Parenting: One Guilty Step At a Time by Nucking Futs Mama

Topic: Guilt

Guilt is defined as a feeling of “morbid self-remorse.” And as a parent, there’s certainly a whole lot of self-remorse going on every single day. Guilt is just something that runs through your body like blood flows through your veins.  There are very few moments where you don’t feel guilty about SOMETHING or other. You shouldn’t have yelled, you shouldn’t have tuned out those fifty thousand unanswerable questions, you should’ve sucked it up and played another damn game of Chutes and Ladders, you should’ve been there for that basketball game. It never ever ends.

I remember one specific time when my son might as well have just punched me right in the flippin’ gut. It had been one of those ridiculously crazy days of running carpools from here, there and everywhere, to cramming in homework, to slopping together some sort of hodge-podge excuse for a meal, to tackling the ever-growing mountain of laundry. I wanted nothing more than to either lie down on the sofa or to stick my head in the microwave. Put a fork in me cause I was D-O-N-E. But I’ll never forget my son looking up at me with those big puppy dog eyes and saying, “Mommy, you never play with us anymore.” Talk about a smack in the face.

I immediately felt like the absolute WORST mother in the world. Forget the fact that I’d just safely delivered both children to and from soccer and baseball and gymnastics and tap. Never mind that I’d just assisted with reading and spelling and addition and subtraction. Screw the fact that I’d just nourished their little bodies with the (somewhat) proper vitamins and nutrition that they needed to grow.  And never mind that I’d also somehow managed to wash out all the crap with which they’d stained all their clothes. None of this, however, changed the fact that in their eyes, I was not spending enough quality time with them.

Let me just tell ya, this realization stopped me dead in my tracks. Being a parent is about so much more than just steering the ship. Sure you’ve gotta deal with all the mundane parts of running a household, but kids are only kids for so long.  And before I know it, my little minions won’t WANT to hang out with me. There will come a time in the near distant future when they would surely rather be caught dead than to play another round of Uno with their boring old mom. Until then, I’ll just continue to go crazy trying to balance it all, one guilty step at a time.

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5 Responses to “Parenting: One Guilty Step At a Time by Nucking Futs Mama”
  1. Kimberly says:

    Ah, yes…the guilt thing. And I get it from all sides: my mother (who is classically trained in guilt giving having been a fire and brimstone Protestant as a child and a converted Catholic as an adult — only thing she’s missin’ is the Jewish variety, which she’ll probably never get because she’s now Buddhist…don’t ask) and my kids (I’m the single mom, you know, who has to do it all…and when I don’t…well, then I’m not like the other moms). And to be fair, I give most of my guilt to myself. Perfect? Yeah, I wanna be that.

  2. Brett says:

    AMEN!!! Thank you very much for the reminder! Great post. You eloquently summarized what I feel on a nearly daily basis. Thank you Jennifer!

  3. Great post, yes I understand those feelings. In fact, FUNNY, just last night my 7th grade daughter had a basketball game, Monday nights is when I play basketball with some friends so I selfishly chose to do that instead and Mom went to daughters game. When I got home, my daughter looks at me and says “Mr. ‘otherdad’ was at the game”, he being one of the dads that usually plays b-ball with us. I’m thinking, oh, here we go… Then she laughs and says, “I’m just kidding, Mom told me to say that” and they both laughed at my expense! I think kids eventually learn that there is a balance too, that Mom and Dad won’t be able to be there every minute, that they have a life and interests too, but that they will do their best to be there most of the time. You’re doing a great job if you can get it right 75% of the time, they’ll remember that, they hopefully won’t remember the other 25%!!

  4. BalancingMama (Julie) says:

    I really don’t like playing preschooler games. But I know how much it means to her. I force myself to put down the phone, step away from the computer, and give her undivided attention. But still, it’s never enough… And guilt comes right back.

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