I’ll show you mommy guilt

Under no uncertain circumstances should you ever take pruning advice from my mother. Never ever ever. She pruned this tree herself. And yes, that is her in the tree.

On to more important things.

Michelle talked about mommy guilt this morning and it got me thinking. So much so that I abandoned my topic of how my son has an unholy fear of public toilets. I also found the subject rather appropriate since talking with Neal and Tacoma Chickadee about the subject of parenting in general.

Michelle found that she truly didn’t enjoy that time in the middle of the night when her daughter wouldn’t sleep and only wanted to be held. First off, who in their right mind loves that time? I, for one, like my sleep. I am a bitchy cranky woman without it. Maybe that’s because I get so little of it to begin with. But there are other things in parenthood that make us feel guilty.

As parents to adoptive children we walk about on eggshells being afraid to bitch about our children. We spent months and years bitching about wanting our children home that to complain about their behavior seems hypocritical. What right do we have to complain when we are the ones that wanted the children so badly in the first place? Lemme tell you something. It doesn’t matter how the child came into my house, he still drives me nuts. As Dooce puts it; my child suffers from an debilitating illness. In my case it is called two years old.

My child is two. He lacks language skills to express his needs, he has yet to master the art of the potty, if he doesn’t have it he wants it and if he has it he doesn’t want it. Inside, outside, outside, inside. My kid is a whiner. Please don’t tell me, “oh I’ve met your son. He’s an angel.” Yes, he’s a good boy out in public, but behind closed doors he drives me nuts. But for every smack down he lays on me there will be a moment of pure bliss. This little boy who finds the most minuscule little flower in the garden. He picks it and brings it to me and says, “buh-luh-lie.” (translated: butterfly) “buh-luh-lie, hair mama.” He’s saying he’s sorry for being a shit and wants me to put the little blue treasure in my hair. I could eat the cuteness with a spoon!

This brings me to the ultimate in mommy guilt. Sure, I feel guilty for saying no when he wants to be picked up while I’m cooking dinner or saying no when he wants to play puzzle just as I’m sitting down to work. But here’s a guilt story for you.

Last week our weather was spot on. I mean gorgeous. I knew I had to work this week so I spent every second I could outside. Boy and I were playing in the back yard last Tuesday. Ok, I was watering plants and he was spinning the wheel on the wheelbarrow. He goes into my garden shed to do something. I go into the shed to retrieve a tool or something. *sniff sniff* Oh that doesn’t smell pleasant. I know full well my boy has pooped. I am about two minutes from finishing what I was doing and then cleaning up. I admit it. I let him wallow in his own filth for a bit. Gimme a break, it was just a few minutes. I finished what I was doing and tell the boy it is time to go inside. At this point he does what he always does when we are done with outside time. He starts to scream. I am so sick of the screaming. So. Sick. I get pissed. I yell and tell him to stop screaming. Yep, June Cleaver I am not. He screams louder. I tell him, “I know! We are going in to change you! Stop screaming at me!” The screaming continues. This isn’t crying hear people. This is screaming. Pissed off screaming. I lay him down to change him and pull off his shorts. Oh dear lord! There is poo everywhere. Poo so bad that I wiped off what I could and immediately stuck him in the bathtub. The whole time apologizing and saying I understand. That is guilt. But that’s not the end of the story…

The next day we went grocery shopping. I emptied the fridge of all the old leftovers and spoiled stuff. I was dumping chocolate milk down the drain that had a pull date of the same day. As I’m dumping the milk down the sink… *sniff sniff* I sniffed the carton. Hmmm… that doesn’t smell good. This was the same milk I had fed my child at lunch the previous day. The day of the poo incident. I gave my child soured or nearly soured milk and got pissed at him because he was screaming at me. Now that is mommy guilt.

Does it make me a bad parent. A little Not so much. It makes me a dumb parent. I can guarantee you I am hypersensitve to pull dates now.

14 Comment

  1. Thank you thank you thank you for talking about the frustrating moments! I think I have a “bad mommy” incident at least once a day. I’m distracted, all the time, by chores or the computer or the phone or whatever and so I end up responding inappropriately to one or more kids which often leads to crying, screaming, you name it. I’d like to be a June Cleaver-focused-on-my-child-24/7 kind of mom, but it just ain’t happening.
    It makes me feel a lot better to know I’m not the only one. 🙂

  2. Yesterday, I came home from work for lunch, and 5 minutes after I left, my baby-sitter called that my 3 year old needed to talk to me. He was upset that I only gave him one hug/kiss when I left, and he wanted me to turn around, come home and give him another one. He was really insistent and angry with me, and I couldn’t talk him out of being upset for anything. I didn’t know whether to feel good that he loved me/missed me that much, to feel guilty that I had made him so upset by leaving him with a babysitter, or to be upset that I was so obviously being manipulated by a 3-year old! I ended up mostly feeling guilty.

