Monday, March 9, 2009

Guilt Sucks - Feeling like I didn't Do Enough

I wrote this in September and I didn’t post it. Even though the date is old, the challenge and feelings are as relevant today as they were the day I wrote it, so here goes.

I went on a long weekend get away with my family. When we got back one of the group let it slip that she was surprised to see how bad Evyn and Nicky's diets were and I lost it. I was so angry. Had she been on the same trip I was on? Didn't she see Nicky's 30 minute tantrums, him jumping up and down all night, the difficulty I was having getting him to be okay for even a short period of time in an unfamiliar place. Didn't she see my daughter, frustrated that her brother needed so much attention and couldn't she tell how hard I was trying to find ways to help everyone relax when Nicky required constant attention. Guess NOT, I told myself!

I thought I had done a good job. I had packed the foods I knew he would eat, enough for 4 days. Yes the foods he will eat, are not all good, I knew that, and I didn’t like being reminded. Didn't she understand that I made a choice. A choice between a totally miserable kid who when deprived of the familiar would become a behavioral nightmare and ruin the outing for all. Didn't she see that I had tried to make the trip as nice as possible for everyone, that I knew the idea of trying restaurants in a foreign country that might have nothing to offer, or worst yet offer food that further disturbs his messed us gastrointestinal system would just make everyone miserable?

Couldn't she see how hard it was to try to keep any balance. Couldn't she see how Nicky was already bouncing off the walls because he was in a different place.

My temper flared and I told her she was out of line, the trip wasn't a reflection of their total diet and it was unfair to judge me.

I told her I was offended and hurt that given all she knew, she didn't understand. It seemed that she didn't get that my priority was to keep him as calm as possible so I controlled what I could. Translation, no eating out, packing all the food the kids would need for the weekend. I packed chicken nuggets, turkey bacon, popcorn and hash browns for Nicky, and pre packaged dumplings, tamales and snacks for Evyn and I.

That said, I knew she didn't mean any harm. Maybe she could have said it better, but her remarks were really not the cause of my anger. She loves me and she loves the kids. she was making an observation and had I listened maybe even trying to help. I was angry because my guilt was almost too much to bear. Had I chosen a calm trip over Nicky's well being? Ouch. The question hurt. For all I do, I always feel like I have not done enough, which leaves me feeling guilty. I lashed out at my sister because of my guilt. Because in that moment when she confronted me I wondered if I had made the right decision, or if I had been selfish all along, and I was angry with myself for not getting it "right".

When I calmed down, I realized that I was being way too hard on myself and my sister. I reminded myself to be kind to me and to forgive me when I'm not perfect. Then I was calm and I wasn't so mad at her either.

1 comment:

  1. There is no better mother in the world than you. The food deal is tricky in many families. Americans have food issues and more likely than not, when someone decides to lecture me about the food I eat or my children eat (or don't eat, more likely), it turns out that the bigmouth lecturer is the one with the food issues and problems.