Hello, awesome readers.
Before we dig into this post, I need you to lend me your imagination for a minute (or two, depending on how fast you read).
You’ve accepted a newly invented position in the world of pretend jobs and your title is Chief Word Herder (CWH). It’s your first day and you’re getting settled. Your desk is next to a window overlooking a park, which makes you think of your kids.
“Focus,” you tell yourself. “A job is a good thing because bills and food and new shoes for the kids every four months …”
You’re not exactly sure what your responsibilities are but hey, Chief Word Herder? How hard can that be?
Suddenly your new boss walks by with your first assignment.
“Find a flavor that relates to the word guilt,” she says.
“Hmmmmm … give guilt a flavor,” you think. “Easy peasy lemon squeezy.”
You grab a pen and start listing whatever pops in your head. Sweet … sour … spicy … chicken wings … spaghetti …
Suddenly your mind stops in its tracks as it comes face to face with an avalanche of memories.
The morning you dropped your daughter off at the daycare, knowing she wasn’t feeling well.
The time you yelled at your son for no other reason than your own tired frustration while he took forever to put on his shoes.
The evening you resented your kids for having SO MUCH HOMEWORK.
That’s when it hits you. You know exactly what guilt tastes like. It’s a cutting mixture of sour milk and dandelions. You swallow and realize that the flavor sticks to the back of your throat like wall paper glue. You wonder if “heavy heart” is a food group.
Something happens when we become mothers. We develop a sixth sense. Oh we may “know” when our kids need us (even when they’re in another room), but I’m not talking about “a mother’s intuition”. Nope. I’m talking about that nagging sixth sense that settles deep within our core and wraps itself around our juicy hearts like a boa constrictor around its unwary prey. I’m talking about a mother’s sense of guilt.
Ironically, this sixth sense is usually paired with words that rhyme with “motherhood”.
Words like could, should, and would.
It’s Friday night. I COULD let the kids stay up an extra half hour … Ah but it’s been a long week and I just want to go to bed and read.
I SHOULD make a balanced meal tonight … But it’s already late and besides, doesn’t frozen pizza have all the food groups?
I WOULD have sent the kids to school wearing their Halloween costumes this morning … But apparently I forgot to read the damn school bulletin last week.
Admittedly, we all want the best for our kids. We’re raising them alone but still strive to provide a family atmosphere. And I’m certain you’ll agree, dear readers, when I say that we try. Oh how we try.
But let’s be honest with ourselves: when we’re wearing all the hats (and pants), life becomes a game of juggling AND OMG ALL THE THINGS NEVER STOP.
Alone, we manage everything. From the budget (pffft. What budget?) to household chores, the job, and everything going on inside our heads. We even manage our emotions. The happy, the sad, the bewilderment, the fears. Alone, we keep all in check with a constant self-reminder to practice patience.
Deep down we’re aware that our “family unit” is only as strong as we are. Some days we’re the pillar, so sturdy and resilient. It takes a special kind of strength to make light of the milk that gets spilled across the table at the end of a long day. “It’s okay,” we say as we jump up to get the dish cloth. “It was an accident.”
Other days being the pillar of strength feels more like the post that gets peed on by every dog in the neighborhood. Sometimes it even feels like life Herself is peeing on us every chance She gets. (The bitch.)
That glass of milk that just got spilled across the table (AGAIN!)? It’s not okay. Not today!
Oops and there it is. The guilt.
Click here to continue reading the second post of this series.
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