Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's summertime and the mom is guilty...

Today is the last day of school. AC is quite excited, but me… not so much.

Oh, I’m glad for the break from the after school activities, the homework hustle, the pulling-a-grumpy-child-out-of-bed mornings, and the unscheduled trips to the school because AC forgot her lunchbox.

But I have a book that needs to be written (thank you Lovely Ed for the extension) and child-at-home is not good for my process. It’s not that she’s disturbing me (which she does sometimes. She likes to be fed on a regular basis), it’s the guilt I feel.

When she’s home, I feel like we should be doing things together. I want to spend time with my kid even though I know she’s perfectly happy to rewatch Harry Potter movies in her PJs on the couch all day and would rather do that most of the time. It doesn’t make me feel less bad about l letting her do that so I can work, though. Even though the work brings in money that buys the Harry Potter DVDs and the PJs.

Ah, Mom Guilt. It’s so much fun. A dual-edged, dammed-if-you-do, dammed-if-you-don’t reason to feel guilty for just about anything.

So I’m coming to a bit of an agreement with myself – and AC. A couple of hours in the morning for me to work and her to veg in front of the TV or her computer. Then, we’ll spend time together at the pool or something. Paint our nails, braid our hair, that kind of thing.

And I will then suffer Writer’s Guilt – that guilt that nags at you when you could be writing and aren’t (and gets worse the closer you get to deadline).

So, again, I’m caught between a rock and a hard place.

There are two words that will save me though… Sleep-Away Camp. Five whole days when I’ll have the house all to myself while DG is at work (strangely, I have no Wife Guilt ignoring him when he’s home and I need to work. And he can feed himself. And me, too.).

Or should I feel guilty for sending her to camp… sigh.


Maven Linda said...

Feel guilt free. Kids don't care if you're Doing Things with them. All they care about is if you're there.

On the other hand, my verification word is TOAST. So you're toast, regardless of what you do :-).

LA said...

The word of the day is BALANCE...even if you are a half bubble off plum! I think your idea of giving yourself a few hours in the morning to "work" and then spend some time with AC is a splendid plan. That also means you can spend another hour or two in the afternoon working if you're on a roll.

Playground Monitor said...

I think you have a good plan worked out for summer. And camp is a great experience for kids. They get to meet new people, do new things, learn to be a little more independent. Don't feel guilty about AC getting that experience.

You're thinking you should be Supermom, and let me assure you she's a myth and a legend. She ranks right up there with Big Foot and the Abominable Snowman.

Go back and read your blog post from last December 21st. Sometimes "good enough" is all we can be. And it's a heck of a lot better than the mother who beats her child because he/she spilled Grapico on the kitchen floor, the mother who feeds her child cookies all day because they whine for them and she won't make the effort to discipline them, the mother who just plain tunes her kids out 24/7 because she's high on something. You're a good mother SO STOP WITH THE GUILT!

Angel said...

Mmmm... the mom guilt is hard to let go of. But planning activities for the kids is one of the things I do to help out, for all the positive reasons listed by PM. I have to admit that I don't feel AS guilty about not doing things with the kids as the guilt I feel about other things, mostly because I think they are old enough to occupy themselves. And while THEY may be having summer vacation, life still rolls on for the rest of us.

This is a new experience for us, since I've only just started working outside the home. But even when I worked from home, I had a similar attitude, because the work still had to be done or I didn't get paid. But I do offset it with some summer activities like swimming some afternoons, going to the library, etc. And if they watch a lot of tv during the summer, well, they don't get to watch as much of it during the school year, so it balances itself out. :)


Problem Child said...

Yep, I'm doomed no matter what.

Counselor Shelley swears that the fact I'm even concerned about it automatically makes me a good mother (because a bad mother wouldn't think to care).

Now pardon me while I go grow organic veggies and knit...

Cheryl said...

I suffered the guilt trip when I was working and had to leave the little idiot with daycare. He turned out just fine. I did try to spend "quality time" with him and that is what he remembers. He *gasp* even told me the other day that he was lucky to have a mom who wanted to do things with him when he was little. BUT I remember sitting him in front of a video just so I could sit down for a moment. I may be scarred but he certainly isn't. So don't worry about it - enjoy your kid and yourself!!!

robertsonreads said...

No, you shouldn't feel guilty, it is the way it is. You cannot entertain all the time. Your child would get tired of it and you would too. Your plan sounds wonderful. I was a divorced mom and during the summer my son understood that I had to work but on the weekends we would do special things. Trust me, that young man is fine.

Anonymous said...

Probably the only thing I don't feel guilty about is the one thing I'm "supposed" to feel guilty about. I parked PC in front of the TV for several hours a day! She watched Sesame Street, The Electric Company and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

She has always read several years above grade level and is a kind and decent human being. Okay, so I also made fortune cookies, Baked Alaska, and did many other activities with her. Activities that made me feel guilty, like not putting a proper zipper in a ballet costume.

I think, as mothers, we can only do the best we can with what we have at any given time or situation. As long as it is done with love, that is what nurtures a child.

I keep telling myself the above paragraph is true. Maybe some day I'll believe me.

PC's Mom

Problem Child said...

Ah, but the lesson Mom, is not to put a zipper in a tutu at all.

Still makes for a good story, though!

Christine said...

I have had my child home since the middle of April due to her mono. She's only been to school to take tests and finals and APs. I have spent countless hours in doctor offices with her and urgent care centers. Meanwhile, DH is busier than ever with his work and travel. Writing is important, and I always meet my imaginary deadlines, but my family will always be #1 for me as those relationships are eternal. That being said, they are more than supportive of my need to hideout in my lair to write when bigger, real deadlines approach. And for that I am extremely lucky.

Good luck getting it all done.