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Mommy Guilt

Our little family of three has spent a lot of time together recently, with the hurricane drama and the cancelling of school for a week. Maya and I did many many art projects together. We played Mouse Trap and Twister and Jenga and Dominos. We put mats on our floor and did jiu-jitsu. (Ok so maybe that was for Matthew and I but Maya played too!) Here is our hurricane shelter (aka our Brooklyn living room):
Photo: Our hurricane shelter. Overprepared much?
Photo: We have dubbed today " break all the rules day" Hence the makeup. Honey boo boo eat your heart out.At one point Maya and I donned fancy dresses and makeup (!) and had a dance party. Honey Boo Boo eat your heart out!
We took walks when we could. Late in the week some local parents and I tore down the caution tape on the gate to our local playground and enjoyed an hour of beautiful sunshine and fresh air. We also kept up our regular schedule of classes at the dojo. And I was dealing with my own issues of insomnia, stress and evil antibiotics that made me feel like my stomach was battling a T-Rex. 

Still we got by. Some of it was even fun. More importantly, we were amazingly lucky during the storm. We had power the whole time and no damage to our home or our neighborhood. So nothing but gratitude here. 

And then yesterday Maya turned 5. Both Matthew and I worked hard all day to give her a good birthday. I baked her a cake covered in colorful flowers. Matthew, bless his heart, cut up about a hundred flowers for an art project. (And he thinks art is about as much fun as the dentist. In fact, he would probably prefer the dentist.) She had a wonderful joint birthday party with one of her best friends and came home with many exciting presents, which she wanted to play with all evening.

All and all, a very good day.

But it is Daylight Savings weekend. And the body clock of my sweet little five year old does not understand  Daylight Savings. She is up at 6:15, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and wants to do a project. Ever since Maya was 3 years old we have had a 7am rule; that is she has to stay in her room until at least 7. If she wants to get out of bed and play, fine, but mommy sleeps until 7. So this morning she opened up one of her new toys, a necklace making kit complete with beads, bottle caps, markers, stickers, everything a five year old girl adores. She lay all the materials out in a neat little pile on the floor of her room, ready for action. The problem was she did not know how to put the thing together. 

Here come the little feet into my bedroom. Here comes the little voice into my half awake ears. "Mommy can you just show me how to do this?"

Post hurricane week.
No school for days.
Still behind on sleep.
Did I mention it was 6:30 am?

I said no. I am sorry but I did. And then when she went into her room with tears in her eyes I felt terrible. So I got up and hugged her. I helped her clean up the project and promised we could do it after school. (We did.) And then I let her come into my bed until 7.

I do an awful lot for Maya. There is no reason why I should be expected to get out of bed at 6:30 in the morning to string beads. No one else would get out of bed at 6:30 in the morning to string beads. (If you would you win the supermom award. Goody goody for you.) Yet I felt bad about that sad abandoned project all day.

It is really important for us mommies to balance our time. We need yoga class, wine after bedtime. We need dinner dates at places that do not have high chairs. We need sleep. But sometimes finding this balance is HARD. And sometimes we feel guilty. Or at least I do.

Last week I wrote a Facebook post about allowing Maya to watch some extra TV on a day I was feeling particularly stressed. We all do this. And it is fine. Really it is. It does not make us bad parents. On the contrary, taking that hour to close my eyes made me a better mom later on that afternoon. 

But dammit why did she have to take out all the pieces? And set them up so nicely all by herself? And come to me all sweet and hopeful?

It's like they know exactly what to do to get us right there, right in the heart. Like those tiny kisses on your cheek, so soft it is almost as if you imagined them. Like the first time your baby says "I love you mommy." 

I never fell back asleep. But it was worth the effort anyway. IT WAS!

My little Maya is five now. 
Is that what this is all about?


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