Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Guilt.

There are days when I think this whole mommy thing is for the birds. Today is one of them.

I have told you all that I question my decisions every day. I struggle with guilt. Am I doing this right? Am I making the right decision? Am I too hard on them? Not hard enough? Am I permanently screwing them up because I work? Because I don't force feed them vegetables? Because I allow them to watch Sponge Bob and play video games?

Mornings are crazy around here. I have to get myself ready, get them ready, get them out the door, drop them off at two different places and then get to work. All on time. And I know I am preaching to the choir. Many of you do this every day as well with less support than I have. So humor me in my misery for a minute. Because right now it's all about me. Mmmkay?

So this morning I am barking orders, Get your shoes on! Get in here so I can comb your hair! Get your backpacks together! Where are my keys???

Half way to school Mac realized he forgot his lunch, left it sitting on the counter.

"That's okay, just buy something at school," I told him.
"It's Mac & Cheese," he complained.
"I hate the school mac & cheese. It's disgusting and makes everyone barf."
"Who barfed?" I asked.
"Lots of kids," he replied.
"Whatever," I say waving my hand at him.
"It's true mom," Junior said. "The nurse's office is packed on mac & cheese day."

I looked at Mac in my rear view mirror. His big pouty brown eyes. His sad little face.

"Mac. I don't have time to go back home and get you your lunch. You're going to be late."
"Can't you drop us off and go back?" he pleaded.
"No. I need to get Boo to school, too. I am sorry, you shouldn't have left it on the counter."

I gripped the steering wheel the rest of the way to school, grinding my teeth. Feeling guilty about this poor kid eating vomit inducing mac & cheese. I dropped them off and watched him walk toward his class, his shoulders slumped forward, his head down in defeat.

He was killing me.

Of course I drove back home. Of course I took his lunch into the front office and begged the receptionist to run it to the class because I didn't have time. Of course I drove through town at illegal speeds to get my daughter to school on time. And of course I was 10 minutes late to work as a result of making sure my kid had a lunch he would enjoy. And of course I didn't care. I was happy my son would be happy.

Which brings us to dinner. I made chicken in the crockpot, shredded it up and added some barbecue sauce, put it on an onion roll - boom! Dinner.

Mac refused to eat it. I made him taste the chicken. There was some face making. Some coughing. A little gagging. And I said enough is enough. I refused to make him something else. I am tired of being a short order cook. I am tired. I have stuff to do. I can't be spending my evening cooking 5 different things for 5 different people. No way. I am done.

The kid made himself a sandwich.

And yet.... I still feel guilty. Even though I know I did the right thing.

And it pisses me off. It pisses me off that this kid will remember I refused to make him something else for dinner, but will totally forget I went out of my way to make sure he got his lunch.

In my next life, no kids. Not even a pet. Or a plant. Little brat.


Gladys said...

You will be fine and he will remember he was a brat.

My kids ate what I cooked or they ate a sandwhich. That was the rule that is what both Kahuna and I stuck to. One night the little one had gone to bed without eating because she wouldn't eat what I cooked and she didn't want a sand which. She wanted Chicken McNuggets. (We didnt' eat at McDonalds--EVER) She was lying in bed and as my daddy, who was staying with us went by her bedroom on his way to bed heard "Drandad, can I have some Ro-Ros" Guess who I caught in the kitchen at 10 pm eating Cheerios. Yeup the little caniver and her Drandad. :) It is one of her BEST memories.

Becky said...

I couldn't help but stop and leave a little comment, after reading the title of your blog. I just want to say that you sound exactly like me. Always feeling guilty for possibly not being a good mom. I just finished reading a great book by Susan Carrell, (a Professional Counselor, and previously an Episcopal Chaplain), titled "Escaping Toxic Guilt." This book really helped me figure out where these feelings of guilt were coming from and how to work through them- I figured out that I just had too much on my plate and felt guilty about not being able to do everything. Good luck!

Kristi said...

