Arg. Mondays are hard anyway, but this morning was a doozy. Lately Olivia has been sleeping in a little (hallelujah!) and I often have to wake her up to get to Nadxieli’s on time. This is a good thing in part because I am able to take a shower, get ready, pack our bags, etc., while she sleeps. Today, though, she woke up early. Soooo, in the 13 minutes Jeff has to get ready, he also tries to entertain her while I jump in the shower. Then I rush and rush to put on makeup, tidy up my hair, get dressed, pack our bags, let Olivia watch TV, get Olivia a morning snack, change Olivia’s diaper, calm Olivia after Daddy leaves. It’s a bit chaotic. And I’m trying to push down the guilt monster that creeps into my mind and heart. “Why are you worrying about mascara when your little girl is asking to play?” It says. “Why are you changing shirts when you could be tickling your little girl and making her laugh”? It taunts. Throw on top of that stupid monster the fact that Olivia has reverted back to loving Daddy a LOT more than mommy, and I really start to listen to that icky voice. “It’s right,” I think, “no wonder Olivia prefers Jeff. He is more fun, he is always excited to see her, he takes time to play and be silly and laugh and make her a priority while I waste away precious minutes getting ready for A JOB I DON’T WANT.” And BAM. The morning goes to hell. Stupid guilt. Stupid job. Stupid economy. Stupid me.
I tell Olivia we need to start getting ready to go to Nadxieli’s house and she says “no Nayee. Home.” Crack goes my heart. I manage to make Olivia cry twice in a span of 20 minutes, not letting her go outside with me to warm up the car and then putting Elmo in the wrong spot once we’re all buckled in. I hate those tears no matter what, but I hate them most in the morning when I know I have to leave her for the day. If I have to at all, I want to part ways after smiles, laughs, solid moments of quality time together, snuggles, hugs and kisses. Stupid Mondays. We make it to Nadxieli’s house and Olivia is clingy. Oh how I want to keep holding her close. How I want to snuggle up with her and watch TV and ignore the other annoying voices that say “you’ll ruin her brain, she’s going to have ADD, she’ll never learn independent play, you’re a lazy mom.” (those voices are for an entirely different post!) Instead Nadxieli and I have to coax her down out of my arms, over to her special chair, so I can give her a kiss and hug and tell her bye-bye. “You’re going to have a great day, sweetie! I’m so glad you’ll get to play and have fun today! I love you!” I force cheerfully, while my heart aches to grab her and run home. I head for the door as Naxdieli sits down next to my little angel. And as I turn for one last look I see Olivia start to cry, call my name and reach for me. And it’s all I can do not to fall apart right there in the entry way. But instead, I walk out, let a few tears slide down my cheek, put on a brave face and chant all the way to work, “you are not a bad mom, you are not a bad mom, Olivia is fine, she’s probably already stopped crying, you are doing your best, you have a great nanny, Olivia is happy, you are not a bad mom.”
I'm already remembering our frantic morning with regret. Did I hug her tightly enough? Did I get her more strawberries gladly enough and with a big enough smile? Did I thank enough her for being sweet and helping me? Did I love her enough? But did she FEEL it enough. And so goes another week of mommy guilt. Yippee.