Today was one of those days…
Those days in which there doesn’t quite seem like there’s enough seconds, minutes, hours, breaths to accomplish everything that my arbitrary yet ever-present to-do list says I should do. I woke up with my heart heavy with a case of the shoulds, my head already aching with the have-to’s before my feet even hit the floor. Once my feet touched down, the frantic frenzy began. Everything had to be done five minutes ago and nothing was going according to my mind’s plan. Rather than taking a breath and calming the hell down, I kept up my frenzy, finding myself walking in hurried circles amongst dog bowls and tea sets. I couldn’t stop myself even though I knew all too well how days like this end- in a heaping, anxious, tired yet spastic clump of a woman. Me.
I do not feel better or more accomplished as the day draws to a close. Instead, I am choked up with guilt. That mom guilt that always resides somewhere in the pit of my stomach and rises up to take residence in my heart and I feel it physically manifest in my throat. Not even a huge gulp of my Rite Aid 2 for $10 wine can dislodge this lump of sadness, guilt, and regret from its new home.
I sit here and tell myself that tomorrow. Tomorrow will be better. Different. Is it still considered a lie if you’re telling the fallacy to yourself? I sit and think how tomorrow I will cherish the little things and not feel so hurried. That tomorrow I will say “Screw you to-do list! We’re winging it!” But I know that’s not true. And with me, it’s nearly impossible. It’s these moments that make me sit and reflect on the “bigger picture” and I have montages in my head of Nugget going to school, to prom, to college… And then I get pissed. At myself. At the way I am because I’m blowing it. Why couldn’t I just watch her play and set up a tea party with cupcakes for the Muttleys? Why didn’t I let her splash around a little longer in the tub? Why was I always in such a goddamned hurry?!
As it usually does, it all catches up to me as we approach “ni-ni” time. My voice catches as I tell her she makes me happy when skies are gray. Because she does. And she’ll likely never know how much I love her, but I want to live each day at least trying to show her an inkling of how much.
I’m making a promise. To her. To myself. To slow the ever loving hell down. I am not going to say “cherish every moment” because tantrums happen and I need not cherish those. But I want to be more present. Rather than rushing through my 500 lists of the have-to’s and the shoulds, I want to be able to shut that part of my brain on mute so I can truly be with her. I want to see things the way she sees them. I want to stop watching the clock whose second hands are deafening in my ears. I want to be in THAT MOMENT rather than my head being 30 moments in the future.
This will not be an easy task for me. I know that much is true. For a person like me, who is so Type-A, OCD & anxiety ridden/driven, it will take a physical and mental effort to stop the rush. But I’m here now saying I’m willing to try. Nugget may not hold these moments as memories s she gets older, but what happens when she does? I don’t want her to remember being rushed everywhere and through everything. I don’t want her to remember me as that. I want her to remember how I made up silly songs with her, our countless tea parties, dance parties, and bedtime snuggles. I have no control over what memories she will carry with her into adolescence and adulthood. But I can control my actions and thoughts starting now. I know I will mess up because I am human. I know, as any mother does, that the ugly-cry inducing mom guilt will always be in me, looking for an opportune moment to make its presence known. But for now, I choose to acknowledge my faults and to try as hard as I can to improve on them. This one’s for you Baby Girl. You are my sunshine.
Absolutely perfectly written!
Thank you! It was definitely a more difficult piece to write but I needed to make the promise real and I’m sure other moms have felt this way at some point in time too.
I have to remind myself quite often that daily chores and stuff to do will still be there even if I need to slow down for a few days.
Wow, that is such a beautifully written promise and a truth that I believe most mothers go through.
Being an older mother whose child raising years are long gone, I went through exactly what you described.
Let me just tell you something that has always stuck with me: While getting my annual review at work by my manager he said to me “Why is it that the hardest workers and the best employees always feel that they could/should be doing more while the slackers and not so good employees come in acting shocked and mad when they are told that they are not doing a good job and should be doing more”. My Point Is: You are doing a wonderful job. You WILL always feel like you could do more, that is what caring and loving mothers carry with them always. It is the mothers that do not think they should do more or do better that we have to worry about
With that being said, I do wish and encourage you to “Slow” down Not that baby-girl is being slighted but for your sanity/happiness. Because I can guarantee you that if this is making you feel guilty and choked up now, when your children are grown and you reflect back you will still be feeling guilty and choked up but worse because you can’t change a thing at that point.
That is so so so very true. I know deep down that the day I stop worrying if I did everything right is the day I probably messed up. And thank you for your words of support. Some days the mom guilt hits a little harder than others. Love you mom
I absolutely love your words!! We may have been seperated at birth… From the compulsive task completion, nightly heartfelt sunshine routine to the drive to find a way to root our selfes in the pressent. Love your style
Thank you so much!
That’s a beautiful promise and a beautiful post. I can absolutely relate. My Type-A brain had to schedule blocks of “free time” and “play time” into the schedule to ensure I balanced the play with the work. (It also gave me the satisfaction of checking “Have tea party” off of a list.
Thanks! And I’ve totally crossed that off a list
Jeebus on a pita, do you live at my house? Because that’s me, too, only better written.
Thanks! Lol maybe I do if you start noticing bottles of wine missing…