Sunday, March 28, 2010


Today is my daughter's 2nd birthday.
I know I will follow up soon with a post of her happy and smiling, with Dora everything in the background.
But right now ... not so much.
Sometimes the guilt of everything eats away at me.
For some reason birthdays are hard for me. Birthdays, when you're a working mom, they kind of suck.
I don't regret that I work. I enjoy it.
But ... and here's a big but... somedays I feel incredibly guilty.
In 2 hours we're celebrating Chloe's birthday with my family. And, I'm so behind. My plans of making a fun family dinner have evolved into a pizza party.
I wrapped her presents today, and bought one of the presents yesterday. The decorations are hung, and are kind of pathetic.
And my heart isn't in it.
I just feel like I'm not quite good enough at this stuff. I do everything last minute. I'm not the mom who thinks for months about the perfect cake. Or a great party. I tried. I really did. And the cake is fine. I had her and Matt and my nieces help me. And I know she won't remember that I didn't get a Dora cake pan. Or learn how to use the special cake decorating method to do the cake.
But I will.
And, in 2 weeks it's Matt's birthday party. And I haven't really done much for that either. I haven't thought about about loot bags. I only have a couple of rsvp's. And the cake will be simple. My biggest decision was whether the cake should be vanilla or chocolate. It's great that it was that easy.
But maybe that's the problem. It was too easy.
And I guess I just don't feel good enough these days.
It's tough to divide my time.
And it's hard to come home when I'm exhausted and throw myself into playing with my kids, reading bedtime stories and enjoy singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 57 times until Chloe finally falls asleep.
Honestly, I don't think being a stay at home mom would be better.
I watch my sister. I watch my friends who stay home. And I don't want that for me. They are the super moms that I wish I could be and I know I wouldn't be. And I don't think it would benefit my kids.
At least when I'm at work people cannot guage whether I'm a good mom or not.
I like to think I'm a fun mom. But, lately ... it's hard.
I feel like the fun stuff is all pretend lately.
The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who is expecting. And we were kind of talking about the good and the bad. And there is so much good. So much. But then there is the bad. The guilt. The questioning of whether I'm good enough, if I'm doing the right stuff for my children. If they are happy enough.
I know they are happy.
But right now ... I'm not so sure I am.
So I guess we just keep going. get through this. Suck it up and know that really this is all part of being a mom. But, somedays. Like today. I wish I was better. At all of it.
Who knows.
Maybe one day I will be.


1StepCloser said...

Whoa, a little harsh on yourself there...from what I've seen you have happy, fun and very well loved children. Isn't the rest just window dressing?

JL said...

On the flip side, the super moms who go all out (with everything) are kind of overdoing it, don't you think? Their kids will expect things to be perfect and elaborate on each occasion, and a simple pizza party won't be enough... Their attitude will be, "that's it?" I like your way better... your kids won't grow up to be spoiled brats who expect the world.

Ginny said...


Sorry, had to get that off my chest because I haven't even thought about Lindsey's birthday and it's on Friday. Ha tell me what a great mother I am. Maybe tomorrow I will be a better mom.

But like you said there is so much good. So much so that maybe we need to focus on that. So maybe I've barely planned Lindsey's birthday party BUT dancing around our living room with her tonight watching her rock it out to all kinds of crazy dance/house music from the 80's was hilarious and fun and not just for her I might add! And I like to think that maybe, just maybe, she will remember this as one of her better childhood moments. I know that I remember doing that with my dad. I remember him chasing us around our living room to the Pink Panther theme song and having the time of my life. In fact, I remember that more than any birthday cake I ever had.

So I think that we just take it one day at a time and try not to be too hard on ourselves. It's incredibly difficult (thanks guilt) but we do the best we can. We aren't all perfect. Even our moms yelled at us and I think we turned out OK, don't you?

Badness Jones said...

You love them, and they know it, everything else will work itself out. I don't know if it will work out the same way for you, but I found that after my second child turned 2 (he turned 3 in December) life started getting a little easier. He could communicate more, play better with his sister, do more things himself, and suddenly there was more time to do fun things, and because I could relax my supervision just that little bit, more time for planning too. Hang in there, these stages ebb and flow, and I think you're due up for a good one.

SciFi Dad said...

Guilt is feeling bad for stuff you can't fix. It serves no real purpose.

That being said, I totally understand where you're coming from. I'm fortunate in the fact that I have a wife who is a SAHM and enjoys planning stuff like parties and making cakes and whatever.

Growing up, birthdays were dinner out and store-bought cake; that's all I knew. When my wife married into our family, she was appalled with how we did birthdays and has tried to make them more like the ones you envision.

But the thing is, I remember my birthdays fondly; I don't think about store bought vs. home made or anything like that. Birthdays are about the people you're with, the memories you keep.

don't_bet_on_the_prince said...

I wonder; does the guilt start once the children attend school? I know that at my child's young age, I have yet to feel much guilt about what I think they don't have versus what they need.

Actually, my main worry is that I raise a child who is appreciative. Maybe that just comes from years of working social services, and seeing children in the worst case scenarios. So the question of whether I'm "good enough" as a parent that many people face leaves me baffled.

kate Jones said...

I still wonder about whether I do right by my daughters and now my grandchildren! I hate the comparisons we bring on ourselves and yet so many of us do it. I had to learn to say that my mother did the best she could. Perhaps we have to learn to say that about ourselves to let ourselves off the hook. Easier said than done thogh!!

lettuce said...

I think you're an excellent mom. Your kids are very lucky to have you.

Like Sci-Fi Dad, my birthdays growing up were dinner out (or order-in) and a cake from the grocery store with the immediate family (parents and my older siblings if they were around). There were no decorations or amazing themes. My mom would not allow me to invite any friends. She was a SAHM so it wasn't that she didn't have time or energy to plan. This was just how a birthday was celebrated in my family.

Nowadays, I think some people go way overboard and the kids expect way too much.

But I get where you are. I feel really guilty somedays about the level of care I gave my mom - was it enough? Was I the best caregiver I could be? I'm already feeling guilty about future things and my kid's not even here yet!

Anonymous said...

k, i was there, the party was perfect - she couldn't take her eyes off the present you gave her cause you knew she'd love it. She had a blast with her cousins and brother, so you have perfected the guest list. The cake wowed my kids - especially cause they got to sample some at 11am - with ice cream!! Cut yourself some slack and realize you rock. (this coming from your sis who so overplanned the last party and nearly put myself in an early grave, only to have my kid complain that all her birthdays are home made and she wants a play place!!)