I live in a nice little neighborhood where tons of kids roam freely and play in various yards on the street. Only recently did I decide that my two were old enough to venture outside the safety of our fenced back yard to join the rest of the neighborhood play. I set very firm boundaries on how far they are allowed to go and they are never allowed to go inside anyone’s home without my prior knowledge or permission. I usually crack a window so I can hear the general tone of play outside and make a few trips to the window or yard to see who is doing what and where.
My kids have made friends with three kids from a family several houses down. The parents home school the kids. They are always outside when the kids are playing. When I simply could NOT get a screw out of one of Gus’ remote controls, he took it down there and the dad fixed it. The mom has had several long talks with Mia. (Mia is 8 going on 30, so this doesn’t surprise me at all.) One afternoon, Gus came in and said that one of the other neighborhood kids had somehow hit him with a stick and it made his glasses go flying. (He assured me that the other kid was playing, not being mean.) He didn’t know where the glasses went. I sent him back out with instructions to get Mia and the other child to help him look, and that by golly they would find them. He left the house to go look, crying.This was my work-from-home day. I was technically still on the clock while simultaneously juggling laundry and starting supper. A little while later he returned with the glasses. They weren’t broken, thank goodness. I asked if anyone helped him. “Yeah – Wyatt’s mom.”
Thank you, Wyatt’s mom. I appreciate your help. I really do. Only now I feel like a complete heel of a mom. Aren’t I supposed to be the mom outside watching the kids, playing with them? Aren’t I supposed to be the mom who fixes the kids’ toys? Aren’t I supposed to be the mom who patiently sifts through pine straw to find the missing glasses?
Instead, I’m the mom who not only doesn’t home school, I even leave my kids in after school care at least a couple of days a week. I’m the mom who is trying to keep the house and clothes reasonably clean while trying to fix supper so we won’t spend extra money going out for fast food while also working and writing on the computer. I mean, it’s not like I’m lounging on the couch, watching TV and eating bon-bons while other people take care of my children. I’m trying. Hard. And I’m trying hard to be good at what I do that brings home the paycheck. And I’m trying to satisfy this itch to write – an itch so bad I wonder if it’s a call too. Let’s see: 100% mom, 100% pastor, and 100% Jan = 300%. Surely I can make that work, right? No sweat.
That %@#& mommy guilt.