I have been a working mother the whole time I have been a mother. My ex-husband is an actor (incredibly talented – and finally getting some long-awaited recognition), so our family needed the steady income…not to mention the health insurance. He did (and still does) a great job of caring for them. And now that my mother is retired, she certainly picks up a lot of the slack. But they aren’t ME. They aren’t the MOMMY. So, I am used to having a small amount of Mommy Guilt – not too bad since I have been fortunate enough to have The Monkeys attend the elementary school where I teach.
Today, though, I have really felt it.
The Boy Monkeys are both sick. Really sick. It started with Monkey #1. He missed school Monday (and Tuesday). Bad cough and fever. Poor thing had to miss an overnight field trip with his middle school “team.” But, luckily his father didn’t have a job yesterday and took good care of him. I felt some guilt at not being able to be with him – but it was manageable. Today, it was Monkey #2 to get sick. Another bad cough. And whenever he gets sick, it flips into his lungs. Again, their father was able to care for them…but it wasn’t ME.
I feel as if I chose school over my Monkeys.
Now, I am not one of those women who feels like I am the only one who can take care of my children. I know that their father can be a very nurturing parent – and he will cater to their every while-they-are-sick whims. But, I can’t help but feel like I chose to take care of 31 other parents’ children instead of my own.
I know the Monkeys don’t feel that way. I know they know I am always there for them – and if not physically, definitely emotionally. I know The Boy Monkeys are probably not sitting at their father’s saying, “I want my mommy.”
Maybe the problem is that I wish they WERE. Maybe I wish they were saying, “Hey, Mom, please come take care of us like only you can.”
So, this Mommy Guilt I am feeling is the WORST kind… self-imposed. No one else is making me feel guilty. I am. If it were coming from someone else, I would get angry. But, from inside, it becomes all I can think about. It becomes hard to do everything else I need to do when all I really want to do is go take care of my Sick Little Monkeys. I worry about them, because I can’t see for myself how they are doing.
This is when reality and my own mind have an epic battle and I have to just let reality win. But, that is really hard for me. REALLY hard.
Poor Little Monkeys. Poor Mommy Monkey.