Guilty As Charged
The D-Train #19
Last week I opened my mailbox and found that my friend had mailed me a gift – a calendar for the new year.
Guess my friend, as usual, is actually inside my brain?
I’m a former Catholic (who hasn’t seen the inside of a church in almost thirty years), and even though I could not care less about religion, the Catholic church has its hooks in me. I feel guilty for pretty much everything. All the time. (Yaaaay Catholicism!).
My divorce has raised the guilt to next level.
Here’s some of what I feel guilty about:
1. Having a full-time job
2. Putting my younger son in daycare
3. Putting my older son in the after-school program
4. Literally never having time to cook decent meals
5. Not enough board games, puzzles, reading time
6. Yelling at everyone all the time because we’re always always in a rush to get to the next thing
7. Letting the television babysit way too much
8. Being on my phone too much with the kids
9. Not cutting their fingernails often enough
10. Overscheduling sports and classes and birthday parties and events
11. Not doing enough to foster their enrichment (but what about piano lessons?)
12. Rushing through homework assignments
13. Doing laundry, packing lunches, unloading the dishwasher instead of playing
14. Having the world’s messiest house
15. Being fucking broke/not being able to send them to college/dooming them to a life of poverty
16. Forgetting appointments
17. Being bad at planning play dates
18. Sometimes wishing I could hide in my room and read a book instead of building a Lego set
19. Having to text other parents constantly to ask them if there are sports the next day
20. Regularly mixing up the baby’s name with the dog’s name
So in essence, basically feeling guilty about, oh, my entire life.
None of this guilt is exclusive to being a divorcing mom. But when you are only with your very small children half the time, and you have no fucking idea what is happening with them the other half of the time, the guilt trap can be debilitating. It can be hard to feel much of anything else.
I keep thinking, if only I didn’t have a job, if I had less work to do, if I never saw my friends, if I stayed up all night cleaning the house, if I threw my phone off a bridge, if we cancelled Elmo, if we could just make the days longer, if we could just stretch out time, then maybe, just maybe, I could be the kind of mom I know I could be.
I know exactly what everyone would say to this: you’re a great mom, you’re doing the best that you can, the kids love you, and everything will be fine. But take regular working mom guilt, and compound it with divorce, and it’s hard to ever feel like I’m doing anything close to a good enough job anymore.
Anyway, I know. There’s an old adage that says “You are a free witch. You feel nooo guilt.” They may have even printed that on a calendar? Add it to the list and file it under “I’m working on it.” I really am.
A song for this week. I like these guys. And some days this kind of dream sounds damn fine.