THE GUILT GAMES

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So, it’s soccer season- again.  And, softball season.  Next month, it will be swim team season.  To everything there is a season, it seems.  For me personally, it’s work-full-time-and-try-to-get-the-laundry-done-season.  (My fave.)  During most weeks, my son has two soccer practices and one game and my daughter has two to four softball practices/games.  I give myself a break by providing transport to, but not staying for, their practices.  I do try to make most of the games, but last weekend, I felt totally justified in missing my son’s (rainy) soccer game after having hosted my daughter’s birthday sleepover the night before.  Staying up until 1:30 am with a gaggle of giggling girls is draining work, man.

Ah, but maybe the truth is that I didn’t feel totally justified in skipping the game or I wouldn’t be writing this particular blog.  I wanted to feel okay about missing it, but I actually felt pretty guilty.  Especially when my son called from the car on the way to the game to ask, “Whyaren’t you going to make it, Mom?”

“Well, I’m… um… I’m at the mall with Alison and we’re… um… thinking of getting pedicures,” I stammered.  “I mean, I thought the game would be rained out- it’s still raining! Even yourdad thought they would call it. Plus, I just spent an entire night with five nine years-olds!”

Have you ever found yourself being defensive in a conversation with your child?  If so, you’ll understand when I say that it wasn’t my finest hour.

Anyway, I briefly thought of leaving my friend- with whom I’d made plans when I was justcertain that the game would be cancelled- and heading out to Mink Shoals to see him play.  But, then, I just didn’t.  I just didn’t want to change my plans to go stand in the rain and watch soccer.  I had told him I wasn’t coming and that I hoped he had a great game. I reminded him that his dad was there and that I’d been to countless soccer games over the years.  And, I had just been in full-on slumber party chaperone mode for sixteen hours straight-  I needed a break!

 I wasn’t missing my pedi, see?!

Okay, so perhaps I have some lingering guilt.  But, that’s the thing… is this mommy guilt ever going to go away? I mean, I’m Catholic, so probably not.  But, it should, right?  Or, is guilt just part of the parental landscape?

My best friend and my boyfriend like to point out that their parents didn’t attend all of their extra-curricular activities.  I think my mom came to most of my recitals when I was little, but not every game when I was a cheerleader, and I know she wasn’t there to see me do all of my keg stands.  (Oh, wait… that doesn’t count as actual gymnastics.) But, I don’t remember feeling slighted when she missed things.

At some point,  I hope that my kids are interested in participating in sports or the arts- or whatever- because they enjoy doing it rather than for the audience factor.  Although, I have to admit, while I enjoy the act of writing, I still want people to read what I’ve written.  And, for those same people to comment on what I’ve written.  (Ahem.)

So, how ‘bout it?  Do you make it to all of your children’s activities?  Have you ever missed one just because you didn’t want to go?  Am I the worst parent ever?

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