It has been one of those weeks. Lots of pressure at the EDJ (Evil Day Job), my daughter brought home what my pop would have called the galloping crud (horrific cold), and passed it first to her father and then to me. AND I’m working on a revision of a novel when I’d rather be writing the SHINY new idea I have.
But wait. It gets better. Husband is working this afternoon, so child, who is still sick and STILL stumping around on her broken foot, has no way to get home from school other than to walk. Now, it’s not terribly far – a little over a mile – but she IS sick and her foot still isn’t completely healed. But I work 35 miles from home and there was no way I could take off early to pick her up. I felt guilty, she looked miserable when I dropped her off this morning, but there it was. We were both going to have to deal with it.
Then, at 2:35 (about the time said child would have started walking home), as I’m sitting in my office, I notice this sound overhead. A sound like demons from a variety of hells are trampling across the roof of my building along with their pet wildebeests. I stand up, go towards the windows at the front and see that the skies have opened up and rain is falling like a recreation of the biblical flood. All I can think is that my poor baby is walking home, sick, feverish, with a broken foot… IN THE POURING RAIN!
Clearly I am The Worst Mom Ever.
But I’m caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. I could not have left work early, nor could I have kept her home from school just because she might have to hoof it. So for a full hour (until she called to tell me she was home), I sat and stewed about it, lost productivity, and felt huge amounts of working mother guilt.
Kind of like when I finally find an hour free of other people’s obligations and I realize I can sit down to write. Suddenly, I’m wracked with guilt about not taking the laundry out of the dryer or addressing those Christmas cards (from last year) or weeding the garden or walking his Admiralship. So I sit in front of my lap top and dither. And fret. And wring my hands. Well, okay, I probably don’t actually wring my hands, but you get the point. So my hour of writing time dwindles to nothing and not only do I not get much writing done, I don’t get any of those other tasks done either.
The thing I need to learn is that feeling guilty never gets anything done. You make the best choices you can, and then you just need to commit to whatever it is you’re doing at that moment. Instead of wringing my hypothetical hands, I could have been doing something that would have made a difference. Today, that would have been earning my paycheck. Other times, I could have finished a chapter. As it was, I got nothing accomplished besides aggravating my ulcer!
As it turned out, the child is smarter than I give her credit for. She found a friend whose mom offered to drive her home. She was tucked up in the house before the rain even started. So I worried and felt guilty for no reason at all.
I’m a mom – so I suppose I’ll always worry. But next time, I’ll leave the guilt monster out in the rain.
Illegitimi non carborundum!