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Mommy Guilt — In My Dreams

I woke up with tears on my face early this morning. I had been dreaming about being browbeaten by the director of a local nursery school — someone who has known me since Big Girl was three. I can’t remember everything about the dream, but I remember the gist of it. She was telling me what a horrible mother I am, saying I was hurting my kid. The dream was so real, probably because it’s something I worry about on a daily basis.

I worry that I work too much. I worry that I’m not spending enough time helping the little one learn to read and write. I worry that I focus too much on education with the big one. I worry that they don’t eat enough. I worry that the little one rarely has playdates, and the big one thinks I do too much for the little one. I worry that they will become sick or get hurt. I worry that my big one takes on the weight of the world just like I did as a child. I worry that they hear my husband and I when we fight. I worry that they will care as much about being successful as I do or as little as my husband does. Looking at this list it’s no wonder that I am always on edge. The only time I relax completely is in yoga or on a spin bike, when I am writing, or when I am sleeping, and now I’m being called out in my dreams, too! This sucks.

I didn’t tell anyone about my dream. I got out of bed, made lunch for the big one, listened to her yelp as I fixed her hair and force-fed her cereal, and drove her to school. The little one leaves early in the day with Daddy, who drops her off on his way to work. It’s haunted me all day, though, even as I sit here reaching out to interview subjects for a feature story I am working on, so I thought maybe writing it all down would help me put it to rest — at least for a little while.

The choices we’ve made may not always be right, but they are the best we can do with what we’ve got — sort of like how my mother did the best she could do with what she had. She didn’t get it right every time, but she always loved me. I know that. I remember the love more than I remember the crappy stuff. I have to hope my kids feel the same when they grow up.

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