As if motherhood doesn’t come with enough self inflicted guilt..
Level one on the Guilt Barometer
This morning we were in the car on our way to work and school. Everyone was quiet, lost in their own thoughts about the upcoming day, when Liam piped up “where’s my school bag?” I looked at the husband, he looked at me and I got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach – neither of us had packed it in. I blamed Liam, telling him he is old enough to remember to pack his own bag in and Mommy has a lot of other things to remember in the morning, and why can’t he remember just one simple thing like his bag. Of course, it’s not Liam’s fault, it’s my fault. I always pack the bag because I’m the one who likes to check it every morning; make sure his extra set of clothes, his tissues and any homework or signed forms are packed in. I don’t even like the husband to do this because I’m a crazy control freak and I like to make sure that his bag is all good. Hence, I made the bag my responsibility, hence this is my fault. And although it shouldn’t be too big a deal because the odds of him actually needing a change of clothes or some tissues are slim, he still doesn’t have a school bag today. Which kid goes to school without their bag! The kid with the loser Mom. I felt bad, really bad. FAIL.
Level two on the Guilt Barometer
As we pulled into the school yard, and my eyes caught sight of the notice board, that sinking icky feeling came over me again. I know exactly what that notice board says because I read it yesterday, I made a mental note when I read it yesterday. But apparently my mental notes are not worth the mentality they are remembered in. The notice board clearly states: DON’T FORGET SCHOOL PHOTOS ON THURSDAY 12 APRIL. Then it says something cute about brushing your teeth and hair and looking smart… blah blah. I FORGOT. Today Liam is wearing a stained red track pants, he is wearing is worn sneakers and an orange long sleeved t-shirt which is stretched at the neck and which has some corny saying along the lines of “I make mess best” or something like that. His hair is long and unruly because he is in desperate need of a haircut and there may or may not be leftover sleep gunk still in his eyes and dry patches on his face because I couldn’t find the lotion after I washed his face this morning. Sigh… For those of you who have been reading for a while, you will remember this post, where I went on and on about school photos and how important they are to me. I am so upset and feel so guilty for ruining my kid’s school photo. FAIL.
Level three on the Guilt Barometer
We rush in and I hurriedly explain to Teacher what a bad mother I am. Teacher is done up with makeup and her good clothes, the few kids who are there already are glowing in their Sunday best. Teacher tries to make me feel better but I can see the disapproval in her made up eyes. She pulls me aside and quietly reminds me that tomorrow is the Easter Parade and do I remember that I have to make an Easter hat for Liam and if I don’t, it will be such a shame and Liam will be so heartbroken and I will be such a bad mother. Ok, she didn’t say that, but that’s what I heard. Although I am still able to redeem myself here, as I have time to make an Easter hat, the guilt I feel at having forgotten about it, is thick and heavy. I say a silent pray for good teachers, for time, for Liam who will happily wear his hat with pride tomorrow and I dash off sheepishly to go and have a little cry in the car. FAIL.
I am highly annoyed at myself. Firstly because of my forgetfulness. But more importantly because of this guilt I feel. I am a rational person, I know people make mistakes, I don’t intentionally want to beat myself up about things as simple as a forgotten school bag, but I can’t help it and I hate that I have no control over this guilt that I feel the minute I slip up as a mother! Never mind the day to day things like lashing out at a crabby baby, serving two minute noodles for the third time in a week, or taking my frustrations out on the kids – is it possible to get an aneurism from guilt? Because I think I’m almost there. Babies should come with a warning attached to that little ID bracelet they put on after birth: