Do we all deal with it?
I don’t mean just mothers. Or parents. I mean everyone. Does everyone feel a little bit of guilt at all the things they aren’t doing?
I picked up T on Tuesday night from his friend’s house. I’d worked a 9-hour day and then sat through a 3-hour class on WordPress. I hadn’t seen him since I dropped him off at school that morning. He regaled me with stories from his day. He’d gone on his very first field trip (to the pumpkin patch) and then got to go home with his very best friend. What could be better?
Then I had to remind him that Wednesday I would be picking him up from school, but then I’d be taking him to my friend’s house so I could attend the second night of class.
He broke down into tears. Gut-wrenching sobs because he felt we weren’t spending enough time together. Because I was abandoning him with other people so I could be away from him.
We’ve had this happen before. And it never gets easier. For either of us.
It’s bad enough that I don’t get to be one of those parents that get to chaperone the field trips. I don’t get to go to the class once a week to help out, or teach a new skill. I don’t even give myself time to sit down and have breakfast with my son in the morning.
One of T’s biggest complaints about the week, is that there are not equal parts school days and stay-at-home days (weekends). He loves school, but he doesn’t love being away from me for five days (because I obviously don’t make the few hours we do have on those days awesome enough). He doesn’t understand why he has to go to school five days a week, why I have to go to work five days a week, and why we only get two days for just us.
And I don’t have an answer.
I don’t want this to be our lives together. I hate that I might be missing out. He might not always want to be my best friend. I’m missing out, and I can’t find a way to stop myself from feeling guilty about it.
I want to work full-time. I like this job. I want to keep editing. I want to finish a novel. I want to keep writing and blogging. I want to keep going to school. I want to attend literary events. And, above all, I want to enjoy being my son’s mother. I know that nobody really “does it all”. There is always something that has to give. But how do I make sure that it’s not my child that’s what’s getting left behind?