It's mornings like today's that make me seethe at posts about "choosing" your career over family, working or staying at home, or worse, words such as "I'm raising my own children." My choice is feeding my family or moving in with my parents, living off my savings and then trying to find a job, or sticking with a job I don't love but adds to my savings and pays the bills. I didn't choose to be where I am, but even if I had known the future I would still have had my children. I love being a mom and rarely feel guilt about working, perhaps it's because my mom worked (she actually had the choice).
What I feel guilt about is when I yell at my kids because I'm frustrated about my life, and hearing about the choice crap pisses me off. Many more women do not have the choice then do. I think having oodles of children when you can barely afford one is wrong, but I also want all people to have the opportunity to choose whether or not to have children. I know it's my own issue, and I know I'm lucky to have a job and nearby family and a husband who helps out with the kids a lot, but these topics still gets to me.
It's a school holiday, and my kids have known for a week today was Y day at a different school. I sort of knew knew they didn't really want to go, but remained optimistic at their excitement over "wheels" day. Dad was going to take them, but my meeting got pushed out this morning, so last night I packed their lunches, instructed them to find their helmets and planned a 9am departure, one full hour later than school.
This morning started with tears, Keegan next to me, waking dad up, sobbing about having to go. Pleas to go directly to grandma and grandpas. Donovan kicked off the morning with this chant "no school today! no Y today! no school today!" I am finally learning this is his idea of a joke, with a large dose of his own special reality thrown in, and I try not to react, although don't always succeed. So under protests and complaints of missing helmets "so I won't get to ride the scooter" we set off.
Knowing this doesn't help,but unable to stop myself, I lecture the kids on the way, telling them how much worse so many kids have it. Some have to work at 8 years old, some don't get to play outside. Keegan sheepishly apologizes. I do too. Donovan is silent until we arrive. He has several friends there, his brother is there. There are footballs and rubber balls and a guy doing tricks on a skateboard. They are blowing up a bouncy house for god's sake, his favorite thing in the world. But in a twisted version of deja vu, I end up with Donovan in tears, clinging to me, while Keegan plays football.
Keegan was the child who cried every morning for the first two weeks of the three weeks of camp (and then begged to go to a 4th) and three weeks of kindergarten. Donovan made a new best friend at each new school and camp he attended. So now the roles are reversed, and Donovan is running after me, telling me how he hates "wheels day" and this school. I'm sad, and pissed and at a loss. I feel like I have the only kid in the world who does this. He's become Keegan at 5. I totally lose it. I sit him down and tell him I'll get fired if I miss this meeting. Which is total and utter bullshit. I threaten to tell grandpa not to pick him up.
The reality is they don't have to be there...my dad would pick them up right then and there; I could skip work without a lot of repercussions (but no pay, either); they could go with their dad to the doctor's appt. But I paid for this day and I'd rather have them throwing a ball around with their friends than sitting inside somewhere.
Donovan puts his head on the table and yells at me to leave. I do and halfway to the car realize I forgot to ask about something. It's a made up excuse to go back, I know that. I don't know if it's guilt, or anger, or just the worry that I have no idea what I'm doing as a parent that brings me back. By the time I finish getting my question answered, both kids are catching the football. I'm sure he had a good time. I won't see them until tomorrow, so I can't start fresh then I hope.