Ms. Single Mama had us all going on a “fear” topic, so I’m switching gears to another pleasant subject.
I feel a lot of guilt in my life, which is odd cause I wasn’t raised anywhere near the Catholic Church. To understand just how much guilt I feel on a daily basis, everything posted in red is something I feel guilty about.
I don’t think my parenting decisions are bad ones, or that I’m slacking when I could be excelling. But I can’t help feel that twinge of sickness in my stomach everytime I make a choice for myself, which may or may not put my kid in the backseat.
Sometimes when I’m at work staring at the clock, waiting for 6:00 pm to roll around, I start fantasizing about cocktails and margaritas. I start salivating at the thought of sitting on a patio listening to live music. I pictureshameless gossip and greasy taquitos. I start drooling over the thought of flirting with a studly stranger. That’s when I pick up the phone and call my friends to set up dinner plans.
I’m not thinking about my daughter, and the 10 hours she spends at daycare everyday. I’m not thinking about how her face lights up when I go get her (which is one of the best feelings ever). I’m not thinking about how she’s probably tired, and just wants to go home and hang out with mama. No. I’m not thinking about what my daughter wants. I’m thinking about myself, and how much mama wants to have social interactions that don’t involve scheduling meetings and filing or washing underwear and talking about poo.
Last night’s battle over bed time and potty usage still wasn’t over by 11 pm. I finally broke down and cried a little while I was trying to get LB to lay down for the 10th time. She looked at me and said “Mama Sad. You Ok?” I swear she goes from Toddler Monster to darling daughter in 1.2 seconds, and what does that make me want to? A body shot off a six pack.
Since I work for a school district, I have access to lots of books, which I flip through while my boss figures out how to send an emailduring my free time. My boss has lots of books written by Berry Brazelton, and one is called “Toddlers and Parents.” Even though it was written in 1974, it has a section on single parents, which gave me a little comfort on my creakhead-like need for girl talk and bean dip.
“Being an only parent is lonely work. Days can stretch on interminably, relentlessly, and nights are hard to fill up. A job may break up the powerful monotany as well as providing necessary income, but the ups and downs of a family are all on one parent to manage, and its demanding responsibility. There’s no one else to pick up the pieces at the end of the day…but most important of all, no one but children to talk to.”
I hate talking on the phone. Its been an aversion since I was a kid, living on a hippie farm in the middle of rural Vermont. I think we used to get an average of one phone call every few days. Since becoming a single mom, I have forced myself to use the phone. My phone is my only contact to the grown-up world (besides the internet). After LB is in bed, I am chained to my apartment. I cannot leave. Sometimes I feel like a grounded teenager, stuck babysitting. I used to brush it off when I got someone’s voicemail, or a busy signal. Now I want to cry when I can’t hear another adult’s voice.
“Children’s talk can be fun when its mixed in with adult conversation during the day. But there’s a stagnating aspect to it too. The responsibility which an adult feels when she is trying to listen to a child- to understand what the child means, what he is trying to say, to supprot and encourage him and then lead him into more complex thinking- is strenuous and demanding.”
After I clock out, sometimes I can’t face the thought of returning home to a place where I am constantly powerstruggling against a 2 year old. Where every answer is “No.” Every word is a demand, and every activity is interrupted after 1 minute with “I don’t want to.”
“The first year is rewarding; each of the infants new achievments is like a new petal opening up, and the problems are those that lend themselves to a one-on-one relationship. Not so for a toddler. As babies become more independent, more active, more demanding- and more negative- they are suddenly cats, not kittens. This year can represent a crisis in many ways for a single parent alone.”
Yay. Is this why I would rather table dance at the end of my workday than go pick up my toddler? Is this why I ate a bag of Salt & Vinegar kettle chips while watching Resident Evil last night?
My boss keeps telling me not to worry, she won’t be wearing diapers to her wedding, and as for the whole “sleep” thing…well..I just won’t think about that for the next 16 years.
What do you feel guilty about?