Julie Ordonez is a really good friend of mine that I am lucky enough to have the pleasure of hanging out with in real life on occasion. I was honored when she agreed to write a “Confessions Friday” post for me. Julie blogs at Inland Empire Family as Skinny Jeans Mom and has been published many times in print. She is smart, she is super sweet and she is completely down to earth. And her son? Is totally adorable.
This confessions post is about something all moms relate to, struggle with, and have experienced. It’s more than just mom guilt; it’s about how in some ways, in many ways, I feel inadequate as a mom, and how I always wish I could do more.
“What a Good Mom Would Do”
I love you and I’m sorry.
I say this to him as I stroke his dark brown hair, his cherub cheek turned to the side as he lay sleeping soundly, innocently, dreaming, as I stand over him, disturbed and pained.
I tell him I’m sorry and that I’m trying my best.
Every single day when I hear the alarm blaring at me at 5 a.m. and I jump up to begin my day, I tell myself to stay on track. I only have so much time to shower, dress, eat, and somewhat fix my hair as I also balance this with getting you up, diaper-changed, teeth-brushed, dressed, and fed before we have to leave. Before I even have enough time to catch my breath I look over and somehow it’s now 7:45. Shit! I think. It can’t be! I silently curse myself as we’re running behind yet again. I need to get up earlier, I think to myself. I NEED to get up earlier. I need to get up earlier so I’ll have more time to get everything done and not be in such a rush. So I can at least spend a few more precious minutes with you. Watch morning cartoons with you. Make a more nutritious breakfast.
Like a good mom would do.
Instead I feel guilty for feeling like I somewhat ignore you by plopping you in front of the TV. to keep you entertained as I scurry around like a frantic hamster, constantly turning the wheel but never really getting anywhere.
If I wake up any earlier, however, I’ll be cutting into the 5 hours max of sleep I already get. Some mornings I hear the alarm go off earlier but I’m so exhausted that I physically cannot force myself to get up, so I sleep 15 minutes more, which of course sets me back and thus kicks off my usual frantic morning routine.
Okay then, I say to myself. I’ll just go to bed earlier. So I try to do so, but this means that I also must condense my evening routine. From the moment I get home, I’m greeted with hugs and then the onslaught of dinner, dishes, laundry, bills, general cleaning, and my side work. But I can’t get to any of it until after you go to bed, because you’re in such a needy stage right now (which is in no way your fault and completely normal), that I can hardly use the restroom without wails and crocodile tears on the other side of the door.
I momentarily become frustrated that you are so clingy right now, and think of how much faster things would get done if you just gave me a little space. Then maybe I could get dinner done by 6 p.m., so by 6:45-7pm dinner would be over, dishes and cleanup would be done by 7:30pm, I can spend time with you for a bit, then bath, jammies, book, and you will be in bed by 8:30-8:45pm. Then maybe I can squeeze in 15 minutes of TV watching for me, after which I can tackle my side work, bills, housekeeping, prepare my lunch and your things for day care tomorrow, and be in bed by 11 p.m.
I say this to myself to console my feelings of guilt and inadequacy, and temporarily fool myself into thinking it’ll come true.
But I can’t bear to say no to your little face when you plead with me to play with you longer, big brown eyes of adoration and love staring at the mess of a mom I feel, and I feel massively shamed and guilty for ever getting frustrated at you. So, ignoring the pile of laundry that’s been sitting for days, I play a little more, and before I know it it’s 8:30 p.m.; no cleanup, dishes, bath time, book, jammies, lunches, or things ready yet for tomorrow. So I fall behind. Again. Which means I’ll be late to bed again. Which means I’ll only get 5 hours of sleep. Max.
And while I love every waking moment with you, I’m head-above-water drowning, yet still doing my best to stay ahead, something which I also do for you.
I want to be and do everything for you. I want to spend more quality time with you, read to you, sing to you, educate you, have a sparkling clean house for you, and have hot, nutritious food on the table for you. I want to learn to sew on buttons for you. I want to know how to whip up fresh-baked cookies from practically nothing. I want to be able to get the errands done, housework done, my work done, meet your every need, and still be able to have a little downtime for myself. I want to be the mom you deserve, the one who spends hours playing with you, and makes sure you have everything you need and more. Because you deserve for me to be that for you.
Because that’s what a good mom would do.
I want to be there to watch you learn things, I want to watch you get excited when Elmo comes on at 9 a.m. rather than be at work., I want to take you to the park and watch you play, and I want to take you on play dates, but as a working mom I’m still trying to figure out how I can possibly do all that while being able to provide for you, and not lose sight of my own goals or dreams.
I try to keep myself from breaking down into a torrent of tears as the knife in my heart digs a little deeper every time I see your face as I drive away to work, and I hear you say, “bye bye momma”.
I don’t want to leave you! I think to myself. But it’s for you that I have to leave. I have to provide for you, make sure you have a place to live and clothes to wear. Help your dad out. Make sure you have what we never did and always wished for.
I try with every ounce of my being to provide you with all the basic needs, luxuries, and love that I possibly can, without feeling like I’m always one step behind.
But still, on nights like this when everything falls behind, when the dishes stack high and the laundry takes over the room and I frantically get as much as I can done without having to put you to bed any later than I already am, I feel like I’ve failed you, at least for tonight, and I vow to try harder tomorrow.
Somehow, I don’t know how, but somehow I’ll reach down further to spend more time with you, make a better dinner, have more clean laundry done, and have the dishes put away the same night they’ve been used. I’ll work harder to provide everything I can for you, because you deserve it and that’s what a good mom would do.
But for today:
I love you and I’m sorry.
When I read Julie’s “Confessions Friday” post I honestly welled up with tears. It is so beautifully written and so honest. I can’t even tell you how many times I have entertained the idea of going back to work, just so I could “get a break” from the doldrums of staying home, resenting the fact that I have to stare at my kids all day long. I guess the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side” is true. So true.
“Confessions Friday” is a series that is all about getting that nagging guilt off your chest whether it be a doosey or something small for the purpose of relating to one another without judgement or criticism. We’re all moms and for Cheese sake we’re not perfect.
If you would like to confess something Email me at: DesireeEaglin@aol.com