by Misty Pratt
The other day I woke up early. It wasn't a "drag myself out of bed" morning. It was a "bounce up and sing" kind of morning - I was bright eyed and bushy tailed! I snuck around the sleepy house, taking a shower and preparing my lunch. By the time I was ready to head into the office it was 7:00 a.m. My husband and kids were still snoring peacefully as I quietly latched the door behind me.
"I'm at work early!" I thought. "I can actually get SO much done!" The office was quiet and dark (when you work for the gov, anytime before 8am is considered "early")
I checked my phone and saw a text message from my husband (Darcy is our dog, by the way):
I got a little worried. Why did he want me to call home? I dialed the number, and right away a plaintive little 2 year-old voice came on the line: "Hi Mommy! Why didn't you hug and kiss me goodbye this morning?" Soon it was the 5 year-old: "How could you leave like that? Don't you know you're supposed to wake me up to say goodbye? Never do that again!" All very tearful, heartfelt pleas from tiny little people that exited my womb not so many years ago.
My great mood crashed. The guilt set in, and soon I was picturing the day when both girls would be in therapy. "Our mom was never there for us. She would leave first thing in the morning, and wouldn't be home until late..." Drug addiction, eating disorders, bad relationships - I could see the future, and it was bleak.
Soon enough I had whipped myself into such a state, I couldn't even stomach a sip of the Grande Caramel Macchiato I had so lovingly purchased from Starbucks.
But....suddenly I stopped myself.
NO, I would NOT ruin this beautiful morning when I was finally feeling bushy-tailed and eager for 8 hours of soul-sucking government work to begin. I chose to do something - the ONE THING MOTHERS CAN DO TO SAVE OUR SANITY.
I'm talking to all Moms - the working-at-home moms, the stay-at-home moms, the working-while-staying-at-home moms and the everything-in-between moms.
I let go of the guilt.
"But HOW, Misty, HOW can you so easily push this guilt aside and get on with your caramel macchiato?"
Recently, a friend (and amazing woman) told me something mind-blowing. Something totally life-altering, that I had trouble wrapping my head around it.
Guilt is a choice.
Yup, a choice. All that guilt we felt taking the epidural during childbirth, giving up on breastfeeding, feeding our child solids before 6 months of age, locking ourselves in the bathroom for moments of quiet time, shipping the kid off to daycare, neglecting to notice the time one kid broke their arm (ok, 12 hours later we figured it out!), shoving cookies into our children's small, pudgy hands so that they'd shut up for 5 minutes in the car, and on, and on. Just insert your reason for guilt HERE:
And then let it go.
You can choose to feel guilty, or you can choose to get on with life, and let your children figure things out for themselves.
Whatever way you have birthed, fed, diapered, clothed, or schooled your child, is the RIGHT way. Because you did it with love.
So cheers to a guilt-free life for all the Mommies out there...or at least until the next time the kid falls off the twirly slide and ends up at the children's hospital ;)