Mom Guilt.  If you are a mom, you get this.

It doesn’t matter if your child is a newborn or a grown adult; it appears once you become a mom.

It’s a sneaky thing, this mom guilt.

I can be going about my day, feeling like the greatest mom in the world, and then BAM, something happens and the guilt sets in.  It could be something small, like when I threw away my daughter’s used tasting spoon and then she needed to keep it, (WHY?), or something bigger like when I forgot to send a snack with the daughter to her after school class.  Of course, the degree of guilt varies depending on what the actual act was.

Is this feeling here to keep us in check or to make us crazy?  I’m guessing maybe a bit of both.

My most recent “mom guilt” moment occurred last week, while the husband was in London for a few days.  It had been awhile since he traveled for longer than a night or two, and I thought I was prepared for it.  I mentally prepared myself to be solo with the kids, and had even figured out ways to get out of the house so the time would seem to go by faster.

Things were going alright until the first bedtime solo.  Don’t get me wrong, I do bedtime solo with my kids a lot, but most nights the husband is home from the late evening on, when the daughter decides to have her nightly freak outs.  It makes it easier to have another adult in the house to help combat these moments.  When the husband is home, I can fake sleeping and hope the husband hears the screams, and gets up to deal with it all; sadly, being home alone does not provide me the same luxury.

Well, I was solo and the daughter seemed to smell my apprehension.

Night one, I got the kids to bed before 7:30 with minimal fighting.

Victory!  I got all propped up on the couch, and was ready to watch my romantic comedies I’d been hoarding on the DVR for weeks.  I was too eager; I should have known this wouldn’t be so easy.

Like clockwork, every 20 minutes or so, the daughter would burst out of her room with a new problem.  It started with needing to go to the bathroom.  (Easy enough, although she just went less than a half hour ago!)  When this trick didn’t work, it escalated to her arm hurt or her tummy hurt.  Pretty sure she announced she had broken her ankle at one point.  Then it was there is a shadow in her room that shouldn’t be there.  (Seriously?!  I can’t even make this stuff up!)

At first, I was decently nice to her, but as the time went on, my patience left.  I was exhausted.  Mentally I was DONE.  Emotionally, there was nothing left.  Physically, I just wanted to sit and be a sloth for a couple hours ALONE.  (I refuse to believe this is too much to hope for now that I’m a mom.)

On trip five or six out of her room, I told her “no more leaving your room, and go to sleep.”

Doesn’t seem so bad, right?  That’s what needed to be done and I needed the night with kid to be OVER.  Of course my voice was less of a sweet mom voice and more of a troll-like voice, but you still can get the picture.  Well, she turned to me, her eyes filled up with tears, and then she told me she just loved me and that it made her so sad that I was being SO mean to her.  Yes, I have quite a bit of a drama queen on my hands, but I hear most 6 year old girls are this way.

Yes, this was her way of stalling more, but yes, it pulled at my heart strings and then the mom guilt set in.  Damn it.  I can’t just tell my kid to sleep anymore without feeling guilty.  It’s like the guilt rears it’s ugly head and then I start feeling like a lousy mom.  I pulled it together, told her I loved her too, but it was time to sleep.  She sauntered off into her room and I sunk down into the couch.

Why do I have to be a “mean mom” to keep order at bedtime?

Why can’t kids appreciate sleep like adults do?  Someday she will get it, and someday there will be another reason for me to feel the mom guilt.

Sure glad kids can keep us in check… NOT.

**This stalling at bedtime is not new around here.  If you haven’t read my short blog on our nighttime problems feel free to check it out!  If you struggle with this too, trust me, you are NOT alone!