mom guilt and vegas

I feel like I have a different kind of mom guilt these days.

My husband and I were in Vegas a couple of weeks ago.  We went back and forth between going Fri-Sat or Sat-Mon.  A lot of things factored into where we ended up (Fri-Sun); a work presentation I had to make on Monday, coordinating with my sister’s flights, and childcare since this was a kid-free getaway. One of the things we considered doing if we stayed through to Monday was the Route 91 festival, since I am a huge country music fan and it would have been a dream come true.

So we ended up coming home Sunday night. And we all know what happened late that night, when hubby and I and most people in the country were tucked safely into bed.

In the midst of this horrific event we are all still processing, I’ve been reading the stories of the helpers. The heroes.  And I’ve been feeling a tremendous amount of what I’ll call “mom guilt” because I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s not the typical feeling I get of sometimes wishing I could do better for my kids (have seen a fall coming) or of wondering if I’m doing the right thing being a working mom. I mean that I think I would have run if I was there so that I could make it home to my kids.

That hit me hard. All of these people, these helpers, that stopped to shield other people or get them to safety…they all have families and many had kids. And who knows, maybe I would have done the same thing. But when I saw those people running, I felt like I would have been one of them. And it makes me feel like I need to do some soul searching and as cheesy as it sounds, become a stronger person. That if I had run instead of stopped to help, it would be selfish.

I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s something that I’m constantly thinking about. Some have told me “no, knowing you, you would have stopped immediately if someone needed help.” But the truth is, in the moment, would I have? Or would I have gone into self-preservation mode picturing my kids waiting for me back home?

I hope I never have to make that choice. But watching the story on the news unfold over and over again, and feeling that it hit so close to home for many reasons, has really made me think.

my time

I always stay up WAY too late. My husband is constantly telling me, “you need to get to bed early today. You’re so tired…don’t stay up to late tonight!” But the reality is, I need it. The time, the quiet, the wind-down. My kids are usually out by 8.30 each night. Then my husband and I sometimes eat if we didn’t eat with the kids (a few times a week, this is our way of having mid-week date nights; we put on a movie or a show and eat at our own pace, and talk). Then, it’s time to pick up the house, pack lunches, fold laundry, the usual.

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By the time ALL of that is done, it’s about 10. After that, you’ll find me in the bedroom, either sitting in bed with my laptop (like I am now) or sitting in my favorite chair. I usually don’t go to sleep until about 11.30 or midnight…and my alarm goes off around 6.20.

I wouldn’t trade it.  I know I’m probably getting an hour less of sleep each night. But without that time…without a few quiet minutes (or an hour) to myself, I don’t get a chance to just be ME.  Not mama, not a wife – just ME.

And isn’t that an important part of being whole? I LOVE my role. I love waking up every Saturday and making homemade pancakes or waffles for the family. Love taking my kids to their weekend activities. To birthday parties. To visit relatives.  But we all know that taking time for ourselves is critical to being our best selves. Yes, I do things for myself outside the home – an occasional girls night, mani pedis, etc. But the 60-90 minutes of sleep I may sacrifice recharges my batteries every day.

So yeah I may be a little tired the next morning. But, I know it also means I’m my best self.

 

Doing nothing 


That is what we will be doing this weekend. 
Well, other than one single swim class (that’s a non-negotiable skill for me, S goes every Sunday and C will be starting his baby classes soon). I am suddenly very conscious that we have but a few weekends left in the summer – and I’ve decided I’m not scheduling anything. 

So this weekend you will find us just relaxing. Maybe out back, maybe inside playing Monopoly Jr., but we aren’t going to be committing to anything other than unstructured time. 

I see my kids so free and happy, and I know before long there will be homework, stress about school and friends, and pressure to be the best they can. For now, I just want them both to run through the grass barefoot all day. 

Doing anything. Or nothing at all. 

shimmer on the water

Shimmer…

Today’s post of the day was actually perfect for me. We just got back from a vacation at the beach in Saugatuck.  I can still remember the way the water at the beach looked…and at the way my kids stared at it. We had a beautiful, sunny day – and the sun just seemed to dance on the moving water.

It was lovely…and a great memory.  I haven’t had a chance to download my pictures yet – but i’m hoping I was somehow able to capture a good one.

I miss my kids when they’re sleeping

Is that weird?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. The quiet is nice sometimes. At the end of a long day, on a quiet morning like this when hubby and S are still sleeping and little C has had his milk and is playing in his crib for a few. 

I stepped out back just to enjoy my cup of coffee with the morning sun and before the neighborhood started bustling with activity.  My kids’ swingset sat all quiet, like something was missing. Like it missed something too. 

