Yesterday my nine year old niece, Francesca, (or as Ari calls her “Ches-ca”) came over for a play date. Ari and Ches-ca were painting, Wil and my mom were watching them create their collaborative work of art, and I was cooking chili in the kitchen. All of a sudden Wil called across the apartment:
“Sarah, what did Ari eat today?”
“Why?” I asked suspiciously.
“Because he’s throwing up.” He replied.
“How did he get sick again?” Wil asked. Ari just got over having Croup, and now he appears to be sick again.
He woke up with a fever in the middle of the night last night and vomited for the second time. I’ve concluded he has a virus. But Wil’s question stayed in my head: “How did he get sick again?”
My internal answer is to blame myself. He wasn’t dressed well enough for this 27 degree weather, he needs warmer pants, long underwear, He’s not eating enough, he’s not eating well, I’m taking him to germ infested places like the library and communal play spaces.
Whatever the case may be, it is most certainly my fault that he’s sick. This is what I like to call mom guilt. I’d like to think I come by it honestly with my Jewish heritage, but I think mom guilt transcends cultural boundaries.
As mothers, if something “goes wrong” with our kids, we blame ourselves. Who else do we have to blame?
What I want to know is, what do you feel guilty about? Post a comment with a story where you felt particularly guilty. By the way, guilt is not exclusive to moms, dad guilt is alive and well. Dads: please share your stories too!