Today was one of those days …
The kind where there is so much to do and no idea where to start. Laundry, dishes, dinner, balance checkbook, pay bills, vacuum, mop, drop off kids, pick up kids, shop, find lost receipts, mail rented textbooks back, blah blah blah. I’d finally finished some of it, but was in the middle of the kitchen cleaning part and Mary was on the computer. She’d been on for probably 45 minutes at least.
I emptied the dishwasher, loaded the dishwasher and was struck with a wave of guilt.
This isn’t a new guilt at all, and in fact, I discovered this weekend that I am not alone in this guilt. The guilt that sometimes I let Mary and Ben get away with stuff simply because I am choosing my battles. This is what I say to myself, when in reality, I just don’t feel like arguing. When I should play the heavy, I go take a shower. Because, hey, everyone needs a shower now and then, right?
Good gosh, I must be getting old.
I was at the swim meet on Sunday (12 hours and no AC), standing with my boss and good friend/coworker, discussing (lamenting?) the fact that we are old parents. I am (I must be) the oldest parent at the preschool, my head coach Andy is a good eight years older than I, and Candice, with whom I had the same conversation with yesterday is barely a year older than me, and we are all in the same boat. We have young kids. Like, really young. 5, 6, 7. Young enough to not always get their seat belts on by themselves, or cut their own meat, or wash their own hair. Candice and I yesterday, and Andy and I on Sunday were laughing about how, ten years from now when Mary and Duncan or Andy’s Bennett and MY Bennett (yes, they are both named Bennett, that is a whole OTHER story) turn fifteen and seventeen, we will become THAT parent.
You know the one … the seemingly loose, lackadaisical, apathetic parent. The parent that lets their kids run all over them. The parent that just sits back and lets it all happen. Not that we won’t care, because we will, but honestly? It takes so much effort to care. Its exhausting.
“Dad, can I try a beer?” says Bennett after school one day. “Sure, whatever, just give me your keys and don’t tell Mom,” says Andy because to argue means Bennett will do it behind his back anyway, right?
“Mom, can I go to Florida with all my friends for spring break without any parents? Johnny (boyfriend) is paying for everything!” says Mary her senior year in high school. “Sure, why not? Sounds like fun,” I say, when secretly I am just too exhausted to lay down the law.
“Mom, Grace (5 year older sister) has invited me to come stay with her and her roommates at college for the weekend. There’s supposedly a big party going on,” says Duncan to Candice when he’s fifteen. “Sure, whatever, just call when you get there. Grace will take care of you.” Candice rationalizes to herself.
Punish. Me. Now.
I already feel guilty about this. I already feel guilty about the fact that I know, I KNOW, Mary and Bennett and Duncan and Bennett will get away with stuff simply because we will be too tired to deal with it. I will more than likely opt for the less bumpy, less dramatic, quieter road. This makes me a bad parent.
Maybe not though. Maybe because I am feeling the guilt now, I will be less likely to feel guilty then. Maybe I’m just being proactive with my guilt? Multitasking. Getting it done now, so there is more time then to do other stuff.
Yeah, probably not. But I’ll worry about it later, I guess.