Wednesday and Thursday this week left me feeling detached and frustrated. And guilty. Zade got his spotlight at the expense of our sanity, and Layla, who I count on to follow logic and order, resigned her rock status and joined her brother. I found myself nagging on the kids, begging them to listen. Trying to plea at them with “Can’t you tell Mommy is really tired after work and truly needs just 20 minutes of uninterrupted silence?” eyes.
The worst of these days is that I walk away as though I’ve done nothing good. When I tuck them in and tell them I love them, I say it with remorse and with a desperate attempt to wash away anything I didn’t do for them that they will remember later in their lives.
Will my impatience tonight outweigh our pancake mornings?
Will my need for a few minutes of quiet replace my morning love notes to you? Can the memory of me yelling at Zade for purposefully smearing his dinner on the floor supersede the fun arts and crafts we make?
So Friday I took charge. It was prom day for my students at school, which put a happy lull in the air. I left work with resolution. I put my car windows down and let the spring breeze and sun gradually dissolve my week’s remorse. I went to the grocery store and placed pizza-making ingredients in the cart and threw in an instant pudding mix. Wanted something fast and friendly. When I came home, the kids greeted me like lost loved ones at the airport, and I brought to them the energy and clarity they’ve been wanting from me all along.
I used this method for a new way of making mini-pizzas, and I let the kids go to town.
We were so excited that I even forgot to take a picture when they were all done! While the pizzas were in the oven, Layla and Zade took turns whisking the cold milk into the pudding, and they discovered the marvel of licking the wire whisks before placing them in the sink.
We ate the pizzas and watched 1949’s Cinderella.
I didn’t touch my phone. I didn’t touch my Nook. I didn’t even go upstairs to wash my face and change my work clothes into comfortable clothes—a habit my mom has and one that she has passed down to me.
I bathed them in a pool of bubbles, read them bedtime stories, and fell asleep with them on my bed; we were tucked away like a bed of Savannah Smiles under the same blanket.
For me the beauty of mom-guilt is the resolution I inevitably make to be present—to watch myself outside of the scene and feel proud, a reflection that’s really hard to award sometimes because working motherhood—motherhood in general—puts us on emotional fractals, sometimes peaking us at the height of fulfillment and other times on the ridges of disappointment in ourselves.
So we cooked, ate, giggled, watched, and enjoyed the start of a wonderful weekend.