Dear Parenting Guilt,
I know you may find this hard to hear, but it’s time for us to say good-bye. This relationship is not working for me anymore. The harder I try, the more you demand. I’m worn out.
I know we have been together for a long time now – twenty five years! I remember meeting you, months before my first child was even born. I had just heard the news “you’re pregnant!” for the first time ever and then there you were, reminding me of the half can of beer I drank at a barbecue one month earlier. Never mind that I did not know I was pregnant – I should have known. A good mother would have known, you told me.
When I needed to buy baby clothes and toys on a limited budget, you chided me for shopping at garage sales and thrift stores – what kind of mother provides her child with stacking rings that have already been drooled on? Sure, you can wash them, but are they ever really clean? When I paid top dollar at the mall for those same items, you reminded me how I could have used that money to save for college education costs.
I found a babysitter so that my husband and I could enjoy a quiet dinner alone on our anniversary. You whispered in my ear and told me that my two year old was likely eating half frozen chicken nuggets and crying wildly for his mother’s arms. When we left without dessert to come home early and check on him, you said that over involved parenting results in a needy, insecure child.
When I told my teen that he could not go to the dance because he was grounded due to poor grades, you accused me of stunting his emotional growth. When I let him skip his usual chores to go to the movie theater with a new friend, you told me I was destroying his work ethic.
No matter how hard I tried, I could never make you happy. Everything I did was wrong according to you.
Enough. It’s over.
I know I said that before, but this time I really mean it. Done, kaput, fini. I don’t need you, and my children don’t need you.
Don’t try calling this time. I changed the number.
Looking forward to a life without you,
PS: I told my daughter she can stay up an hour later tonight to watch a favorite show. Do you think that’s okay? Let me know. Thanks.