After some quality snuggling yesterday morning, I took Grace to school as if it were any other day, and had John pick her up afterwards, a day earlier than our usual custody schedule. I love that little bug more than anything in the world, but it was my birthday. And honestly? I wanted to write, relax, have wine and cheese for dinner and sleep late this morning. I wanted to watch any movie that didn't involve Narnia or animation. (We chose "The Reader" — awesome.) I wanted to blog and fart around on facebook and do all the things I feel guilty about when Grace is home, because I'm not giving her my undivided attention. I did NOT want to deal with whining, tantrums, timeouts and a runny nose. But I missed her, of course. I enjoyed my day but something was missing — and I ended up feeling guilty anyway.
I read a blog post recently (which I should have bookmarked because I can't find it anywhere) about how harshly mothers judge other mothers, and it really hit home. I have both judged and been judged. Neither is much fun, or at all productive. It certainly doesn't contribute to the sense of community that mothers should feel, particularly when most of us are struggling to find what works best for us and our families, when we are trying to balance motherhood with work, life and being true to ourselves. For some moms, this isn't a struggle at all. They love being at home with their kids and do a fantastic job of it. Or they love going to work and don't think twice about putting their kids in daycare. The rest of us bumble along, trying to find the right path and constantly second-guessing our choices. I learned quickly that I wasn't cut out to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. This came as a surprise, because it was what I thought I wanted. It never occurred to me that I would still want, still need, to tend to the non-mom parts of my life that made me who I was before I became a mom.
Grace is loved, and she knows it. I may not sacrifice everything for her, but I certainly have tightened the criteria for what I choose to spend time on. I won't be wasting anymore of it judging other moms.