Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mommy Guilt

Unless you're a superhero, no mistakes kind of mom, or, I suppose, a complete deadbeat mom, you suffer from "mommy guilt."  Every mani/pedi conjures cost comparisons between your pampering and their Pampers.  Every night out is tempered by the possibility that they'll wake up and realize you're gone.  Hell, sometimes I even debate buying myself a cupcake and eating it in the bathroom, so that I don't have to share it and just the THOUGHT makes me feel guilty.

Today, my two year old took "mommy guilt" to a whole new level.  Yesterday, we joined my beautiful sister-in-law-to-be and the rest of the family to enjoy some Mexican food in celebration of her birthday, albeit a month or so late.  Kaia was delighted to find a place mat and crayons for her to color with.  Let me start this by saying that I'm all for encouraging creativity.  I'm even more for bribing a kid at a restaurant into good behavior.  But deep down, I HATE crayons.  I'm a little Type A and like to be in control of what my kid plays with.  I hate crayons because they get color on stuff other than the paper that I've designated.  I hate little toys because Mikko will put them in his mouth.  I hate noisy toys because I have to listen to them.  Anyway, back to the crayons...

So, Kaia has been gripping a crayon in each hand pretty much non-stop since yesterday.  She slept with one in her little mitt on the drive home from Madison.  Last night she cried when I wouldn't let her bring them to bed.  This morning she drew all over her Dora and Boots in the car on the way to the store.  (I might have made a less than polite comment about the genius who let a 2 year old have crayons in her carseat they day before.)  Needless to say, she's developed an extreme interest in coloring.  So, despite my annoyance at a "ruined" book, Dora's new swimsuit design and the little shavings of crayon I'm finding all over the house because she likes to dig her tiny fingernail into the crayon as she wanders with them in her tight pudgy grip, I agreed to color with her this morning.

I drew a green Elmo and then she asked for a bigger green Elmo.  I got a little overzealous in my attempt to give her a great big green Elmo and snapped the green crayon in two right before her little eyes.  I'm astonished that she didn't cry.  I immediately told her I was sorry.  (By the way, she has tons of crayons, but these were the new and oh-so-special free restaurant crayons.)

I kid you not, she carried that half crayon around ALL DAY.  She must have reminded me about breaking the crayon while drawing the big Elmo a hundred times.  Her:  "Mommy, you break it."  Me:  "Yes, honey.  I broke it.  I'm really sorry."  Her:  "Mommy, you break it . . . big Elmo."  Me:  "I know, sweetie.  I broke it while I was drawing the big Elmo.  I'm sorry."  Her:  "Mommy, it breaked.  You break it."  Me:  "Jesus, kid, give it up already."  I'm kidding, I took my beating like a champ and apologized every time, secretly hoping that she'd eventually get bored with it and I could throw the damn thing away.  Not my luck.  She cried for her colors before bed yet again.  I guess that means another day of mommy guilt for me tomorrow.  Worst.  Mom.  Ever.

And yes, the half green crayon is safely stored in a place of honor among the other, lesser loved crayons.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A case of the Mondays

Every Monday I go to my office and mope about not being with my babies.  Don't get me wrong, they're monsters that I need to get away from sometimes.  But they're also sweet and silly and I just KNOW I'm missing something awesome by being someone in addition to Mom for several hours.

It's something I think I'll never completely come to terms with, the dichotomy of my current state of being.  I am both professional and parent.  Although it exists seemingly seamlessly in my male counterparts, all the lawyer mommies I know struggle with the guilt, the time constraints and to find a pair of nylons that isn't stuffed with toys or tied around a teddy bear's neck like a lasso.  Well, that last one might just be me...  And while I love my kids more than life itself, I know I'd never want to give up what I consider the "real" me for mommy me.  I guess I should just be thankful that someone paved the way for me to go to work and still have kids and stop expecting to find comfort in my dual life.

I feel a little like a double agent.  Inevitably when out on one of our weekend morning marathon grocery shopping trips, someone will give me the pitying look that is reserved for people with too many kids to handle, and offer to open the door, help me out with my purchase, take my cart, etc.  Once someone even offered to hold a kid for me.  I always laugh and say we're fine.  We are.  Don't these people know I fight battles for a living?  Kids?  Pshh, easy.  On the other hand, I go to work and listen with absolute understanding when parents talk about their battles with kids, with their spouses, with their finances...I always nod somberly and want to say, "I totally understand suffering.  I have a 2 year old and a 10 month old."  Okay, not the same, but I get chaos.  I get complicated.  I get feeling like you might actually fall asleep standing, as you're rocking a screaming 10 month old who is trying to grow so many teeth that you feel he should have been required to make you sign a waiver for engaging in this type of activity (mothering)...  Okay, that last one might just be me too.

While for the first time in my life I've found something I feel I am just naturally good at, I wonder if I'll ever feel completely settled in this life.  Perhaps it's perfection in chaos.  I'll never feel so content that I stop having to make effort and yet I got constant reaffirmation that I don't suck at life in the slobbery little kisses and the rare moment of quiet when I have completely fulfilled all of their needs.  The kids, not the clients.  The clients are never content and it would be an ethical violation for them to pay me in kisses.  Thankfully, the kid stuff always trumps the client stuff by the end of a Monday.