Anyone who knows Shortcake will admit that she is my tender-hearted child. She is acutely aware when someone is feeling pain – either physically or emotionally – and will take it upon herself to make sure that pain is alleviated immediately in one form or another. She’s sensitive to the needs of others, caring and kind to almost everyone she meets, and frequently seeks physical contact from trusted adults as a form of comfort and reassurance throughout her day.
What I’m also quickly learning about my little sweetheart is that she is a guilt master in training.
Just in the last couple of weeks I have been faced with the following comments from my five and a half year old:
“But why can’t you come shopping with me at the book fair? I just really want you to be there to help me pick out a book. Can’t you take some time off work to come with me?”
“I wish you could come to my classroom and help with reading workshops. Lots of other moms get to come to our class to help.”
“Why do you look and sound so angry when I come out of my room at night?”
“Can I go to the grocery store with you? I just like spending time with you because I don’t see you very much.”
“Hi Mom. I am feeling sad. I miss you. Love, Shortcake.” (sent to me as part of an email in the middle of the school day after her kindergarten teacher announced via that same email that Shortcake was crying in class because she was missing me.)
I like to think that I can lay on a pretty decent guilt trip myself, but this girl is like a Jedi master when it comes to making me feel inadequate as a mother. I know (for now, at least) it’s totally unintentional, but still it stings every time. What really strikes me is that I’m over five years into this gig as a work-outside-of-the-home mom yet still the feelings of guilt for not being a full-time stay at home mom are almost as fresh as they were the day we dropped her off at daycare for the first time. Really, does life a as a parent EVER get easier?