Guilty Not Guilty About Missing Mother’s Day

 Mom Guilt strikes again-I'm Not the Nanny

Sophia’s school art show ends at 7PM and it’s already 5PM. Sophia is doing her homework in her room. I make quick boxed mac and cheese and reheat leftover roast chicken. As I add the last handful of shredded cheese to the boxed stuff, I yell for the kids to set the table. We had to eat quickly so we could pick up their dad from the subway station.

My husband was supposed to meet us for dinner so we could all go to the school together. He missed the art show last year and didn’t want to repeat that. Except he left work an hour later because a the fire alarm went off in his building. Not only did he leave all his personal items in his office, but he had to stand on the sidewalk to keep people from entering the building. So instead he’d pick up a quick to-go meal and meet us by the subway station. We’d head straight to the elementary school, hopefully well before 7PM.

With only one car in the household, it takes a bit of juggling to attend school events. Usually there’s not so much juggling needed, but yesterday, boy, timing wasn’t on our side.

As the kids set the table, the dreaded whine came out of Sophia, “I wish you could be here for all of Mother’s Day and not just get back at 2PM.”

You see, I’m leaving for a blog conference tomorrow. It’s put on by a company that I’ve done a lot of work with and I even do freelance work for them. I like them. A lot. My kids have known about my trip for over a month. I promised Sophia I’d be home for dinner this Sunday. I even paid extra for my flight to get home well before dinner. We were even going to pull out the grill for Mother’s Day dinner, at her request.

Yet all she could focus on was that she couldn’t make me breakfast in bed. It wasn’t good enough that she could make her grandmother breakfast in bed. Thankfully my mother-in-law is coming to help since I have another out of town trip next week.

Exasperated for having to explain again (for the umpteenth time) that Mother’s Day is a made up holiday and she can celebrate my motherhood anytime she wants, I just didn’t have it in me this time. I just told them to sit down and eat dinner. So we could go to her art show.

I’m not a selfish mother. I doubt many mothers are. But I hate being made to feel guilty because I’m doing something that allows me to be there every morning and afternoon at the bus stop, but it puts meals on the table. Going on a work trip is not being selfish. Attending conferences further my skills in what I do. I won’t lie. The time away keeps me sane and makes me appreciate my family much more.

I was mad at her for laying on the guilt again. I know she didn’t do it on purpose. I thought I was doing a good job instilling to my kids how much I love my work and how lucky they are that my job is as flexible as it is. Not to mention that going to the art show meant I went to her school twice in two days for special events.

Later that night, I started to feel guilty for NOT feeling guilty.

What kind of messed up thinking was that? Do dads feel that way?

I know feelings aren’t rational, but I’m not going to let myself feel guilty for taking a few days away. I will be working plenty, not just socializing. As soon as I return, guess who has to help prep the food to grill? This mom.

I know she’ll suck it up. I’ll only be gone for 3.5 days. I’d just wish she’d stop harping about it.

What are you doing for Mother’s Day?


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