  3. Oh I am so glad I’m not the only one. I do feel like I worked so hard to bring this beautiful girl into my life – now what right do I have to complain? But sometimes, I just get tired of the crying and whining – sometimes I want to poke sharp objects into my ears to stop hearing it. But then she smiles (have you seen that smile?) and it melts my heart. Glad to not be alone!

  4. Jenny says: Reply

    Last week I fed the girls yogurt that was 2 weeks past due. SO 1 day! And, then called conor worried I had poisoned them and he said…”yogurt is spoiled milk anyway”.

    I feel guilty, ONLY, when I get angry with the girls. Otherwise it is a free for all!

  5. Kim says: Reply

    Oh Elle!! I hear you about the screaming… my little guy has the same reaction to being taken inside once we’ve ventured out. It ain’t pretty. Don’t you wonder how they can generate that much poop from one small meal?

    Count me amongst the Mommies that don’t enjoy the middle of the night lovey-dovey bit. Jack’s been up the last two night in a row for FOUR hours… count’em, FOUR hours!! Does the same thing that Michelle’s little girl does. Sleeps quietly in my arms, but comes awake screaming like a panther if I try to put him down.

    Last night I handed him to DH and said I was moving to Canada under an assumed name and he had full custody of our boy!! Of course this morning he’s all love love Mommy, kiss kiss Mommy… YAWN!!!!!!!

    Must…go….nap….drooling …..on keyboard……

  6. mom says: Reply

    I carry one of the biggest guilt trips of all times. You were being a total poo at breakfast when you were about five and I insisted you finish your milk before leaving the table. You DID! I then proceeded to eat my breakfast and damn if that milk wasn’t spoiled. My poor baby was forced to drink poo milk! Now that’s guilt!!!

  7. mom says: Reply

    That’s one fine pruning job I did and I’ll have you know I told the neighbors how to prune their trees and now they look just like mine!

  8. My Mom likes to prune trees into hacked up Bonsai sticks too:-) What is up with that?

    Mommy guilt… yep, I have 3 and guilt from each. It’s all worked out through Karma- scary isn’t it?

  9. Rhonda says: Reply

    Oh girl, after last week, my Mommy guilt is going strong. And the yelling? Oh I’ve done it. The whining will make you crazy. I’ve actually told Bonnie, “My ears can’t hear whiny voices”. Then I ignore what she says until she says it in a normal tone. It drives me that NUTS.

  10. Lauri says: Reply

    Oh Man… the guilt really sucks… if only Livi knew… she could use it to her advantage.

    Its so hard somedays… I have tried my best to limit my yelling and to be more zen like.. somedays its just difficult.

  11. Yelling at your kids to stop yelling. This is an often used tactic at my house too. Effective isn’t it?

    As far as the guilt thing. I have to say that there is far more guilt associated with an adopted child because of the attachment and PI issues. For example, even if the child is acting like a typical 2 yr. old and misbehaving- parents don’t feel like they can handle it in a normal fashion- like using time out- which also gives a much welcomed time out for the parent

  12. Lee says: Reply

    Just wait until they are able to re-inact what you said to them and you overhear them from the other room using the exact tone and words YOU used with them, while disciplining their dolls, teddy bear, cat, etc….! Talk about guilt! When you know that is EXACTLY what you must have sounded like to your child. Kind of makes you think… for a minute…then you go right back to the yelling. Ha!:)

  13. Jessica says: Reply

    Yep, leaving the great outdoors for the boring indoors gets many a scream from my child as well! The word “toddler” should be banished from our vocabulary and replaced with “guilt-trips-R-us.” They can be such amazing little humans, all cuddly and lovey and wonderful to be around. And then they turn into your worst nightmare – all in 0.1 seconds!

    I have recently noticed that I use the phrase “right now” too much with Quin; when he wants something done he adds it: “Blue puppy dog RIGHT NOW” (a demand for Blue’s Clues).

    As for ignoring – it works wonders! And Quin is starting to learn that when he whines his request he is either ignored or asked to repeat his request without whining. As soon as he repeats it, without whining, he is praised for not whining and usually given what he wants (or a substitute if needed/appropriate). I saw this work for my older sister with her son (now 7), and he rarely whines (usually only if he’s really tired or hungry). I’m beginning to understand that “motherhood” is often synonymous with “guilt.”

  14. Nicole says: Reply

    Oh, guilt is a hard emotion. I know a lot about it. I am Jewish.

    Your mother is a hoot in the tree. That is a great shot.

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