Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A full-blown case of mom guilt

An hour ago I got home from that blog conference, gave Dave a quick peck and ran up the stairs like a madwoman. Then I tiptoed into Max's bedroom and kissed him and kissed him as he lay sleeping. He looked like he had somehow gotten older in the four days I've been away (doesn't he?). I stroked his forehead; he didn't feel like he had a fever, which was a huge relief.

This afternoon, just as my cab got to the airport in Asheville, my cell phone rang.

"Hi, Ellen, it's Nurse Dawn," said the nurse from Max's school.

Every single time she calls, I think she's going to tell me Max had a seizure.

"Is it an emergency?" I asked.

"No. But Max has a temperature of 101," she answered. "Can we give him medication?"

That's not quite an emergency, but it's no small thing. Years ago, Max had a grand mal seizure triggered by a fever; it lasted for an hour. Whenever his fever goes over 100, we immediately give him a dose of both Children's Tylenol and Advil or Motrin.

I said it was OK to give him medication. I called Dave to make sure we had enough Tylenol and Advil at home, and Dave said he was going to get Max and take him to the doctor. Then I hung up and almost cried right there in front of the cab driver.

The guilt had been slowly creeping up on me as the weekend went by. Right after I spoke with Max on Friday and he said those two words so clearly, I was on a high. But by the next day, I was missing him and Sabrina badly. By Sunday, I was aching to see them. Then today, my flight got cancelled. I wasn't even going to make it home on time to see the kids before they went to sleep. I got booked onto another one, but there were delays and guilt, guilt, guilt. There I was, at a conference because of the blog I write about my kid, and he was home sick.

Dave called from the doctor's office. "I'm in the waiting room. Max just fell asleep on my chest," he said.

Cue the music from the Psycho shower scene where Janet Leigh gets stabbed through the curtain: That's pretty much how I felt. The doctor said Max had a bad viral infection that was going around.

The day's fun culminated in the flight attendant not being able to open the plane door when we got to the gate (though that wasn't as crazy as my friend Leticia's flight; they had to kick off four people because the plane was too heavy).

Mostly, I'm rational about taking time for myself, which I think I deserve and need. I haven't had a bad case of the guilts since the early years with Max. After I returned to work when he was born, I'd feel absolutely evil sitting at work and editing pieces on hairstyles and relationships and Dos & Dont's while the babysitter sat through therapy sessions with Max. But I had Fridays at home with him, and as Max progressed, the baaaaad-baaaaad-Mommy vibes subsided.

This weekend, though, they returned full force. Of course, I was at a mom blogger conference; there was lots of guilt to go around. I went out to dinner with one mom who was still shaken by a mishap at her little boy's daycare earlier in the day. He'd wet his pants and had no clothes to change into since she'd forgotten to bring in an extra set; her husband couldn't get over there.

Still, I felt like I was dealing with a whole other kind of guilt. A kind that I don't feel about leaving Sabrina behind. But Max? He's still so dependent on me for so many things. He really, really needs me. Especially when he's sick.

It's late. I'm tired. But I've got a raging case of guilt keeping me up.


  1. big hugs, sweetie. I am not going through what you are, but the guilt eats at all of us. Sometimes I tell myself that the guiltier i feel, the more it means I am trying my hardest at being a good mom. He knows you love him. They both do. Kiss him again. then get some sleep.

  2. I know that feeling. I am sorry hun. I hope you get sleep and Max probably wont be any worse for the wear. He'll be really happy to wake up to his Mommy I'm sure. I went away with Dh for two nights last week. I really needed it. But I felt awful the whole time. I felt like going home to my boys. Guilt is an evil thing. I hope you can forgive yourself. Max will if he hasn't already.

  3. Max does look very grown up in that picture!

    I know exactly what you mean about the mommy guilt. Does it ever completely go away? Don't think so. We really are our own worst critics. We really need to learn to give ourselves a break - but I know that is easier said than done.

  4. Aww i don't have any idea what you are going through..But don't let guilt eat you *Hugs Hugs*


  5. 1. Hugs. You're one of the most awesome people I've met.

    2. The best thing I learned from my High School nurse is that when you call a parent you say THIS "Hi, this is Molly from Max's school. Not an emergency...."

  6. HUGS

    Try not to feel guilty

    You are a great MOM

    I love reading your blog

    You inspired me to write one


    I felt guilty today also
    KE passed out at school
    The paramedic kept asking why did I bring him to school
    I felt so bad
    He was tired but I thought it was an everyday thing when he is sluggish in the morning

    Being a mama of a special needs child is hard
    You are doing a great job


  7. I am so fortunate to have my parents to lean on. They have my back a hundred percent.

  8. Yes, I can totally related to your guilt. When one's kid has "special power", gravity around the kids that effect to moms are different. We are convinced that we really need to be there with our special one.

    But, I learned that our kids do fine without us. Sometimes it is good to be far away from them. They, too, need to have space and time to grow. Though they pull us toward them, they are strong.. maybe more so than we are.


Thanks for sharing!

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