Posted in Aurelie, Authors, Blog, Emotional wellness, Life as a mom, Mother, Woman, Working or staying home

The blame game

It’s 5:30 pm and I’ve just arrived at daycare.  The little man is over-stimulated and over-tired but still manages to be all smiles while we’re still in the building.  I gather up empty bottles, dirty clothes, the car seat and his squirming self and head out to the car.  The second that 5-point harness clicks into place the protestation begins. I make my way around to the driver’s seat while the mild grunts and whimpers transition to moderate dissatisfaction. By the time the car is moving and we are attempting to speed home (as safely as possible of course) through rush hour traffic, the noise coming from the backseat crescendos into ear-piercing wails.

It’s not exactly the way I want to spend the few moments I have with my son on these working days. At every possible lull in the day I’m looking at photos or videos of the giggly, smiley, adorable son I know, and I can’t wait to pick him up when the days is done. But the witching hour descends upon us and that, along with difficulty napping and too much activity during his day combine and morph him into this melting down, shrieking mess in my backseat.

It nearly brings me to tears myself.  And if I wasn’t so focused on just getting us all home safely without speeding (well, ok, without excessively speeding) or running red lights or rear ending the person in front of me for going 5 mph under the speed limit, I’d probably melt down along with him.

It’s not just that hearing my own child cry breaks my heart in ways I never imagined possible.  It’s that I believe his current suffering and crying fit is completely and utterly my own fault.

I know.  It’s a total mom cliché: all the child’s accomplishments and positive moments are his or her own doing, while the struggles and negative experiences are mom’s fault.  I never thought I’d fall into the blame game, since in all other aspects of my life I pride myself on being rational and level headed.  Maybe it’s the hormones.  Or maybe parenting permanently rewires you on a fundamental level.

Some nights, after the torment of the car ride home, and after the screaming child is put to bed, I dissolve into a heap of sobs and my husband has to talk me down.  “It’s not your fault.  He is doing great.  You are such a wonderful mom.  He is so lucky to have you.”  I want to believe him.  And deep down, beyond the rewiring that has already occurred, I do.

But I can’t help but also question if I’ve made the right choice to put him daycare.  Doesn’t he seem to nap better and not scream at night when he’s home with me?  Isn’t he less ill when he’s not sucking on other sick children’s toys?  Wouldn’t it be lovely to not have to pump excessively? Or not to spend 45 minutes washing dirty bottles and pump parts after work?

Then I remind myself that I like my job. I like working. I had a working mother growing up who shaped me into the passionate, strong-willed, hard-working feminist that I am proud to be today.  I remind myself that I am lucky to be able to work part time and not have to subject myself to the backseat wailer 5 nights a week. For now, I try to soak in and appreciate every moment I have at home with my son. And when the workday creeps up, I plod through it and brace myself for the dreaded car ride home. I can take it. I’ve endured worse.

Is it illegal to drive with earplugs?

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  1. Ahh, I so feel you on all of that. I hate listening to my kids cry, and I am awful-awful about letting it all fall on me. Boo 🙁 🙁 I’m sorry you do that, too. It’s so easy to fall into that cliche.

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