Mother’s Life

N is taking Klara to Chicago to get her passport renewed. I’m not going because I finally have an appointment with an otolaryngologist and I can’t take any more of this ear situation. While they are away, I’m planning to go to a movie and order takeout.

This whole thing is plunging me into paroxysms of guilt. Guilt that I’m selfishly choosing my ear and guilt that I’m planning to enjoy a movie and takeout instead of rending my garments with shame because I’ve abandoned my family.

Please don’t tell me this is dumb. I know it’s dumb. It’s a feeling. It’s not a rational choice.


8 thoughts on “Mother’s Life

  1. Enjoy it! I don’t think many people realize how rare it is for moms to have the whole house to themselves. And for introvert moms, that can be incredibly draining over time. Don’t feel guilty (unless you want to). It’s great for them to do things together, just the two of them. Just as it’s great for you to take care of yourself and occasionally get the chance to do something you want to do without needing to include or consider anyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never being totally alone (and really craving to be) has been one of the harder things about marriage and family, yet something very few people (as in, no people) ever discuss. It’s always “You don’t want to be alone! It’s hard to be alone!” and never “It’s hard to constantly be surrounded by people who need things from you.” Usually, my office is my oasis of solitude. During the pandemic, with everyone at home, it was really hard not having that outlet.

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      1. Oh, yeah. IMO it’s the hardest part of marriage and family. Little kids are so hungry for love and attention. And we homeschool. I admit there are times I wish I could just go off to a tedious data-entry job a couple days a week so I could spend several hours having only bare-minimum, non-emotionally-taxing interactions with other people. People I don’t have to care about, who don’t need constant positive social reinforcement from me.

        And I miss getting to do stuff without being interrupted all the time. Even when the project was stupid and tedious. But especially the nice stuff I used to do with my copious spare time. I used to make things that were cool and beautiful– I sewed embroidered silk-lined bags just to wrap Christmas presents in. People I gave them to kept them for years– long after they’d forgotten what the present inside was. Haven’t done that in a decade– it’s too hard to have the pins and sewing scissors out, with toddlers around. My old sketchbooks are dying from loneliness, and I used to live for the smell of graphite and conte crayons. It was better than fresh cookies. But all their magic depends on solitude to work– just one person looking over my shoulder or tugging on my elbow takes that magical potential and kills it– it deflates into inert matter. A pencil and paper, and I can’t think of anything to do with them.

        I figure… my youngest will get older, and it’ll gradually get better. Then, maybe, I can take up some of my old tools again. I did show my 10yo recently how to put together a proportional drawing by holding a stick at arm’s length to measure the distances and copy them onto paper. It was irrationally gratifying to find I could still do it. I was so afraid it had withered away from neglect. In the meantime, the children are their own sort of magical work. Everything in its time.

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  2. “plunging me into paroxysms of guilt”

    I’ve spoken to the editors of Bad Mothers Monthly and they’re saving the cover for you next month. Perhaps they can set up a photo shoot of you surrounded by takeout and laughing… if you any pictures of Klara looking really sad that would be a great addition!

    Liked by 1 person

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