Last week a friend called me from her tropical vacation. “I’m on the beach right now,” she said over the sound of waves, adding “I even slept until 9:00 today.” “Wow, I’m jealous,” I said. “I think I had mom guilt 20 times by 9 a.m.!” We both laughed, but I wasn’t kidding. I seriously had mom guilt at least 20 times by 9 a.m. It’s easy to feel bad about how you do things when you’re responsible for someone else’s life and well-being. So how did I get to 20 times by 9 am? Here’s how:
I woke up two minutes before my alarm to my kids fighting and yelling over who would wake me with a kiss, so I started my day by shouting “All of you get out.” And then I felt bad (#1). When my son requested an omelet with toast, I said “Sorry buddy, on school days it’s either poured or defrosted.” He settled for frozen waffles (with high fructose corn syrup: #2). Time is crunched on weekday mornings, but who denies their kid a fresh breakfast? (#3) Then another son complained about the outfit he approved the night before. I made him wear it anyway, and he cried. I surely made him doubt his ability to make his own decisions (#4) and then forced him to spend his day wearing something he hated (#5). Then I heated everyone’s frozen waffles in the microwave (the safer moms use the oven: #6) on plastic plates (BPA free, but I still heated plastic: #7). While preparing their lunches I noticed one child drop half of a waffle onto the floor. He picked it up and ate it. I should have stopped him and made a fresh one, but I didn’t. (#8). The kids started fighting over something dumb and I yelled at them to stop instead of calmly talking it through (#9), and when they kept fighting I made an empty threat (#10) and I let a little curse slip out (#11). With the few minutes I had for some coffee, I wanted a little silence so I turned on “Sponge Bob” instead of encouraging them to play (#12). I started getting peppered with silly questions about why straws don’t bend and if Grandpa’s boo-boo still hurt. I told them to stop asking me questions (I’m so mean: #13) and one son responded that I just don’t care about Grandpa (#14).
When it was time to leave for school, I told them all to find their jackets. My daughter couldn’t find hers so I asked if she brought it home from her friend’s house. She said she couldn’t remember, so I chided her for being irresponsible. Then I remembered I put it in the wash (#15).
We piled into the minivan and I noticed how messy it was. How embarrassing for my kids that I carpool their friends in this thing. (#16). On the way to school I asked them what they wanted for dinner so I’d know what to buy at the store. Then I felt bad that their day had just started and already I fast-forwarded to the end (#17). I gave them some options and they chose ridiculous things that were not on the list of options. So I yelled again (#18). We finally all settled on chicken nuggets and pasta (such a cop out: #19). As we idled on the carpool line, I noticed other parents lovingly walking their kids to the school door. But I chose carpool (#20) since technically my clothes were pajamas.
So that’s how I got to 20. But I think I’ve figured out a solution to so the problem, a way for me to avoid feeling guilty all morning.
I just have to start sleeping past 9.