It rears its ugly head at least once a day, usually when I give my children too many sweets or when I climb into bed and realize I didn't read one book to one child. (And I'm supposed to be a homeschool teacher.)
But there is one particular place that almost always invokes a high intensity of mother-guilt.
For one thing, just pulling into the parking lot in the old mini-van gets me pegged. Tired mother, not cooking dinner.
Then, the first big dilemma: the playground.
I have three options.
- Follow the rules and take off the kids' shoes, leaving socks in place as requested on that big posted sign. The mother-guilt erupts right when the first kid slips on the tile floor in their socks, or cries halfway up the too-slippery slide (not that my children ever climb up the slide.).
- Ignore the rules and make the children go barefoot on the playground. EWWW. One child with hand-and-foot disease and we're quarantined for a week. At the very least, my children go home with disgusting feet.
- Cook dinner at home.
My other dilemma: do you really force your kids to eat all of their dinner before they get ice cream? From a health perspective, can the ice cream really be worse than the chicken nuggets? If the mother-guilt for allowing my children to climb the slide hadn't paralyzed me by now, the idea of just ordering ice cream and french fries should.
But today, I broke free. Oh yes, I did. While Real Gil took the girls on a date to see a movie, I pulled into McDonald's, shrugged off that ridiculous and deceptive guilt, and didn't even lose eye contact with the guy behind the cash register when I gave our order: one small fry and an m&m McFlurry.
The Little Man was happy, I enjoyed my favorite magazine for a half hour, and we went home with clean feet because we broke the rules - and went on the playground wearing shoes.
I'm feeling liberated tonight!
Resting in Him,