A Mother’s Guilt

When I was a little girl, few things made me happier than a snow day from school.  I remember holding my breath, as I anxiously watched the school closing list scroll across the television screen, with Chuck Mangione’s “Bellavia” providing the background music, and the feeling of pure joy upon seeing my school listed among those closed for the day.  Fast forward to the present day, and feelings of guilt have replaced feelings of joy, making me miss being a kid and feeling like a less than stellar mom.

This guilt stems from the fact that today, while my daughters were enjoying a snow day at home, I was at work, and as much as I like my job at a day shelter for homeless men, I love my daughters more and missed being with them.  Homelessness, unfortunately, doesn’t get a day off due to inclement weather, and neither do homeless service providers.  It was a day when I wished I could be in two places at the same time, but since I haven’t mastered the art of cloning (you can thank me for that later), I spent the better part of this snow day working, while my daughters enjoyed playing with their dad.

I have missed other snow days and fun times with my daughters, and we all survived.  So, I was completely caught off-guard when tears began streaming down my face as I headed out the door and continued on and off for the better part of the morning.  Rationally, I knew that the girls would be more than happy and fine with their dad, and I was grateful that he could be with them.  Irrationally, I was inexplicably sad that I could not be with them.

I selfishly wished I were the one who could be there to greet them after sleeping in on a snowy morning. I wanted to be the one to play in the snow and make them hot chocolate to warm them up from the inside out.  I wanted to take them out to lunch and to play a board game with them.  I wanted to do all of the things that their dad got to do with them, and when I didn’t get what I wanted, I got a heaping helping of guilt, courtesy of yours truly.

My eyes kept filling with tears, as my mind burned with thoughts of how my daughters’ snow day memories would not include me and how the years are passing by way too quickly for my liking, and I feared that snow days and all of the fun that accompanies them were on the verge of extinction.  I never planned on working full-time outside of the home, but divorce changed these and other plans.  So, part of me feels like days like today are some sort of punishment for the dissolution of our marriage.  Yes, in addition to contending with the record snowfall, I now was battling my own emotional blizzard.

As I busied myself with the tasks at hand at work and received some much-needed support from my colleagues and friends, the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions slowly began to give way to a truce with myself.  I still wish that today would have been different, but coming home to find my daughters laughing and chattering with their dad during a marathon round of Monopoly truly warmed my heart, as did their genuine excitement upon seeing me.  We may not have had this snow day together, but we do have this snow night together.  That definitely counts for something, so, we are going to make it count, minus any guilt.

That’s another story . . .



Categories: That's Another Story

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7 replies

  1. It’s a never ending juggling act isn’t it?

  2. We don’t get snow days in Montana! Enjoy!

  3. I too still get these flash feelings of wanting to spend more time with my children and grandchildren and cannot because of the necessity of what needs doing. The consequential fall-out of divorce. Like you, I try and set those feelings aside as much as I can and enjoy every moment that I do have with them.

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