I have days exactly like that! And OMG the restaurantness of our house is getting SO out of hand. Of course, I flip out and make everyone eat ONLY what I cook for a few days (torture to ONE AND ALL because I'm a vegetarian) and then go right f-ing back to the short-ordering! What is wrong with us?! Guilt - she is a powerfully bitchy mistress, and a perfect mother.

Coffee Bean said...

After an unfortunate episode involving some split pea soup, we did not ever make our kids eat anything. But... we also did not make them anything different. There were times when there was crying and/or whining. However, our friends and family were amazed by what all our kids would eat. When they got old enough to fix themselves something else to eat if they really did not like what we were having we didn't care.

DevilsHeaven said...

This was the same in our house. If you didn't like it, you could make yourself a sandwich instead, otherwise, so sad, too bad. I think it makes fine sense, and my mom was a stay at home mom, and upheld this rule, so let the guilt slide.
And seriously, if that many kids are getting sick from the mac & cheese, 1) why are they still serving it? 2)shouldn't the parents complain?

for a different kind of girl said...

All I can say is I understand. So often I sometimes wonder if I've woken up and am repeating the same day I just had, like some alternate universe.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

Don't feel guilty. Unless CPS is knocking on your door you are doing fine. They can always go to therapy later ;O)

Chris H said...

I've had 8 kids... I can RELATE to this post sooooo much! I too am not having any living things in my next life... except the man!

Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead said...

I'm so over the mommy guilt. I hate questioning my decisions and feeling judged (somedays by Mike, others by strangers at the grocery store) - like being a mom isn't hard enough as it is.

And my kids aren't even TRULY at the manipulative age yet!!! I'm sending them to boarding school...let the employees there deal with the guilt...

Karen R said...

April, why are you hell bent on being all things to all people? Get Uberman to help in the evening by making sure the kids clothes are out, lunches are made, etc. Get as much done the night before so that mornings aren't crazy. I go through a routine in the morning - glasses? phones? badge? Maybe write something visual by the door as you head out - backpack? lunch? school papers? Whatever. As for dinner, your friend Gladys is right on. No, he won't remember that you didn't jump up and fix him what he wanted. Announce tonight - new rule - either eat what is served or make yourself a sandwich or a bowl of cereal. And then clean up after yourself! Or don't eat. That's what my mom (who had 6 of us) did. And did I think she was a bad mom? Heck no. I thought all moms did that! And you know something else? You're one of the best moms, friends and I'm sure wife of anyone I know. You're borderline perfection, so stop beating yourself up, or I'll make a trip over and do it for you.

Bogart in P Towne said...

My pops drove me to school w/o my shoes...finally he relented and drove me home to get some.

It stuck with me. I don't leave home barefoot.

kristen s said...

April, I SO feel your pain. The coughing and gagging when trying a new food is my favorite. My kids actually start doing it BEFORE it's even hit their lips! I used to do the exact same thing to my mom, and she would refuse to make me anything else. Fast forward to ME being the mom, and I thought, "I'm gonna be the BEST mom ever. If my kids don't like something, I'm not going to make them eat it like my mean parents did. I'll just make them something else!"... BAD IDEA. I am now a short order cook who usually eats her own dinner COLD because it has to sit while I make 3 to 4 different meals. I have no one to blame but myself. It's #1 on my list of mom things I would do-over if I could.

What sucks so bad is that when my kids are grown, they are probably going to do things like my mom did. They're going to look back, think of me making 4 different meals, and say "No way am I doing THAT... My mom was nucking futs!" *SIGH*

Oh, and Mac probably won't remember you making him fend for his own dinner on BBQ chicken sandwich night when he's an adult -- but he WILL remember when he's a teenager, and will rub it in your face if he thinks there's any chance at all that it will make you feel guilty. Buckle up.

(ha ha.. my word verification is "exturd" .. I don't know why I find that so amusing, but I'm cracking up!)

Julie said...

Trust me, he WILL remember it. I remember that my mother called every McDonalds in the city of Phoenix to find the last collector cup in a series that I wanted as a kid. I remember all the little things she did every day to tell me she loved me.

When they grow up they will remember the mom that went back to get them lunch, or the mom that ran to Subway at 8:45pm at night to get them a sandwich for their field trip the next day.