I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mommy Guilt

Today I went to see my friend Jayne (tangent: and deliver some totally fabulous birthday cakes made by moi, to celebrate her twin's 4th birthday). Anyway turns out she and I have more in common than we thought - we're both dealing with having kids who need speech therapy, and kids who have behaviours/issues which fall under the (very large) autism spectrum umbrella. So she and I got to talking about how damn hard it is to actually DO the things the therapists need and want you to do with your kids. A lot of therapy for kids is based in play - various task-oriented games (some verbal, some written, some physical) - which help them learn the skills they need to learn. Both Jayne and I have to find the time to play these games with our kids - it's not a matter of want, it's a matter of need. She commented (quite wisely) that she often feels an enormous amount of "Mommy Guilt" when she can't get the games done. After all, these kids cannot possibly "fix" themselves. They rely totally on us, the parents, to help them to achieve the goals they need to achieve in order to live happy, fulfilling lives.

Mommy Guilt, as she pointed out, is something which follows you around. Like an annoying puppy, old boyfriend, bad hair or that story about you getting drunk and dancing topless in Vegas, it just never really disappears. You find yourself fraught with questions - Am I doing enough for him? What if I'm doing too much? How will he learn on his own? How will I fit in these games? What if I/we are not doing them right? If you miss a therapy session or a game, then the Mommy Guilt follows with more questions: How will he ever learn to speak properly? How will he cope in school? How could I let him down like that? Mommy Guilt is something that I suspect you never really get rid of - perhaps it just changes in it's degree. You find yourself constantly questioning the things you didn't do, the things you did do, and the things should should have, could have, would have done, IF ONLY (insert qualifier here.)

I find it near impossible to fit in all the games the therapist wants us to play. Sure, it's only maybe 5-10 minutes a day - but that's x 3 since ALL of them want to have a turn (or several turns). It's also x infinity, because there are 2 kids with issues, each of whom has 3+ games to play, and then you add the x turns each kid demands, and you come up with a number something like 2,679 minutes a day in which you need to help your son speak better and your daughter cope with the world at large. My inability to fit in the therapy they need makes me feel like utter shit. I am failing them, and I'm doing it on a daily basis. See what I mean? Mommy Guilt. These kids won't ever improve unless I do this, and I am just at a loss as to how to fit it all into our already chaotic days. I'll never be able to give them the love, attention, and just plain TIME they need. In part this is because of the triplet phenomenon - where sharing, turn taking, and everyone wanting a chance at the fun to be had means everything takes WAY longer than it needs to. In part, surely, it's because I am just no good at this. Now I know and you know that last statement isn't true - I'm a good Mom. It's just that the Mommy Guilt rears it's ugly head and I'm left feeling like these kids will graduate college unable to say the letter "g" and unable to cope with loud noises...and it will all be my fault. I failed. I couldn't get the rest of my life organised enough to make enough time to get all those games played. I should have tried harder.

This year I made a huge effort to reduce my commitments - my work, school and voluntary commitments have all been reduced to mere shadows of their former selves. While I have taken up one new hobby (more on that later this year), it's not something which is done during my 'kid time' anyway. So theoretically I should have more time for this therapy business, right? This TOTALLY NECESSARY, NOT OPTIONAL therapy business. You know what? I don't have that extra time - because I'm using that time trying to just enjoy my kids. We're colouring, we're playing outside, we're baking scones together, we're watching Backyardigans together, we're reading "just one more story." While we're doing all these things, that bitch of a demon known as Mommy Guilt is sitting on my shoulder, asking me "Why aren't you doing more for them?"

*sigh* I'll never win.

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