Sweet Thad comes over and very politely asks: “Mommy? Will you come play with me please?”
“Not now Thaddeus. I’m busy.”
“Please mommy. You be the dumper truck and I’ll be the digger. Would you like that?”
“No Thaddeus. Can’t you see I’m doing something?”
“Please mommy. Will you come play with me for one minute?”
“Ugh. Thaddeus! I have to get this done! Ugh. Ok give me two minutes. Let me finish this and I’ll go to you. Go, go play on your own.”
Deflated, my sweet son walks away and plays on his own.
Sadly, this happens almost on the daily. And every night mommy guilt kicks in.
Mommy guilt is real
How can I be too busy to be with my children? What could be more important and urgent than making memories with the person(s) who genuinely want my company?
Why do I take my frustration out on my child? Coworkers sure don’t give a damn if I don’t take my entitled break! But it would make my baby’s day if I sat with him for 10 minutes.
What really bugs me though, is that I know all this. I know I should stop and drop and be with my children. But I don’t. I don’t want to wait till it is too late. I don’t want to wait till an accident hits too close to home. I don’t want to learn from pain and regret.
Actually, it has already hit too close to home.
A grieving mother
Today I heard the story from a grieving mother who lost her baby at summer camp (summer daycare) a year ago. Death by negligence, and the camp owner was sentenced to 6 months jail and a 100,000 Lebanese pounds (US$66.67) fine. (So many things wrong with this; but a rant for another time.)
Yesterday, another child was lost at a local summer camp here. Fingers are pointing everywhere, even at the parents.
Check your judgement at the door
It is so easy for us to judge others. It is so easy for one parent to feel superior to the other. Breastfeeding moms against formula moms. Working mothers vs stay-at-home mothers. Helicopter parent and laid back parent. The list goes on.
I am guilty of judging the other. I am usually very aggressive at advocating for breast is best. I judge mothers who choose to bottle feed and take “the easy way out”. I judge parents who let their children cry it out. I don’t understand why people choose to become parents and expect their lifestyle to remain the same.
Maybe age has mellowed me. My priority of advocating for the children is still the same, but my approach to the parents has changed. These days, I’m not so quick to jump down their throats. Instead, I approach gently and try to understand the reason behind their choice. Then slowly unveil the beauty of the other side to them.
Upon hearing the news of the incident, I didn’t care whose fault it was. My heart broke. I cried. For the mother. For the father. For the siblings. For his loved ones left to mourn him.
Becoming a mom has soften me. My heart and head goes immediately to being in their position.
Seize every moment
So today, I make a public pledge. I pledge to always hold my children. Immediately. For however long they want me to. My arms will ache. My back will hurt. Meals will be delayed. But my children, my children will be held.
Being out in the heat annoys me. Getting dirty irritates me. But I will sit in the sun and play in the sand with my children. I’ll crawl and jump with them despite my own discomforts. Because I love them. I want to seize every opportunity to be with them.
They will know my life is for them.