A Complex Thought about Being a Mom
This morning, Isaac said to me, "Mom, I'm like a squirrel." He was eating a waffle (his new Saturday breakfast food of choice) in that way kids do when they pucker all their fingers together close to their mouths and do that half-kiss / half-chew-click-nibble thing.
I didn't think to insist that he use a fork to avoid sticky fingers. The thought that occurred to me instead, after more than a year of him being at home, and coming to us with zero English at age 2 1/2 — was simply this: he had made a similie.
I wanted to shout to the rooftops, "My SON MADE A SIMILIE!" I was at the height of joy.
Crazy part is, just thirty minutes prior, I was in a bit of a depressive hole (albeit a shallow one). It would be a long weekend, I decided. Jason would be away all day tomorrow working. Swimming was today, so I'd have to miss my Saturday yoga class. (And friends, this is a big deal because Yoga keeps me out of the whisky.) The husband was giving me the stinkeye about wanting to get a pedicure. Guilt was high. Momentary life satisfaction was low.
How, in an hour's time, can we go through such wild mood swings?
Such is the life of a mother.
It's so crazy, isn't it? I remember ten years ago having a conversation with a co-worker (also a parent of a toddler boy at the time) about how it was, being a mom. Her answer? "There's a lot of guilt."
I had no idea what she meant by that. I couldn't fathom feeling guilt over simply going through the day-to-day routine with a child. Yet, this thing we call "Mom Guilt" seems to bubble, always just below the surface of things. I would contend that it doesn't matter what sort of path you choose (Daycare or full-time caregiver? Hot or cold lunch? Should you travel with or without your kids? And what about that smoothie and potato chip dinner [baked, not fried, ok?] you just gave your __________ [son / daughter] while running after-work errands at the mall?)
OK, maybe that last one is just me.
In any case, I often ask my husband about this. He's just as in-it-to-win-it on the parenting front as I am, and I often feel like he's actually better at it. He always reassures me that I'm doing great, and that Isaac is growing up well. He seems imbued with a kind of quiet parental confidence I just simply wasn't born with. And I hate to draw gender lines here, but I do feel like this is more of a thing for women — or at least a complex feeling women are more "ok" with articulating openly.
The thing is, most days, I'm pretty satisfied with my ability to parent. But the demon always knocks, and what am I to do with it? Is it real, or just a figment of my imagination? (Figment, probably.) But why, in this modern age, do we still feel so bad about being good parents sometimes?
I guess I'll just keep rolling with the ups and downs in the farfetched hope that someday, someone, somewhere, will find some sort of scientific link between motherhood and guilt. But until then, I guess I'll keep on keepin' on (spurred on by Yoga and a little bit of good whisky).
Do you ever experience "Mom Guilt?" Tell me about it in the comments!