Guilt as a parent is inescapable. I've actually gotten pretty good at brushing things off and realizing that different people do things different ways, but sometimes that guilt just finds a way to fight through and stab relentlessly at your brain.
Today is my Mommy's Day Off. I have been planning this for months. I had L scheduled to go to daycare, and I had made plans to get a manicure, go to lunch, and just basically enjoy to feeling of having a day to myself where I answer to no one else but me. I didn't even schedule it out much because I wanted to savor the freedom of being able to say to myself, "Now what?" and then being able to do whatever my self answered.
As this day approached, I got more and more excited. I started talking about it incessantly to D. Honestly, I think I was more excited about today than I get about Christmas. Just the possibilities and the freedom. I'm getting tingly just thinking about it.
So this morning started off pretty good. I forgot to turn on the baby monitor in our room and, as a result, my parents got L up and took him with them on their walk. I got to sleep in until 7:45. (And I'm not being sarcastic when I say "sleep in".) Heavenly.
Then I got up and got him ready and loaded him up into the car. I already knew what I was going to do after I dropped him off at daycare - I was going to go to the local bakery and get a salt bagel for breakfast.
As I drove to daycare, I enjoyed the feeling of listening to my favorite radio morning shows without the usual dread and sadness that accompany the shows when I'm listening to them on the way to work.
I pulled up to my daycare lady's house (Brenda, if you recall), and noticed that the house seemed rather dark. I went to open the door and it was locked. So I peered in and saw only a light on in the very back of the house. I knocked and waiting. Nothing.
Knocked again. Nothing.
Of course, I'd left my cell phone at home, so I could not call back to my dad and have him check the schedule to make sure I'd actually scheduled Brenda for the day. In my mind, my Mommy Day was going up in flames.
I didn't know what to do. Finally, I just decided to ring the bell. After a couple minutes, I saw Brenda come downstairs, somewhat disheveled.
She opened the door and said, "I'm not scheduled for today!" My heart sunk. I was 99.7% certain that she was scheduled for today, but that .3% of self doubt seemed to be a lot bigger at that moment. So I just said, "Are you sure?" and she let me in so she could check her schedule.
She looked at the calendar that she had made, which included all the other kids she watched, and it showed no kids for today, L included. But I still as pretty sure that I'd scheduled her, so I said, "Do you have the schedule I made?"
As she went to look for it, she said, "Well I can take him today, I don't have anything else going on. I just realized when I woke up this morning that I had nothing going on, so I decided to go back to bed." Enter Stabbing Guilt.
She found the schedule and sure enough, I'd scheduled her for today. A huge part of me wanted to say, "You know, that's ok. I'll just take him home. I'm not working today, it's no big deal." But then I realized that she might be annoyed that I'd scheduled her in the first place on a day I wasn't working, and I didn't want her to think I made a habit of bringing L to her when I had the day off. She might be further annoyed that I rang the doorbell and woke her up when I could have easily turned around and went home and let her sleep.
So I said, "Are you sure? I'm so sorry." And then I kept apologizing. And she said it was ok, it was her fault, etc. By then, the guilt was absolutely raging and I was completely torn.
Add that to the fact that I had planned on telling her I was pregnant, but I thought the better of it. It didn't seem like a good time to tell her that I was bringing more day-off-ruining spawn into the world.
So I came home, looking for a little reassuring from my parents, but instead I got the looks like, "You should have just brought the baby home with you but we don't want to say anything because we don't want to start something." Didn't do much to appease me.
So I went upstairs and woke D up and told him my story in brief, hoping for him to say, "You've been talking about this day for months, you had her scheduled, it was her mistake, not yours, now go enjoy your day." Instead he gave me a similar look and didn't say anything. By that point I was near tears and said, "You think I should have just brought L home?" and he said, "Well, yeah, you could have just seen if your dad would watch him while you went to get your manicure."
As if that's what this whole day is about! Let me tell you, I was not excited about this day because of the stupid manicure. I mean, yes, I am excited to go get my manicure. But that's not the point! The point is that I had a day all to myself, a day that is only mine - not my bosses', not D's, not L's, not my parents', not the house's; mine. Call me selfish, but when a day like that is in my grasp, and someone snatches it away and offers a manicure as a consolation prize, it doesn't seem like much.
I'm not even going to re-read this post before I publish it because I know I'm going to realize that I sound like a spoiled, whiny brat and I don't think I can take that self-awareness in my fragile state of mind (so please excuse any typos). I'm just going to wipe this morning out of my memory and go about my day. And I'm going to make myself enjoy it.