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I Did My Best Today but So What

As I lie awake obsessing over BooBoo’s kindergarten readiness, my husband inhales deep, peaceful breaths that make me more anxious than ever. He’s not worried about BooBoo’s readiness at all, or wrestling with the guilt of serving our kids cereal for dinner. He’s sleeping peacefully under the mistaken impression that I was a good mom today.

Little does he know I forgot their vitamins and didn’t insist on baths either.

Nights like tonight when I look back over a day of missed mom opportunities, I can’t help but hate myself a little.

The kids watched too much TV and played too many video games today, my conscious warns. Sure, I was trying to catch up working from home, but my kids hardly saw me and there I was, twenty feet from them. Wasn’t this why I left my job outside the home in the first place I wondered, to be present for my kids?

So I’m here, but I’m not here. Everything in my gut tells me that being absent while present is probably the biggest mom crime of all.

I chewed on that thought for a while until it became too hard to chew, like stale gum. My mind wandered, where can I find those green ballpoint pens on Boy Wonder’s back-to-school list?

Boy Wonder, oh how my train of thought always stops on Boy Wonder. I was short today with him and he felt it; I saw the look of disappointment in his eyes. Figures tonight I’d see one of those Pinteresty-looking quotes on a friend’s Facebook wall that said something like, “The words you speak to your children become their inner voice.” That scared the shit out of me. I was curt with him because I was busy and I’m pretty sure it made him feel small. If it didn’t, I can only imagine cereal for dinner did.  Poor small-feeling Boy Wonder without green ballpoint pens.

I sat up in bed, rolled my neck a few times to ease the mounting tension that likes to sit right above my shoulder. “So this is where the phrase ‘weight of the world on your shoulders’ comes from,” I pondered.

I inhaled deeply as if to somehow swallow the emphatic mom guilt. “I tried my best today,” I silently told myself.

I knew in my head that “good mothers” the world over have days like this too; days when they don’t stop to play Candy Land with their kids. Days when they forget vitamins or green ballpoint pens. I knew that those things in isolation didn’t make me a bad mother, but there are nights like tonight when I can’t help but fear I’ve let down my kids. And who cares if I’m trying my best.

Do you think we’re too hard on ourselves as moms?

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