting so many things slip. I’m busy. My smart phone with all the to-do lists and calendaring was stolen so I’m bouncing back and forth between different models trying to find one I like. I have a little baby, a sick little baby who’s just getting mobile for the first time and bashing her head into things and choking on Lego for fun. I am tired. But my kids won’t remember the excuses. They’ll remember whether I showed up for their school assemblies. They’ll remember the time they were starving at church because I forgot to get them lunch.
I need to do whatever it takes to remember to do these good things so they won’t have to remember the bad ones.