Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I'm not 100% sure why this is on my mind. Maybe it's the heat keeping me from going for a walk with Boo. Maybe it's the semi-isolation that I feel sometimes because none of my friends have ones this young or are around during the day for me to just hang out with. Maybe it's because my time home is coming to a close.
Or it could be a bit of all of it.

Last night I was feeling very guilty.

It was about 9:15 and Boo was being a little fussy, but not eating and having nothing to do with wanting to go to bed. (I somewhat blame myself for that one... he had a couple of very long naps yesterday and I didn't really try and keep him awake between too much...) Since I was tired and just wanted to go to bed. (The night before had been a 2-hour night starting at about 2am...) I had the lights off in his room, except for one of the torches. I had the music on. He would almost fall asleep when I was rocking him, but then wake up. Like I said, I was tired. So I put him in his swing and left the room.

He didn't cry.

He was wide awake and looking around a bit.

But I wasn't there.... not even just sitting in the rocker watching him.

By about 9:45 he fell asleep, or mostly asleep. I put him into his bed, and he woke up a bit. But, again, I walked away after I swaddled him.

It's not that I didn't want to snuggle with him. Or that I don't love him and cherish every moment we have together.

I was tired. I wanted him to go to sleep so I could.

Yes, Gak was home and I could have left the boys together. But Gak had a very bad day at work (involving no Internet connection and bad tech support...) And besides, I'm not sure I would have felt any less guilty for "saddling" my husband with his son that I would have felt for letting him fall asleep in his swing.

Like I said, Boo never complained, he made a few "meh?" sounds at me when I put him in his bed and was being a wiggle-worm. But he didn't cry or even make a face like he was about to cry. Why do I feel so guilty for taking advantage of my son's laid back attitude so I could get to bed earlier? (Not that it did much good... I may have been asleep by 10, but he was up at 3 or so and took about an hour to get to sleep again. (He didn't want to eat, he wanted to play... like I said, I think I let him nap too much yesterday during the day....)

Motherhood, it would seem, is full of guilt, even if no one says anything to make you feel guilty about a specific action. I'm sure someone told me that before, but I just wasn't listening and you really don't understand until you're faced with it. And the stupid part is, about 80% of it isn't real. There is nothing wrong with using the swing to soothe your little one to sleep. Although, no matter how many times you tell yourself that, you won't believe it.

There's guilt about letting them fall asleep in the swing, or parking them in the bouncy chair while they're content to check your email. There's guilt that you may be holding them too much or going to them too quickly when they start to cry. (I truly think that's a load of bull though... what's so wrong about comforting someone, anyone, when they're first upset?) There's guilt that by breast feeding you're depriving daddy of bonding time, but there's guilt if you formula feed that you're not giving your baby the best possible start. There's guilt if you go back to work and leave your kiddo with daycare, and just as much guilt for staying home to raise your children while your partner works to pay all the bills.

When, oh when, did being female mean being guilty. We're guilty of not asking for enough money when we take a job, but we're also guilty of "leaving" our family to work. We just can't win. And despite the best efforts of the Girl Scouts and other organizations, I don't think it will get any better until society as a whole sends one message to women and girls: Whatever you do in life, as long as it is your best, is right. Everyone is different. We all make different paths through life. I know men and boys get conflicting messages about how they're supposed to be and act, but not anywhere near as many or as often or from as many sources as women and girls.

Well, this has gotten philosophical enough. I've left Boo sleeping in his swing again, and he may be waking soon. I need to be the best Momma I can be and be there for him when he needs me... but I also need to let him be from time to time too...

Peace to all and may you not feel guilty just for living your life.