Mom Guilt

We can’t catch a break.  Molly is sick.  AGAIN.  Strep this time.  The other four are coughing, have stomach aches, and the general yuckies.  This time, even the husband got sick and I’m still coughing (though I wouldn’t be if I could remember to take that darn allergy medicine.)

I had to call into work again, for two days.  Depending on what the doctor says about the other four kids tomorrow, I may have to call in for more.  I feel terrible about it.

I’ve missed A LOT of work this year.  Every time I call in, my stomach does these little flip-flops.  I just know they think I’m lying.  After all, whose kids get sick every other week?

Mine, obviously.  With five of them in the house, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s all the same illness from October, just slowly making the rounds.  Once it grounds one, it moves on to the next, and so on and so forth.  We are the revolving door of bacteria.

It’s times like these when I miss staying home with my kids the most.  When I was home, if a kid was sick it wasn’t a big deal.  They stayed in bed, I took them to the doctor, to the McDonald’s (the compensation for the poking and prodding at the doctor’s office) and back home again.  Zero guilt.  Now, I have to make the dreaded phone call to work.  It’s stressful.  As if it’s not stressful enough having a sick kid.

Then I think about those mothers who have more important jobs than me.  Not that feeding children in a school cafeteria isn’t important, but let’s face it.  Anybody can do my job and there is a list of substitutes who’d love the work.  What about those people who are the only ones who can do their jobs?  The ones who, if they miss a day, cause other people to not be able to do their jobs?

I’m guessing a lot of sick children are given some ibuprofen and sent on their (un)merry way to infect other children (like mine.)  I’m not blaming them.  I’ve done it myself, on occasion.  But I don’t like it.

In fact, I hate it.

When my kids are crying because they have a headache, or their ears hurt, and they have a temperature, I can’t stand the idea of making them go to school because I “can’t” miss work.  It’s not fair to them or me.  They’re my kids.  I want to take care of them.  They deserve to be taken care of.

Childhood lasts but an instant and the days when I can tend to their every need are numbered.  They are precious.

I don’t know what the solution is.  What I do know, is that every mom has to make the decision to work or not, according to what’s best for their family.  I know that we, as mothers, need to keep in mind that we all want what’s best for our children before we condemn others for the decisions they, as mothers, make.

I also know that when we make that decision, no matter how much or how long we weighed the options, we always feel guilty about that decision at one time or another.

Guilty for calling off work.  Guilty for working at all.  Guilty for not working.  Guilty for sending kids to daycare.  Guilty for sending sick kids to school. Guilty for not contributing money to the household.  Guilty for the time we get to spend with our kids.  Guilty for the time we don’t.  Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.

Guilt sucks.

“Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.” ~Erma Bombeck


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