Children, Work

Mummy guilt (part 1 of many)

Today has confirmed why I said no to the suggestion of promotion and why I still refuse to apply.

Husband is away so it’s me and the boys doing our thing. I took them to breakfast club, worked, did my second c25k run, and set about the horror of Thursday afternoon meetings. Started at 12.30 and ended at just before 5pm.

Then I saw an email that needed dealing with. I don’t work Fridays anymore and I didn’t want to leave it festering over the weekend, so replied. Then I called the colleague who sent it to make sure we were on the same page. Suddenly it was 5.35pm.

Out of the door and over to school. Already feeling guilty at being so late. The back gate is shut at 5.30pm so I walked round the front, gathered the boys and went home. When there was a disagreement getting in the car, large boy almost had a meltdown.

The alarm bells started ringing. Over tired and probably hungry. I got them home and the TV on, continuing a movie from the weekend. I made them chicken dipper butties that could be eaten on the sofa – fast, easy and I knew they’d eat them. By 6.40pm it was time for PJs and my suspicions were confirmed.

Large boy lay on the sofa and moaned because I said small boy could choose what to watch before bed. He threw a teddy, sulked. Got them upstairs and small boy seemed happy enough so I left him to comfort large boy – by this point sitting naked in tears. I cuddled him and tried to negotiate a bedtime TV solution without giving in to his demand to watch the rest of the movie. Then small boy couldn’t get out of his polo shirt so he was crying too.

So I’m sitting with a 7.5yr old on my knee, soaking my top with tears over 30mins of a movie while 4yr old cries and wanders round with his head stuck.

And it’s all my fault.

I replied to one more email.

I made one last phone call.

I said no to finishing the movie to try to be fair.

In the end I handled it. I got large boy off my knee and calm (well in his PJs but lying on his bed crying still), helped small boy get out of his clothes and into PJs. We came down stairs and chose something completely different to watch. It was all quiet.

Come bedtime they were ready for sleep so teeth and story went smoothly. Large boy asked me to read to him for the first time in months, just showing how tired he was.

None of us needed that much emotion running through the house. They’re exhausted, they needed to be picked up at 5pm latest, not quarter to 6. We’ve all paid the price.

It’s been a horrid evening. But I’ve learned something.

Not applying for that promotion might not be the best for my career, but it’s best for my family. Not even because of work expectations or commitments, but because of my inability to resist doing one more thing.

I’ve made the right choice for sure. The boys don’t deserve for this to be a regular thing.

1 thought on “Mummy guilt (part 1 of many)”

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