G is for Guilt

When the doctor hands you the teeniest human freshly removed from your hoo-hah, you immediately realize the incredible responsibility you are holding in your arms. You know exactly what to do.  You have read all the books, followed all the blogs, attended all the classes, and watched enough family rom-coms to let you be certain that there will be ups and downs, but overall, it’s all good.   Unfortunately you are cluelessly in the dark about how you don’t know anything about true parenting, how those same books will be covered in macaroni and crayon in two years or less, and how you actually picked up a super-sized bag o’ guilt when you agreed to personally cook (or adopt) and keep this harmless looking tidbit for life.

We have 3 tidbits of our own, and we learned long ago that sometimes they should really be called tidbeasts. To be clear, I love these beasties more than life itself.  More than cheesecake even.  Yes.  More than cheesecake.  They are my absolute most favorite things ever ever ever and are without doubt the best creations I ever was involved in – even better than the killer cupcakes I once made but can no longer have because I am now forcing myself to eat sadlad (No – it’s not a typo.  Salad just depresses me.).  Really – they are totes amazeballs yo (the kids and the cupcakes).

The issue I believe I am ultimately facing is this – I estimate that I require roughly 10 hours per day per kid to really do everything right by that little one, so that’s 30 hours in the day.  As I expect is the case in your own world, the universe miscalculated and erroneously agreed to allot me a mere 24 hours in total per day.  Consequently everyone gets the shaft.  It’s like my boob to hiney ratio.  I should have been given more boob to balance out the hiney, but that wasn’t the lingerie layout I was dealt.

I struggle to keep our lives on schedule every day. I work crazy hours, run errands constantly, take the kids to activities, and wash and wash and wash.  Seriously – what is it with the endless laundry?  It’s like gremlins, but you don’t even have to add water to multiply it.  How many items of clothing are these kids wearing, and why do they still reek of that outside kid smell despite the incessant baths and nineteen daily outfits they must be wearing?  Also why do kids feel the need to get strep at 4:30 on Friday afternoon in conjunction with every three-day weekend known to man?  Why children – why???

But once again – I love them. No really.  I totally do.  I cart them to sports they actually adore, I help them with projects, I make pancakes with chocolate chip smiley faces – the whole bit.  I also have a husband who is an amazing dad who does tons with them, for them, and for me.  Nevertheless is still it feels like we are on a hamster wheel, but unlike the hamster, I feel much less okay with the endless loop.  I want every bit of my life.  I just want a little extra sleep, too.  I try so incredibly hard to keep it all afloat, but it sometimes feels like the waves are coming over me.  I could probably handle it if those waves meant that I was getting a shower in the process, but no.  Those waves don’t work like that.

So earlier today I played “Which Activity to Knock Out from My Innumerable Task List” and tackling the kids’ end of school year notebooks won that round. My son’s stuff was relatively uneventful with a few beautiful exceptions of poetry and emotional contemplation pieces.  I see such potential for true greatness in him at times, and then two seconds later he will put his underwear on backwards, rub toothpaste on the mirror, and leave his fly down.  The greatness sentiment will briefly be put on pause, but it’s still there just the same.

I then went through my middle daughter’s school work, and this is where the steaming pile of guilt came barreling through my emotional doorway. I have always enjoyed working – well I enjoyed working normal hours – but my hours have been terrible for many months and my exhaustion has been stomping on our mornings and my corresponding ability to be patient (my version of patient is probably more like patient lite), supportive, and mostly upbeat.  Our before school happy mornings have been circling the drain for way too long.  Thank heavens summer is here at last.

My daughter’s daily morning routine at school began with a brief journaling session on her thoughts about her day.  At that point, her day had typically consisted of being forced out of bed before the sun even considered making an appearance, being chased around to get ready (despite every attempt on my part to prepare in advance, getting ready easily appears to be almost insurmountable in the kid world), and racing to school in hopes of not being late (again).  Thanks super much for that one Teach.  I have no doubt that other kids also spilled their family sagas in these morning dish sessions, but it still bites when you read it and the dish is aimed squarely at you.

