Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Oh, MOTHER GUILT...what would I do without you?!

This post is being prompted by a trip to the dentist with 2 out of 5 children ... BUT, it was most probably the proverbial stick that broke this mama camel's back.

Are there enough things in life for us moms to feel guilty beat ourselves up about? I would gamble on MORE than enough!

Let's see:

A trip to the dentist to find that one child now needs a trip to the orthodontist AND the oral surgeon because a baby tooth was not pulled out by the original pediatric dentist. How could I have missed that? Oh heck, I can blame it on the FIRST dentist, right?

Two other children have two cavitities each and need sealants <$$$$>! Don't be tempted to gloss over the PRESCRIPTION flouride toothpaste for the older of the two - the stuff I will feel guilty about if I do not purchase it for $15.00 a tube. Surely this must be a miracle gel. Guilt relief?!

I will admit I am only feeling 1/2 guilty about my creeping decision to maybe ignore the dentist's recommendation (for now) to take these two to the orthodontist, ALSO! C'mon...their teeth are all in straight - at this time. How bad a mom am I if I just wait and see what comes in...rather than use a panoramic x-ray to peek at what is lurking in their jaw $100.00 a pop?!

(Do I eve have to get into the whole cult religion of guilt that surrounds spending the family money? ON ANYTHING....including groceries! Ummm: NO!)

The 96 year old crotchedy dental insurance lady on the phone gave me a lecture on silver fillings as opposed to white fillings. Seems I catch it coming or going on this count: The dentist lords it over me that children psychologically should have the white fillings. Is this so their peers won't know they had a lousy mom who did not thoroughly brush their teeth after each & every meal or snack?

The dental insurance agency makes you feel like you are taking advantage of SOMEONE (not sure WHO?! other than maybe MYSELF) if you don't save money by going with those ugly silver fillings that invaded MY young mouth....cuz, ya know, "they last forever." Tell that to MY fillings - the ones now needing to be replaced. And didn't I hear somewhere that these same fillings are full of some sort of potentially toxic metal that is probably leaching into my aging body wreaking all sorts of havoc as I type this?! Oh no...the guilt of not being the supermom whose health is guaranteed to last through my great great grandchildren!

Don't even get me started on FLOSSING! That subject is enough to get a mom put in a rubber room where they don't LET you have anything as lethal as FLOSS.

And here are so random thoughts:

I have brilliant kids who can get bad grades...because I have not raised them to be motivated? Never fear, I have had school teachers & counselors beat me up about not making them strive for 110% of their ability. Heck, I have even commited the sin of pulling smart kids out of honors the interest of preserving family sanity. Silly me.

I do not read bedtime stories to the younger kids as faithfully as I did with the older two. Might as well factor in that I am sure - if you counted them up - I have not taken an equal number of photos of all 5 kids. PHOTOS?! OH NO! I sometimes lose sleep over the fact that I have photos stored digitally and not printed out and I might LOSE THEM! Could I live if that happened? Oh, Juliet - I feel your desperation.

I skated under the wire of baby books by keeping a 1st year calendar. I figure I can use those to "create" the baby books....if I really need to. Scrapbooking? HA - I refuse to let that one get me. Maybe I know too many people who do NOT succumb to it...and too many who are SLAVES to it. Enough said.

I shamefully admit that I have totally spaced out school picture days, I have stopped buying school pictures once they hit high school and - WINCE! - I never scheduled an appointment to have my daughter's senior pictures done. Explanation:  she was sick and not feeling photogenic when it was time. BUT, I should have pushed for it....especially since she is now finishing her freshman year in college and we had two offers for FREE pictures from real photographers. Is now too late? I think I can blame 1/2 of this on my daughter...but I would feel GUILTY about that.

I have forced my children to move more than any therapist worth his exhorbitant fee would say is healthy. Yes, I took a young boy away from his dream house on the lake. However, if I did not, I am sure I would feel bad about living in a 1,000 SF home with 2+ bedrooms with 5+ kids. So - is that one a wash?!

