Monday, November 12, 2007

Parenthood Is All About the Guilt

Why is it that the longer you're a parent, the more things you have to feel guilty about?

I realize that no one gets a perfect childhood. And since becoming a mommy, I've discovered that even the moms who seem to have it all -- great kids who do what they're told and sleep well, partners who really help out and co-parent and (my biggest envy) the immaculate, beautifully decorated home -- even they have parenting issues they feel guilty about.

One of my favorite comics recently had a strip about it:

But even laughing over it doesn't stop my guilt.

I feel bad that Ellie isn't getting the introduction to school that I wanted for her, an excellent preschool run by our synagogue where she would have attended three days a week for just 2.5 hours a day. Instead, she leaves home by 6:30 a.m. and doesn't get home until a little before 5 p.m., sometimes later. And instead of loving school, she insists she doesn't have any fun there, she doesn't have any friends there, and she doesn't want to go.

I know that's not all true. They do tons of art projects, which she loves. She does make some friends (and even got invited to one girl's very small birthday party). But one of the problems is that as soon as she gets attached to a child, that child gets potty trained and moves up into the "preschool" class. And Ellie is not at all interested in becoming potty trained.

But I loved school. In fact, I was happier there than at home when I was a child. I was even one of those kids who dreaded summer because I missed school! And I really wanted to share that love of school with Ellie and get her off to a good start at enjoying school and learning.

I know that if it weren't for this illness that's defying diagnosis and won't seem to go away that there would be plenty of other things for me to feel guilty about. It seems to be one of the after effects of giving birth that no one warned me about.

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