Merriam-Webster defines guilt as a feeling of culpability for offenses. This week I define guilt as a quivering lip and watery eyes of a sick child you leave as you head out the door to work as well as the utterly crappy feeling you have as you sit at your desk. At the first sniffle or cough, I will be the first one to call out sick and take care of my daughter. Unfortunately, the year got off to a rough start for my family health-wise, so I’ve used the majority of my sick time within just the first three months of the year. That’s lead me to ration the remainder of my days and feel like the worst mother of the year in the process. Even though I know she’s in Grandma’s loving arms while I’m at work, I still feel like I should be the one home with her.
When I was growing up, I can’t remember a time when my mom didn’t stay home with me when I was sick. But, as we all know times were different thirty plus years ago. Moms have it tough today when it comes to the work-home balance. It’s an age-old debate, should moms stay at home or work? Can they do both successfully? Dr. Phil and Oprah have tried to dissect this issue like a high school lab rat, and even they can’t find the right answer! I can’t speak for the stay-at-home moms, but as a working mom, I can tell you there are days when it just plain old sucks, especially when your kid is sick. Some may say, it”s easy, just stay home.
Sometimes you can’t and other times you put so much pressure on yourself you feel like you can’t. I think the later is worse. Sometimes you worry about what your employer or co-workers will think. Those without kids may think, oh here she goes again taking another day off. Any parent with a sick kid will tell you, it’s not a “day off”. A day off is a day at the spa, not cleaning up snot or poop and trying to translate what your crying child needs at every second. But,it comes with the territory.
I think the guilt trip we put ourselves through as mothers is far worse than anything anyone else will do to us. At times, we try to be all things to all people and get wound up with obligations and what we think we should do. We forget to listen to our hearts and do what’s best for us. I know you would find me guilty of this one. Sometimes you just have to put down your keys and follow your heart and that runny nose for a day or two. But, sometimes following your heart isn’t so easy. What’s your take on it all?
First things first…no disrespect to the dads out there…because they also do a lot when it comes to the kids (at least mine does), but I think the moms out there really carry the load. Carrying the “load” really starts before birth. Pregnancy is no easy feat. Each month your belly gets bigger and bigger, your boobs feel like watermelons and everything just swells up. The 9 month countdown begins. Wait, it’s really 10 months! I was actually shocked to learn my first go around that the pregnancy lasts 40 weeks! Each month is an adventure with a new blood test and a new craving. But, in the end it is all worth it. There really is no greater experience than holding your baby for the first time. I remember thinking this little person was growing inside me for all this time, and here she is…wild!
But, once the euphoria vanishes, reality sets in, and that’s when the real tiger blood starts flowing.
From the middle of the night feedings to the non-stop nurturing, there is something that prevents you from collapsing. It’s tiger blood.
Besides being a mom, many women are wives, workers, volunteers, you name it. It’s a careful balancing act with sometimes no net to catch you. That’s scary. I look at myself and many other women and are amazed at the multi-tasking that happens on a day to day basis. My daily routine starts with a 3:30 a.m. wake-up call followed by work, followed by picking up my 1 and 1/2 year old daughter. Then part-two of the day gets underway. That consists of everything from playing to cleaning to errand running and on a good day, a nap. Then it’s time for dinner, bath, snack, bed…and that’s just for her! Let’s not take into account all the things I need to do for me before my targeted bedtime of 9 p.m. (which is often missed). Then it’s time to do it all over again. There’s only one way to explain it…tiger blood!
I know so many other women with their own intense schedules and wonder how they do it. As women, we find a way to push forward and make it happen, not to say it’s not without its share of complaining from time to time! Motherhood transforms you into a person you never thought you could become and gives you the strength to do things you never thought you could do. The Tiger Blood is there and keeps flowing!
p.s. Thanks Charlie Sheen for inspiring the title of my first blog! (But I’m still not paying to see your show at the Oakdale)