I'm a type-A person. I'm very driven, which leads me to bite off more than I can chew in a day. I overestimate my awesomeness which causes time-management issues: 'Sure, I can do 12 loads of laundry in three hours, no problem... oh, and I'll bake that cake and a few dozen cookies while it's all in the wash... and while those cookies are baking, I'll do a blog post and work online for a while and clip my coupons and pay the bills and answer some emails, no sweat.'
Is it any wonder I'm exhausted by 7pm?
As a result of trying to pack in three weeks of tasks into a 7-hour time span, I frequently have to tell my children that no, I can't play right now. Which is promptly followed by a mess of guilt, which leads me to drop whatever it is I was doing to spend time with them because I can always work after they go to bed... Who needs sleep, after all?
Today, I did it again. When asked to come and play, I gave my requisite 'I have tons to do, dear, I can't right now.' Cue the sad faces. Cue my guilt. I finished the project on was working on quickly so I could run outside to relieve my guilt and soothe my children's obvious sadness. But what I saw wasn't sadness from my children... it was something much more moving.
It was so simple, really... the two of them were playing in the backyard with some rocks and grass. They were playing together, a quiet game, the rules of which I would never understand, even if they explained them to me. They were giggling and whispering and enjoying each others company. If I had burst out at that moment, the game would have ended and a new one would have begun, most likely the game of 'dog-pile on mommy until her ribs break'. I stood at the door for a moment and soaked it in, my children, being children. Sometimes, it's OK to feel guilt as a mommy. Mommy won't always be there to think of the game to play or to settle the age-old question of who gets to play with this stick at this moment. The guilt I feel is not because of my neglect necessarily, but the guilt all moms feel that disguises itself but is really just the mourning that comes with passing time. We feel like we need to embrace every moment because they are fleeting, but as a result we place an enormous amount of pressure on ourselves to be there every second of every day.
Sometimes, it's OK to watch from the backdoor.