March 19, 2008

Mommy Guilt At Its Worst

Days like today suck. It's been the kind of day that just makes me want to crawl into bed and pull the covers up over my head, not emerging until the snow has melted, the sun is shining and life has settled itself back down. I don't wish days like today upon anyone.

I went to bed last night grumpy. What I thought was a light-hearted conversation with a friend online somehow took a wrong turn (which I will gladly accept my responsibility for) and I ended up confused as to how the conversation went the way it did and sick to my stomach that she could possibly think I would question her worth or devalue her education. When I got up this morning, those feelings lingered like the soreness I feel after beating myself up at the gym. You move just right and it catches you off guard. A change in position triggers it again. Enough to make you think twice and hesitate for a second. But I didn't call. I didn't send a message. Sometimes I'm not sure what to say when I've done something wrong. I just keep my mouth shut and hope that it will just dissipate on its own.

The last couple of weeks have made me question as to whether or not me working from home, with no daycare for KT, is the best option. There are times where it works perfectly; but there are times where it is a challenge. Right now it's a challenge. I'm plugging my way through a catalog of responsibilities that can only be completed between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday. When regular people work. So there are times when she is awake that I'm trying to balance tending to her and fulfilling my job responsibilities at the same time. We've tossed around the idea of putting her in daycare a couple of days a week but have gone no further than making initial phone calls regarding openings and cost.

I started off the day feeling incredibly guilty for having to work and not being able to give my child my undivided attention. In an attempt to make myself feel less guilty, I vowed to set aside specific time for her when she was awake. Time for just the two of us, together.

After breakfast we were sitting in the recliner reading when my cell phone rang. Based upon the ringtone I knew that it was a work related call. And it was one that I couldn't let go unanswered--so much for one on one time with no work interruptions. So I left KT to sit in the chair with her book while I got up to grab my phone. I wrapped up the phone call quickly (the call timer said 47 seconds) and as I turned to set my phone on the kitchen counter she must have taken that opportunity to stand up in the chair and reach over the armrest for something on the table next to her. As I turned back towards the living room I heard her hit the wood floor. My heart probably stopped beating for a split second. Much to my surprise (and horror) she didn't immediately start screaming. Because she had fallen off the side of the chair opposite where I was in the kitchen, I didn't see it happen and didn't see how she landed. I just heard it.

I couldn't get to her fast enough. I scooped her up off of the floor and began checking for a bump. Almost immediately she threw up all over both of us and started crying. As I was talking to the nurse on the phone she threw up again, solidifying a trip to the ER for evaluation. I stripped my clothes off as quickly as I could, changing into something that smelled clean. She laid on the floor, whimpering with her eyes closed, puking a third time. I still couldn't move fast enough.

I raced across town to the hospital, pulling C out of a meeting to tell him what had happened and asking he meet us there. All the way thinking about how I shouldn't have answered the phone, how I shouldn't have left her in the chair by herself, how I shouldn't have stayed in the kitchen to finish my phone call. I'd woken up feeling guilty about working as it was; this only exemplified the feelings.

There's no concussion, thankfully. Although she does have a wonderfully purplish-red bruise on her forehead and some slight swelling that showed on the CT scan. After all of the excitement we came home and she's been asleep for almost 3 hours. I can hear her talking to herself right now in her crib, sounding as though everything is perfectly fine.

Too bad it wasn't so easy for me to feel better.


Jessica said...

First off...((hugs)) to you. Mommy guilt can eat away so easy at us. It's always going to be there, because we love our little ones so much. I'm just sorry that what happened today happened, but really all you can do is be thankful that she's ok, and she's going to be fine. It's amazing how resilient these kids are to everything that happens. Thank god they probably won't remember half of what happens to them when they're little!

Hang in there mommy. We know that you're a great mommy, and I know that it's hard to not replay everything in your mind. Just know that these things happen to the best of us. We all have some kind of battle wounds from our childhood of stuff that happened to us (Both C and I have nice little scars to remind us of that!).

I hope that tomorrow will be a better day for all of you. Love you all.

Flying Monkeys said...

First of all, your friend is probably on the rag and we all have sticks up our butts at one time or another. I bet she has a big butt and therefore a big stick fits in it. It'll blow over, it probably already has.
I'm amazed that we all don't have brain damage from all the head blows we take as toddlers learning to walk and test our boundaries. You're not a bad mommy because she fell or because you work. You need to do what you guys feel is best for your family. Daycare a couple days a week isn't going to take away what you already give her, it might enable you to give her more.

DD said...

Dang those disproportionate little bodies of theirs that make them top-heavy!

I watched my son at that age trip on the sidewalk and take a header into the pavement. I died a million times over b/c I was sure I should have been closer; I should have held his hands; I should have seen that ant he tripped over...

Don't let the guilt take over. It's more important that when/if something happens you keep your head in the game and you did.

peter said...

You are a wonderful mom and KT is so lucky to have someone as great as you. And I know exactly the feeling of guilt you are talking about...and I'm never quite sure what to do about it either. I usually end up on the heavy apology route which ends up sounding really lame. Maybe someday I'll just not ever make mistakes...Yeah, right!

Keep at it, girl.

Jessica said...

Mommy guilt gets me all the time!! :( Especially when Eli fell down the stairs and even after our car accident (even though it wasn't my fault)...I still felt guilty!

I am so sorry you had to go through awful!! I hope little Katie's head is getting better!! Poor thing! It's amazing our resilient they are at this age...seriously!! Eli fell off our couch yesterday, hit his head on the floor hard...and just jumped right back up, like it was no big deal! Wow!!

Kristin, Rod, and Victoria said...

So sorry, friend. Sorry I haven't been keeping up to date on the blog to have known what was going on sooner than today. You obviously made the right move taking K to the ER, but that in itself adds stress to an already rough day.

Glad it sounds like Thursday was better for you, though.

Wish you were here, I'd watch her for ya for super cheap (even free!) so you could have some time to get stuff done.

It's possible you don't need as much time for work as you think - as if you don't continually have to stop working to check on her, attend to her needs, and can just focus on work, you'll be tons more efficient. Just a thought.

Hugs to you, tho.