Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Your daily serving of maternal guilt

It's been at least a week since I posted about working mother guilt. Surely we're due for more angst?

Poor Simon. He and Tristan were horsing around just before bedtime, and Tristan more or less took him out at the knees, completely by accident. Simon cried for a few minutes, but not with that heart-stopping urgent cry of pain that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up and gives you little doubt that you're about to reaquaint yourself with the local health-care facilities.

He was easily comforted by Beloved, but started crying again when he tried to take his weight on the injured leg. We called a boo-boo bunny into service, then spent 20 minutes or so playing various 'games' trying to figure out the extent, and even the location of the injury. Even though he was obviously favouring the sore leg, and even wobbling a bit when he put his weight on it, he could jump on both feet and stand on the sore leg while holding my hand, and he climbed the stairs without complaint.

Trying to figure out the severity of an injury to a stoic three year old is a little bit like trying to read the mind of a crazy person. The terms of reference keep shifting. I touch his knee and ask, "Does it hurt here?" and he says no. I touch his ankle, his shin, and his toes and ask, "Does it hurt here?" and he says no. I touch his knee again and ask, "Does it hurt here?" and he says yes. I touch his ankle and ask, "Does it hurt here?" and he says, with obvious expiration of patience, "Mommy, stop it!"

This morning, he is still favouring it but doesn't cry when he walks on it. I just called Beloved at home, as he has the boys for two hours between when I leave and when they leave for school and daycare, and he says Simon seems fine now, and he'll have the daycare provider call me if she notices any trouble. There's no bruising, no swelling. We even spoke to a nurse at TeleHealth Ontario this morning, and although she recommended we see a doctor, I'm trusting Beloved's assessment that he's fine, not complaining, not hurting, and so we'll wait and see how it is in a couple of hours.

This is the part about working and mothering I hate. After almost two years back in the office, I still feel horrendous guilt at having to choose between an overflowing plate of responsibilities at work and the pull of my possibly-hurting baby. I hate having to choose between competing responsibilities, and I hate having to leave the assessment of Simon's condition to anybody else - daycare provider or Beloved. Mostly, though, I hate that I'm here at work instead of at home while I'm writing this.