We didn’t do anything yesterday morning.
My husband and I have two girls, almost 4 and almost 2. They’re very busy girls, always moving, always doing something. I work part-time, three afternoons a week, and I usually try to “do” something in the morning, whether it’s a visit to the playground (when our hideous Massachusetts winters don’t preclude it), a local storytime, or a gymnastics class. We play outside in the yard. We do errands. The girls love food shopping, even if my younger daughter’s new favorite activity of walking beside the cart results in a very stressed out Mommy by the time we reach the checkout line. (And that’s without discussing the smashed can of tomato sauce that graced our trip last week.)
Yesterday was gorgeous. We’re in the middle of a fall “heat wave” right now, where the leaves are scattered across our lawn, a crunchy carpet of red, orange, and yellow, and the thermometer outside our kitchen window brags that it’s over sixty degrees. It was the perfect day to be outside! We probably wouldn’t even need a coat!
“Do you want to go outside?”
“No.” The answer was definitive. My older daughter was more interested in staging her own “bow-tique” (modeled after the many-times-watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode) and pretending to be a mermaid. My younger girl is in the thick of her “copying everything her older sister does” stage and didn’t chime in.
I tried again twenty minutes later. “Do you want to go outside? It’s so nice out.”
I could have asked again. I wanted to ask again. Because in the back on my mind was that little voice: “You’re not doing anything with them. You’re not making memories. You’re wasting the day. It’ll be winter soon and then you’ll really be stuck inside. Don’t let this opportunity pass by.”
What “opportunity” would that be, though? Dragging the girls outside when they didn’t want to? Stopping the fun they were having and the memories they were making so I could impose my will on them?
And that will was totally born of Mom Guilt. Mom Guilt is a real thing. A living, breathing thing. A monster that sneaks up behind you and wraps its long, slithery tentacles around you just when you’re in the middle of real life.
It asks questions like: “Are they really having fun? Couldn’t you do so much better? Are you a GOOD ENOUGH MOM?”
It says stuff like: “But they’re just wandering around the house. You should be enriching their lives. DO BETTER NOW.”
It’s basically an asshole.
So I let us stay inside. We wandered and tickled and spun around and *gasp* watched a TV show. We didn’t do much at all. There will be no grand tales told about yesterday morning, no epic recaps for Daddy at the dinner table.
But that’s okay. Because my girls were happy. Even if it wasn’t THE BEST DAY EVER, they were content.
I’m so sick of all these voices yelling at me. I had enough of that when I was sick. I don’t deserve it anymore.
Neither do you.