This morning, soon after my four-year-old woke up, I told her that today’s plan was to go to the trampoline park. She screamed with excitement. I smiled. We got dressed. Then my husband groaned and stumbled out of bed into the bathroom. Soon after, he plopped back down in bed, struck by the same illness I had a few days ago.
Then my two-year-old woke up and turned into a whiny snuggle monster. A whiny snuggle monster with a 101 fever.
And I learned the “Mom Lesson” that I probably should have learned a good three years ago: never tell a child that you’re going somewhere fun until you’re in the car, EN ROUTE TO SAID FUN PLACE.
Because oh, man, was that child disappointed. That child has also been chronically sleep deprived over the past month or so, waking up in the middle of the night once or twice despite NEVER HAVING DONE THIS BEFORE. Which made the letdown so much worse. So now I had two whiny kids on my hands. And a husband in bed.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if we didn’t have a vision in our minds of how the morning was going to go. If I didn’t feel bad for taking that excitement away from her. If I didn’t then have to focus most of my attention on her sister, who needed snuggles and Tylenol and wasn’t very excited at all at the idea of going outside to play.
It’s hard to feel like you’re neglecting a child. It’s even harder to feel like you’re neglecting a child when that child is struggling, too. But tired and whiny isn’t as bad as sick and whiny. So sometimes you have to make a choice. You have to focus your attention in a certain place.
I know that she’ll be okay. I know that it’s just one day. I know that she’s learning about disappointment and that me scolding her about her whining is going to teach her something.
That doesn’t make it any less sucky, though.
Mom guilt, man. It never ends.