Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mommy Guilt: Widowed or Not

Guilt. Mommy guilt. Daddy died guilt. Always the guilt.

Each morning, at 6 AM, Julian, 2, calls out, "Ma Ma. Ma Ma? Ma Ma," and the race begins.

Ugh! I shouldn't have stayed up so late.

Four kids, like newly hatched spiders, crawl up my skin. They nip at my arms, my shoulders, my feet, and I want to flick them off. I want five minutes, just five freaking minutes, to make my coffee, before I get them ready for school.

"Clothes on, hair brushed, then come to the table for breakfast," I command, but they continue to swarm, completely ignoring my orders.

"Ewwwwwww!" Tatiana, 8, screams, as she holds her Hello Kitty toothbrush an inch from my swollen brown eyes.

"Tati, WHAT are you doing?"

"Mommy, Juju just put my toothbrush in the toilet!"

"OK, well, use a different one. Come on, Tat, we're already running late!"

"But he used it, Mommy. Right after he put it in the toilet. JuJu brushed his teeth with poo-poo water."

Fine. Great. Worse things have happened.

I'm trying to finish writing my book, DROP DEAD LIFE, the journey to love after my 29-year-old husband's death. Struggling to make some money in my children's photography business. AND be a good wife. A connected mother. A compassionate friend. But there is this guilt. This mommy guilt.

Back to the lunches, Hyla.

My dry, dehydrated hands move quickly from one lunchbox to the next, conscious of each child's preferences. One dinosaur pack, one "High School Musical", one purple "Girls Rule," one 12-year-old's eye-roll-inducing brown paper snack bag.

And, just as I zip up "Girls Rule," Keira, 6, kicks her foot against the wall. "But, Mommmmmy! I've already told yooouu!! I don't like turkey, or cheese, or peanut butter, or pasta, or vegetables!"

"Keira, really, what else is there?"

"Sweets. Only pack me things that are sweet."

As if I will ship her off with a pan of brownies. Seriously?

Why can't they just be grateful for what I give them? Don't they know that I was an actual person before I had kids?

Then, of course, when they hear my husband's footsteps on the stairs, the kids fall in line like obedient soldiers.

"You making it easy on Mommy?" Evan doesn't yell, he doesn't lose his patience, and he certainly NEVER raises a hand at any of them, but they listen. They do not suck the energy out of him because he feels no guilt over his requests.

So, what is the point of this guilt? This mommy guilt. Why do I let it drain me? Why can't I just accept the fact that I am only one person?

This need to overcompensate for my own unhappy childhood is certainly not a benefit to my kids.


  1. I am also always wishing for 5 more minutes to myself when my children wake me up in the morning. They are older now... 5 and almost-4... at least old enough not to kill themselves without constant supervision. So I watch myself go in at 6:00 a.m. and pop in the DVD of their choice then shuffle back down the hall to bury my head in my pillow. The guilty haunting voice in my head reminds me of my ideal world progressive beliefs: "Kill your television." There is now even one more voice in my head, my husband who died 14 1/2 months ago, and I hear him saying inside my own head: "just get up! take them to the park! make a special weekend breakfast!"

    Isn't my own self-inflicted guilt enough? Why do I also imagine my husband's spirit approving or disapproving of everything I do to survive single-widowed-motherhood.

  2. WOW! I have only one sweet, yet ever so demanding child and I FEEL every word of this post. When did it start? By offering more than one option for breakfast or lunch? Cereal, oatmeal or scrambled eggs? No, pancakes today (with the ever so sweet "please" thrown in on some days). Really? You are lucky you have a choice! However in the endeavor to be the mom he ALWAYS want to come home to (now or 30 years from now), pancakes it is! Hopefully there is still time to make MY latte!
    But, as you know, the hugs, kisses, and completely random "Mom, I love you"s make it all worth while. That and a margarita!
    PS - Happy to have new posts to read!! You hard work on focusing on your family and your book will pay off (hopefully sooner rather than later :-) )

  3. Thanks for that. Good read, and that's coming from a person who has sworn to never have children.

    Oh, and that picture of, I think, your son is EXACTLY what I look like in my mind when I wake up every morning... exactly.

  4. Friend,
    That's the thing, isn't it? Healing enough to go back to who we were before. And then finding out that THAT person was injured, too.
    It's okay, and it's going to be okay.

  5. Thanks for the comments, everyone!!!!'s all going to be Okay!! xxoxox


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