This past Sunday, after a long day working at the library, I was finishing up my dinner with Youngest Son. We were chatting amiably when he casually mentioned that he was the only kid in his class who didn’t have a parent at lunch on Friday. The kids had gone to the one room schoolhouse in our township for the day and the teacher had invited parents to come to lunch, but I had to work.
He continued, “Yeah, I was feeling pretty bad. I ate with my head down. I felt really sad.”
This was almost too much to take. Never mind that I work to feed my family, pay for their essentials and send them one day to college. Never mind that I would donate a vital organ to any of my three kids if they needed it or take a bullet to shield them. Never mind that I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 16 years. Disregard all the laundry, cooking and caring for sick children that I’ve done over the years. Don’t pay attention to any of the field trips that I have indeed gone on. Forget all that.
The bottom line was that I didn’t show up for lunch and, therefore, I am a bad mom and just one step closer to Bad Mommy Hell.
I’d like to say that I can take the advice of Working Mother magazine and “allow yourself to not feel guilty”. However, this would require a lobotomy on my part. I wonder what the editor of this magazine would do if HER 8-year-old son came home from school and stuck a knife in her heart by saying that he was singled out because his mother worked? Would she “allow” herself to not feel like pond scum?
Not long ago, I ran into a woman whose daughter had been my friend growing up. When I inquired how she was doing, she gushed about what a fantastic mother her daughter was. She breastfed all her babies for a year, took long maternity leaves and cooked all her food organically from scratch. She marvelled at what a natural her daughter was with motherhood since she had been a working mother.
After listening politely and saying how nice it was to hear about her daughter, I “allowed” myself to think of a word that rhymes with rich and is generally thought to be rude.
And I didn’t feel guilty. Imagine that.
Meet you in Bad Mommy Hell. If you need a ride, let me know. I call front seat.