Being the analytical girl that I am, I could opt to recognize that my name came up in a negative way in a statistically insignificant amount of journal entries. I could also remember that she never said that she hated me and that she talked about many happy moments.  But you see – the rational mom in me gets pimp-slapped out of the picture by the overwhelming mom guilt.  All the guilt allows me to see is the post about terrible screamy parent (In case you are asking which parent she meant, my hand is raised.) followed by a very detailed drawing of a fire-breathing dragon with the name MOM written on it.  There were other posts mentioning how I was mad at her or her brother or just generally grouchy, but that one in particular had a special ring to it.  It was fun with a big fat F and U pointing straight to me.

Most of this past school year’s mornings were relatively good.  Some were fantastic even.  I did lots of cool things with and for the kids.  I worked hard to give them a very good life.  I know all of this.  It just hurts my heart to see how I sent her to school feeling so upset and hurt on some of those days.  I don’t want her to remember me, our mornings, or our life like that.  I am a good mom most days, and a great mom on others.  Unfortunately, I also sometimes utterly stink at the job.

Naturally, I now see my own memories of stressful times growing up as a child with my parents through very different eyes. Being a parent isn’t as obvious and easy as it seems – not in the slightest.  There isn’t any book or blog or class that will tell you how to get it right every time.  I just hope that someday my kids will see all that I try to do for them with each moment that passes.  I want them to really see me, and I want them to know that I have always seen them, too.  They are always my blue behind the darkest of clouds.

So as always, I will keep trying, I will keep working to be better, and I will definitely keep taking caffeine.


Salads – Even Calories Don’t Want Any Part of Them

No veggies were harmed in the making of this photo, but that was only because nobody wanted to eat them.

Here’s the thing about salads – it seems to me that they suck. Nobody walks into Cupcake Corner and orders a Kale-nilla. Never. Yes I can appreciate a bowl of lettuce, tomato, egg, bacon, etc., but once you have all that together, you’re basically consuming a loose sandwich minus the bread.

I so dream of being the girl in the veggie section of the grocery store spinning around joyfully with arms extended as “The Hills Are Alive” plays over the loud speaker. Those people do exist.  I know some of them quite well.  Heidi – I’m talking to you.  (As much as I resent this woman’s sincere love of all things healthy, she looks fantastic – damn those fresh veggies – and she’s a darling and an amazing person – double damn – I can’t help but totally adore her!)

No need to schedule an intervention with the local garden co-op.  We are big fans of fruit. Those grow in the ground, too, so stick THAT in your organic quinoa.  Also I have sometimes been known to grow vegetables of my own just for fun.  Sadly that joy is gone as it now appears that one who grows these things is actually supposed to eat them as well.  Bleh – vile weeds!

However there is one thing that surpasses fresh veggies on my personal “Items I Utterly Disdain” list.  No. It’s not heart disease, but good guess anyway.  It’s something sinister and insipid and terrifyingly worse. That’s right. It’s the photo someone just took of you that you wished you never saw.  You know.  The one where you look pregnant​ when in fact your oven has been bunless for years.  The one that made you wrench the phone from their hands so you could delete it before anyone else saw it even  though those same people are seeing the real live you and already know what you look like. Ugh.

And that leaves me here.  Spending my hard-earned money and buying vegetables.  And these aren’t the kind of vegetables we normally get – the ones that hang out untouched in the fridge for so long that they actually sprout a whole new generation of vegetables before finding their standard final destination in the circular file. I will actually have to eat these new veggies.

There will be no arms out spinning in the store.  I refuse to be excited about my no calorie lettuce wedge with other no calorie vegetables and carbless joyless dressing.  Nevertheless I must make this move now.  I can no longer withstand the ever-present threat of an updated family photo that might be posted online or even worse – in an actual home until the end of time.  It looks like I’m going to have to call that vegaholic friend of mine for tips, and maybe while I attempt to change my body, I will also find a way to change my mind.

NOT!  Don’t even dream it fresh veggies.  You will never compete with my love for basically every other kind of food (including your beloved fried brethren).  But I guess you are going to be joining us more more often, so I’ll just have to deal.

This post is dedicated to all of you who enjoyed chips and queso today.  And it is now also un-dedicated to you same chips and queso people because now I want chips and queso but all I have is a damn salad.



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