There are times when I am overwhelmed by it.
Then there are times that it makes me shrug my shoulders, offer up a simple, "Meh. Whatevs," and move on.
It is guilt, a five letter word for an emotion I can't escape.
All parents, at some point, feel a sense of guilt.
At least the good parents do.
A sense of remorse is what makes us human. It is what makes us reevaluate, learn, and grow. Without guilt or remorse, how would we gain a sense of perspective? What would force us to turn the mirror on ourselves and think, "You can do better. You can be better."
I try to live a good life. I try to be a good person. I wouldn't say that I have any major things to feel guilty about; however, I am not immune to guilt.
I feel guilty that I snapped at my husband this morning when he was just trying to be helpful.
I feel guilty that my son got a horrible sunburn two weeks ago, and couldn't even wear a shirt for a day, because I never called him into the house to reapply his sunscreen.
I feel guilty that I don't cook enough meals from scratch.
I feel guilty that we live three hours away from both sets of grandparents; yet I love where we live and we have no plans to move.
I feel guilty when I sign my kids up for too many activities.
I feel guilty when I don't sign my kids up for enough activities.
I feel guilty because I haven't reviewed math facts with the kids this summer like I promised I would.
I feel guilty because I have broken my pledge with the kids to not talk on my cell phone in the car while driving. Fortunately for me, it has only been about ten times, but my sons have reminded me of my pledge each time. I have lied to them with, "But this is a very important phone call, and mommy has to take it." I guess if you consider casually shooting the breeze with one of my sisters "very important", then it's not a lie. But mostly it is.
I feel guilty because I was at my wit's end the other afternoon, and my kids would JUST. NOT. STOP. THE CHAOS. Out of frustration I yelled, "Would you just sit down and be quiet?!? You all sound like a bunch of screaming idiots!!!"
I feel guilty that although I apologized to my children for using these words, I didn't apologize immediately, while the words still stung. It was the next day, when the words had already sat in their sweet little brains for 24 hours.
I feel guilty that I don't have enough individual time with each of my four children, because together they are awesome, but as individuals, they are even more amazing. I feel guilty that I don't carve out more one-on-one time.
I feel guilty that I'm blogging when my kitchen is a mess and there are four baskets of laundry waiting to be washed.
No I don't. I just said that because it sounds like something a good mom would say.
I feel guilty because my kids only bathed a couple times last week because we swam so often in the pool. Every mom knows that the pool can sometimes count for bath night. Right? RIGHT?
I feel guilty because I saw an acquaintance at the pool the other day, and rather than waving and saying, "Hello," I pretended I didn't see her because I pretended I was too busy with my children to notice her. This woman is very nice and I want to get to know her better, but I just didn't feel like talking to anyone at that moment, nice or not. My kids were overtired, getting rowdier by the second, and I had to get home to start dinner. At least that is how I justified the rudeness in my mind.
I feel guilty because I got sucked into a marathon of "The City" on MTV the other day while my kids were watching a movie down the basement. I probably should have watched their movie with them, and snuggled up on the couch in the cool air-conditioning of the basement, but this particular movie is mind-numbingly boring, as most of their favorite movies are. I feel guilty that I won't just suck it up and watch the mind-numbingly boring movies with them more often. I do, but just not enough.
I feel guilty because I got sucked into a marathon of "The City" on MTV the other day, and I fantasized what my life would have been like if I would have chucked it all after college, moved to NYC and pursued a career in the fashion industry. I imagined a life of parties, dry-clean only clothing, cocktails and city living. I imagined hob-nobbing with the fashion elite and having conversations that didn't involve poop or potty talk or Goldfish crackers. I imagined styling celebrities for photo shoots with $1,000 pants, and $2,500 dresses instead of styling four shorties with pants and shirts purchased from Gymboree with Gymbucks. Or Gap. Or Old Navy. Or my beloved Target.
I feel guilty for having such fleeting fantasies, because I love my life, and I wouldn't change it for anything. I always wanted to be a mom. But I can't help think of the flip-side. The what-ifs.
I'm only human that way.
Despite these fantasies, I know I am exactly where I am meant to be at this exact moment. That thought dispels the guilt.
I try not to let "mom guilt" or guilt in general consume me, because it will, if you let it.
I try to put it in perspective.
I try not to beat myself up or obsess.
I try very hard to shrug my shoulders, and say to myself, "Meh. Move on Clare. Move on."
I try not to let the guilt weigh me down.
I try, because life is just too good.