What I'm feeling as a mother right now

besides exhaustion, I mean.

Mainly I waver between amazement, guilt, and a burning, piercing hunger I've decided to call a new form of love (but which could also be related to the fact that I'm on a diet right now.)

But let's talk about guilt. I'm prone to guilt anyway. Let's just say I'm predisposed to feel guilty about anything and everything. War in the Middle East? I'm sure it was something I said. Famine and drought? Darn it, I knew I shouldn't have thrown that uneaten food away the same night I took an extra-long bath. Non-stop rain and flooding? My depression is calling the clouds. You heard it here first, folks: In terms of misery, I'm all powerful.

But since I've become a mother (really, since Kristin got pregnant) the guilt has increased. I'm beginning to understand why mothers load such guilt trips upon their children: they're so full of guilt themselves, there's nowhere else for it to go, it must overflow onto their children.

A short list of what I feel guilty about on a regular basis:

  1. Going to work
  2. Not wanting to go to work
  3. Not working enough
  4. Not holding her enough while she's so squeaky and snuggly
  5. Being happy that she's beginning to like to sit in her swing and thus does not need to be held 24/7
  6. Letting the poem that's been buzzing around my head for the last few days make me distracted and crazy.
  7. Taking the time to get the poem out of my head and into my computer
  8. Not being independently wealthy
  9. Not using cloth diapers
  10. Not really wanting to use cloth diapers
  11. Wishing she would sleep in her crib for at least 6 hours at night
  12. Not scrapbooking

There are uncounted other things which are eluding me at the moment (and, by the way, I feel guilty over the forgetting of which because I think that maybe I'm not paying close enough attention to every aspect of this amazingly fleeting time). It's enough to make one crazy.

Last night I was home alone with Julia, and she was sleeping in her swing and I was cooking dinner (Aloo Gobi only with eggplant instead of the gobi because though the gobi was fine in the fridge, the eggplant was about to turn bad and mushy and needed to be used right away) and I kept thinking that I was hearing her cry and every time I left the kitchen and cooking noises behind to listen, I couldn't hear anything. Then Kristin came home and the baby really had been crying, just coincidentally stopping her wails every time I tried to listen. I'm a bad mommy. Then, when I added the eggplant to the pan of sauteeing spices, the resulting cloud of spice vapor that even the opening of the windows refused to budge (in fact, the chill from the opened windows seemed to serve to make the vapors thicker) sent all three of us into a coughing and sneezing fit. For the next hour, every little cough and sneeze coming from the swing in the living room felt like an arrow to the gut nailing down my new resolution to begin to like my food bland. The arrows felt a bit like the piercing hunger-love, but the points have differently shaped barbs.

Posted by Trista @ 9:20 AM

Read or Post a Comment

I sooo identified with this post. But I guess I wasn't feeling it as a mother... just the guilt thing. It's embarrassing for me to admit how much of my behavoir is motivated by guilt. I can't even begin to fathom how this character trait of mine will multiply with offspring. Uhg.

Great post though-- I loved it.

Posted by Blogger Katie (WannaBeMom) @ 2:08 PM #

Mother of three de-lurking to say here that guilt will surely follow you all of your days, but it is how you handle/don't handle it is what counts, for your sake, your relationship's sake, and for your daughter's sake. Humor goes a long way in parenthood. When you can laugh at yourself for not wanting to put her down for one whole day, then wishing you had two free hands for FIVE MERE SECONDS ALREADY the next day, I think you're on the right track. And PS-- scrapbooking is overrated.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 4:50 PM #

Good parents feel guilty and worry.
Bad parents don't care.
need I say more?

Posted by Blogger Estelle @ 5:25 PM #

Wonderful, wonderful guilt. We thrive on it. We even feel guilty about feeling so much guilt, or sometimes that we're not feeling guilty enough about something.

Where does it all come from? I don't know. Is it a meme? Is it something that evolved long ago, along with our "conscience" to make us able to live in society? Sometimes we thrive on feeling guilty about one thing just to keep our mind off all the other things that must be out there to feel guilty about. It gives us tunnel vision. It stresses us. It distracts us from the joys, not that we should be feeling (should is a guilty word), but that we have every right to be feeling.

This is slightly tangental, but I thought of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Ch. 27: "The Virtuous".

Here is a thought that ties it in: sometimes guilt is our way of conning ourselves into doing what we already want to (and would) do.

Posted by Blogger StateShift @ 6:47 PM #
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