Being the Mother Our Children Deserve
My superwoman of a sister-in-law, who watches Fisher while I’m at work, texted me historic news while I sat at my desk planning amazing marketing feats of great importance and extreme excellence: My son, Fisher, is cutting his first tooth! Monumental news for the mother of a six-month-old.
When I read the text, I almost started to cry; I was full of so much pure delight. Luckily my husband, who was visiting me in between his classes, stared at me like I had grown a third arm, and I reconsidered waterworks in the workplace. I never thought news that I would have considered insignificant if it was any other child would bring me so much excitement.
Right after my “mommy high” wore off, I was hit an all too common pang of guilt I feel when I miss one of Fisher’s “firsts.” I missed his first laughing fit. I missed him rolling over for the first time. I’ll probably miss the first time he sits up on his own and his first words and his first steps. I’ll probably miss a lot. And realizing that really hurts.
There’s no way to eliminate that guilt other than quitting my job, which is not an option. But missing Fisher’s firsts, although it stings, doesn’t mean I love him less and doesn’t mean he won’t feel my love. It just means I missed a moment in time. It means that I show my love by providing for our family. It means I am balancing different responsibilities than other mothers. It means that some days will be harder than others.
I know I won’t ever eliminate mommy guilt. I think it develops in mothers during pregnancy and endures, well, forever. But I, we, can push that guilt aside, focusing on the things we do extraordinarily well and realize we’ll never be the mothers we think our children deserve, but we can sure as heck try to be.