I get that feeling at night when I’m picking up the house after they’re in bed….their little toys, their little shoes, all the things they hold and touch and wear. And I miss them. 

But for now, knowing I have about 5 minutes to finish my coffee before my oldest comes down the stairs and asks for our Saturday bacon and pancakes tradition…I’ll breathe in the quiet. 🙂

my daughter was the mean girl today

So my daughter was the mean girl at the park today.

We had a playdate at the park with some friends. In fact, their whole family came, and our whole family went. It was a day I was looking forward to – it’s hard for me to take both kids to this particular park due to size and their ages – so since my husband was off work, it worked out perfectly.  When I told my daughter S that we were going to be meeting her friend L for a playdate, the first thing she said was “I don’t want to play with her.”

The two girls are a year apart – mine almost 5, L is almost 6. During every playdate, they have a great time. They always fight. They always cry when it’s time to go home. It’s a love-hate sort of friendship, I think.  My daughter behaves a little differently with L than she does with other friends, but I am noticing a trend. She is becoming very conscious of girls that are older than her (never boys) that know more, can do more, are taller, are older.  And suddenly over the last few months it upsets her very much.

So today, when L came up to me and said “S doesn’t want to go on the swings” I walked over to my daughter and found a pouting little one. She said “I don’t want to play with her. I just want to play by myself.” I tried explaining that we were only here for a little while, and the purpose of coming was to play together. That’s when she ran off and I figured I’d give her some time.

About 10 minutes, later, her friend L came up to me again. “S said that she’s not my friend and that she won’t be inviting me to her birthday party and that she’s not coming to mine.” Except this time she started crying. I walked back over to my daughter who was still in a crabby mood.  “S, we don’t say things like that to people. It hurts their feelings. It dips into their bucket. And, it’s mean.

I don’t care.” said my stubborn child.  I was SO embarrassed.  And sad for her friend, who I don’t think has ever said anything mean to my child. My kiddo was just being a rude, selfish, mean girl. Every time L would try to play with her, I could tell she would tell her to go away.

Then, when it was time to go, my lovely little girl said to L “I don’t care if we never play together again.” to which L started bawling. This was as we were walking to our cars, with me apologizing for my daughter’s behavior. I mean, what mom would EVER bring her daughter to a playdate if it was with my child, if she had this attitude? I certainly wouldn’t look forward to putting my kid in that position.

What shocked me was the lack of empathy in my daughter today. My daughter, the one who sets aside clothes and toys for donation “for the kids that don’t have any mama.” My daughter, the one who has herself sobbed when she has felt left out. Even during the short car ride home, I told her how disappointed I was in her behavior.  That we don’t treat other people that way.  She just plain didn’t care.

I’m really, really hoping this is a phase that passes. Because up until now, I was always so worried about how my daughter felt when other kids made her sad. I didn’t really focus on the fact that it could be my child that was doing the hurting.  But, I am laser focused on it now. I’m still thinking about how to talk to her about it again tomorrow. We did call L and apologize when we got home, but that’s definitely not enough.  Ugh.

to grandmother’s house we go

Today we visited grandma for the first time in about a year.  We see her at our house about two to three times a month – she comes to help watch the kids on an occasional Monday when my husband and I both have to work. But, it had been about a year since we made the trip to see her at her house (about an hour away).

Truth be told, she was a little irritated that it took us so long. But every time I thought about packing up everything little man would need (bottles, pack ‘n play, sound machine, portable high chair, etc.) just for a day I always felt like it wasn’t worth it since we saw her a few times a month already. So now that my son is down to one nap a day, he’s 16 months old and doesn’t need that much “stuff” – we packed up a few things and went for the day.

And I’m so glad we did. My almost 5 year old LOVED seeing Grandma’s house.  She remembered quite a bit from last year – the backyard, the tomato plants, the garden, Grandma’s room, etc. But there was also a lot she rediscovered. My husband’s toys from when she was little, for example. And the lemonade popsicles Grandma keeps in her freezer for her.  My son just had fun running around her house and backyard.

I realized that we need to do this more often. Seeing the joy on my mother-in-laws face, having both her kids at HER house was clearly so meaningful to her. And, I know that she won’t be around forever. And for all the times she drives down to our house to spend time with my kids – we should be able to make the effort to go see her where she is most comfortable – her home. Especially since she is a widow (although my brother-in-law moved back in with her…that’s a story for another day!).  The company is a nice change for her.

I feel like we thoroughly enjoyed our day. On the way home my daughter said she can’t wait to go back to Grandma’s house. I have such fond memories of my grandparents’ homes – I would love my kids to have the same. So I plan to make that happen for them! I’m committing to get them up there more often, so that they can look back and have the same kinds of memories I do of my youth.

It was a great day!