It has become abundantly clear in my seven years as a parent that guilt is part of the role. We, as parents, are forced to fight that little voice that screams your child’s name into your head every time you’re forced to make a decision. That voice keeps us wishing we could throw our kids into a backpack and carry them with us where ever we want to go.
That damn voice has kept me from applying to my dream job in Sydney… but it’s also kept me from becoming bar fly. Which may have also once been a dream of mine, before I had a kid.
I was about to turn 19 years old and in the fog of the partying days of my freshman year of college. My parents were so pleased because I was on scholarship to go to a Catholic University (HA!).
Little did they know that their daughter was engulfed in a crowd of kids who’d been so disciplined all their lives that this was their opportunity to break free. I, on the other hand, had two older brothers and a lot of freedom growing up, so the drinking and partying was nothing new to me. I was the beer-wench for my brothers’ parties when I was ten, and tapped my first keg when I was twelve.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was.
January of 2003 brought with it a big surprise… a BABY in my tummy! It felt so great coming out of the fog of my partying days with a baby bump, only to hear semi-weary “congratulations” from passers by.
At 19, the only responsibility I’d ever had was to put clean underwear on and brush my teeth. I even failed at THAT sometimes! Please remind me of how this is a “congratulations” moment.
But alas, my child was born 9 months later after 20 grueling hours of labor. I wish I could say that it was the best day of my life, but I can’t. It was the weirdest day of my life. I’d just squeezed a child out of my fun-hole and it kept trying to suck on my nipples – wild. Needless to say, this day was certainly significant.
Here we are, seven years later. I’m stressed to the point that I’d love to disappear for a few months, but that green stuff that makes us happy and gets us places isn’t exactly abundant in my life.
No, not medical marijuana… I’m talking about money. Okay, medical marijuana isn’t exactly abundant, either, and it should be. I hear it takes the edge off (ahem).
I’ve made some sacrifices (read: rearranged my entire life) for my little guy. There are days I wish I could come and go as I please – and I’m not just talking about trips to the store. I’m talking about doing what my friends do, like deciding one day that they’re going to move to London to work for 6 months.
I can’t do that because I need my family to help me so I can go on to become the CEO of a major corporation one day, and flying 12 people to London sounds expensive.
I need my parents because they pick my son up from school. I need my brothers around because my kid is an only child and without my nephews, he’ll never learn the value of sharing or what it means to get into a fist fight and still be best friends 10 minutes later. He needs his family – I don’t, but I need him.
Soon he’ll be 18, my career will be well on it’s way, and I’ll regret ever wishing that things were different, so I try not to.
But I feel guilty because there’s so much time that needs to pass before I’m on my feet. Almost as though my son is going to have his career established before I do. Perhaps THIS is why people wait until they’re in their 30’s to have kids.
Excuse me. I have about 1000 Legos sitting in front of me that need to be pieced together to build an airport.