I was watching an episode of ‘The Middle’, one of my favorite TV shows, the other day. It was a rerun, where the family decided to give the mother a different Mother’s Day gift: left her alone to have an entire day just for her.
She wastes the whole day in ordinary tasks, while the family has a marvelous day without her. At the end, Frankie, the mother, says to Mike, the father, how being a mother is to be always feeling guilty. If she’s with the children and wants to be alone…guilty; if she’s alone, she wants to be with them, so…guilty!
I can understand that. As a mother, I have to be away from my daughter most of the day, to work and commute. The entire day I miss her. Then when I get home, there’s always a lot to do, and there’s writing related stuff too. So I try to stay with her in the middle of all that, but it never seems like enough time.
I’m sure all parents understand that, actually. Kids grow up so fast, every day they’re slipping through our fingers, and all we can do is try to capture every minute, the feeling in them (yes, I love ABBA! Do you know that song?)…
So…how can we live with all that guilty? If I’m so tired that all I can think of doing is to take a nap, but my baby wants to chat; or if I have got to promote my book for a while, but she wants to play something; or if I just want to stay quiet for a moment, because I have a headache, and she wants to show me the new stop motion video she made…?
You know what I think? There’s no way to win. It’s just like Frankie says; a mother is always feeling guilty. You’ll never believe you’re doing enough, you’re always thinking you should do more. Now, for example…I’m writing this, because I wanted to share my thoughts, while my daughter is by my side, finding new dolls she wants to have on the internet, and I’m thinking I should be doing something with her. 🙂
The funniest part of the show is that when Frankie says it, Mike, the husband, states that he doesn’t understand, because he never feels guilty. Her answer? ‘No guilt. That must be nice.’ It might be…but I think it’s part of the ‘fun’ of being a parent. I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Well, in my family things were quite the opposite. My father played the role of Frankie. He cared, and tried his best, so I’m sure he felt guilty a lot, J. How about you, fathers and mothers? How do you deal with that feeling? How do you arrange things to spend enough quality time with your children?