missing the milestone
By monica o'malley
Today my 6 month old son sat in a swing for the first time. And he loved it.
Or so I heard.
I wasn’t there. I was home working.
It’s at these moments when I feel such an overwhelming anger at our babysitter, that, mind you, I can never actually express to her (because I’m not really a crazy person without any shred of reason left). But I’m so hurt and so mad and so overwhelmed and why?! Because she put the baby in the swing without even asking? Because she probably doesn’t even realize what a big deal it was? Because she’s been the one to catch these big moments? How about mainly I’m mad because I wasn’t there myself.
Today it was his first time swinging. Tomorrow it could be his first steps. Am I going to miss that, too? You don’t get a do-over on these moments, you just miss them. And I hate that.
#momguilt is such a real and overwhelming and oppressive thing, and it suffocates all of us parents at one time another. Guilt for missing the baby roll over. Guilt for not sharing homemade cupcakes with the class for his birthday. Guilt for not catching her first home run.
But there’s also the guilt we feel when we LIKE doing our work. When we LIKE not having to fight about brushing teeth because the nanny’s got it. When we LIKE not being covered in milk/juice/spaghetti sauce/boogers/any other sundry bodily fluids. When we LIKE the silence of being alone.
And that guilt is real, too. Because we’re not supposed to like being away from our beloved children, right? …but we do. So how do we reconcile these two things? How do we take time for work (or our partners, or just our own-darn-selves) and not miss the moments?
I mean, I don’t know. I’m right here with you. But I think what we have to face and accept is that sometimes we will fall behind deadlines. Sometimes we won’t shower for a few days. Sometimes we will miss the moment. We literally cannot be in more than one place at one time and we have to be gentle with ourselves for this.
So we reset, kiss the kids and the partner and the dog and the sky good-night, and get ready for another crazy, full, and rewarding day.