The Parenting Guilt Scale

Last night I had to do that thing that all parents have to do at some point (at least I hope all parents do, if you’ve never done this I don’t want to know) and I had to basically tell my kids they couldn’t do the thing they wanted to do because I had too much to do.

I’ve got a new volunteer position and it involves editing an outdated website. There’s a new one in trial mode, but until it’s launched I’m editing a web page originally created in Frontpage. I had forgotten how terrible Frontpage was with dumping so much crap in headers and what not. It’s taking me awhile to find where things are hidden both in the directories and in the HTML itself. One page I had to edit last night had nonbreaking space entities ( ) creating space for columns and y’all? I DIED. Seeing that literally killed me.

ANYWAY…I just started this new job like a week ago and I’m trying to play catch up which is going a little slower than it should as I learn directory structures and delete thousands of unnecessary nonbreaking spaces and I REALLY needed a couple hours to just clear the inbox for the job so I could have a better chance of staying caught up. BUT – there was a big Challenger Commemoration ceremony at the kid’s school. Their school is named after the mission, after all. And they were so excited and I tried to get Donnie to take them but he wasn’t going to be able to so I basically had to beg them to skip.

And they did and they weren’t even too terrible about it.

I did get caught up, the email for that job now has an empty inbox. But this morning I see all of the photos and videos from last night and I feel bad. Not terrible, because I was raised by a single Dad who worked on his Masters for awhile so we weren’t always able to do things we wanted to do, and I turned out fine. But I do feel a little guilty. I firmly believe it’s important to have a life outside parenting, I know my kids need to see me doing things for ME, or for other people, not just for THEM. This is one of those times, they know how much I wanted this job (I HAD TO BE ELECTED, GUYS. I HAD TO GIVE A SPEECH. IT WAS AWFUL.) so in the big picture I know that decision is not a huge deal and they weren’t even that upset about it, they really weren’t upset at all. They were disappointed for a few minutes and then I told them they could have cereal for dinner and they were fine.

On a guilt scale of 1-10 I’m only feeling about a 4 or 5, so not too terrible, but I do feel a little bad that everyone might be talking about that today and they won’t be.

Not as terrible as I felt on Sunday when I had to call my oldest child and say, “Hey! We can’t come see you for your birthday because my race got moved!” Now, on that day? I felt a giant 10. He doesn’t need me for much of anything and the ONE thing he wanted from me – a birthday visit – I had to move because of my race. We did see him on Wednesday but we had to miss school and work to do it and because of his crazy schedule we drove the 2 1/2 hours to see him, visited a while, ate lunch, and then had to basically come right back home since he had rehearsal that night. If we had come on Sunday we would have been able to spend more time with him. BUT NO! The snow had to reschedule my big race.

SO – yeah. It’s been a week of parenting guilt. I know it’s not a huge deal big picture, but my logical brain that “knows” that does not control my emotional brain that feels like a giant piece of poop about it all.

1 thought on “The Parenting Guilt Scale”

  1. I am terrible, TERRIBLE, about not doing things for the children because of something I need/want to do. And granted, they are young (3 and 5), but I also think that it’s super important for them to know that they aren’t the center of everything I do. And yet I DO make them the center, so I feel guilty about NOT saying no.

    Parenting guilt is weird.

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