I can feel guilty about not picking up a crying baby quick enough...but I have been accused of holding my babies "too much." Did I nurse them too long or not long enough? I admit to propping bottles with my foster babies at times. I am sure I do not do enough for the bio moms of my foster kids, either. (Fortunately, their black holes of need prevent too much guilt.)

I am sure I have let a child go too long without a diaper change or a good soak in the tub. I know I have discovered a child whose finger or toenails were too long and more than one child who went out in public with:

  • bedhead...or simply overdue for a haircut

  • no deodorant

  • no snack for school

  • unbrushed teeth

  • mismatched clothes/shoes

  • no underwear?!

  • no hug & kiss?! oh gosh - hope not too often
I have had bio kids and foster kids playing catch up with immunizations. Heck, I actually missed a 4 year old annual check up on one bio kid...and I am not telling WHO! Hey...she was really healthy that year. At least that was a no shot year...less guilt!

Speaking of I get to wonder if - in getting them shots to protect their precious health - I was actually endangering them? Oh please. I cannot even go there. I cannot even begin to tell you about the whole new level of guilt I was treated to when our child was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.

I have dogs that are overdue for shots and in need of a trip to the groomer...and, currently, they are out of food. First thing tomorrow....if I can find that coupon.

My laundry is piling up, someone or everyone cannot find socks that match, I felt bad that my child threw up in a not so clean toilet this morning, and I am not sure if I envy or despise the friend who changes all the bed sheets in her house on the same day EVERY week? Hey, I might be changing WET sheets around here even more often than that....but I am not going to keep track!

I have yelled at my kids...with the windows open. (Oh, yes...I have apologized to all of them! They are fully aware of my imperfections.) I have used a glass of wine in order to get through the dreaded dinner hour. I have allowed my husband who worked a full day to come home and change diapers, do homework, make dinner, etc. etc. etc. And, according to my kids, I have failed to make LIFE FAIR for them. *sigh*

I have not saved enough money over the years in order to buy them all the latest and greatest electronics/cell phones/etc. like the ones their friends have. (But, I have to admit, they do not expect these things!) I was not able (or willing?) to buy them a car of any sort for their 16th birthdays - gosh, I did not even throw a sweet 16th for the first two...much less a Golden Birthday party. (I did not even KNOW about such a my guilt-ridden defense!) There are no college fact, I have probably SPENT money that my kids would consider "theirs" over the years....but, of course, I spent it on THEM! (In some way or another.)

The jury is still out on whether or not I honestly feel guilty about the fact that I detest sleepovers and I avoid setting up playdates. I actually enjoyed planning fun, free, silly, creative day trips and simple I really don't think I feel guilty that we have not taken our kids on pricey vacations. Walt Disney can leverage his parental guilt on the Joneses. And, no, I do not covet the cruise the PTO ladies went on with their combined families. Ick.

I do worry about what my kids eat and what they do NOT eat. I feel good when I plan meals (and actually make the planned meals) and kinda sorta bad when I don't. Although....scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast, cantaloupe and orange juice can be a great guilt reliever in a pinch!

In case my kids ever read this...I am not going into feeling guilty about neglecting their father's hormonal needs. That would not be MOTHER guilt....whew! But, then again...I have used motherhood to get a full night's sleep on more than one occasion!

If I get into the whole guilt scenario of not reading my bible enough, not exercising enough, not eating healthy enough, blah, blah blah...I might never recover. I have all but given up on worrying about what I might or might not have said that offended some small minded suburban mother who obviously does not have enough guilt in her own life to keep her busy. Trade me places....if for only one day! Having enough time to know I have been offended might be a LUXURY equivalent to a long hot bath...with CANDLES!

If all that were not enough, I am heading into a self-evaluation process at work that requires me to fill out an 11 page document...inspecting myself inside and out. Inside sources have tipped me off that the 0-6 scale really means you better not score in any area under a 4. I will stress over it, not having the freedom to be honest, trying to figure out what score I SHOULD choose and then being challenged with the task of validating my answer. The only problem with all that is....with all this Mother Guilt...I am afraid I am left with too little healthy self esteem to make myself look good on paper for this highly relational part-time job...that I actually enjoy doing...IN REALITY! (If not for the paper part...)


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