Kids…I Threw Out Your Toys & My Guilt

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Kids, I threw out your toys, and with them the guilt I have been lugging around for the past 6 years. I have spent the better part of the past week sorting, washing, and throwing away thousands of dollars of toys that were brought during times when I couldn’t be.

The times when I was studying for my college entrance exams when I decided I needed to be an educated mom so that I could be a good example for you.  At under 1 and 2 you guys should have had snuggles with mommy and not a stressed out mess who was focused on math and English.

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The times when I was waiting on acceptance letters. Staying home so that I could greet the mail man and receive said letters in my hand. You should have been at the park playing.

The times when I found you a daycare, a “home” based one so it was not such a big deal. But only it was a big deal because someone else was raising my kids from 6 AM till 6 PM.

On those days your father and I would get you dressed and in the car while you were sleeping. You awoke strapped in your car seats to us getting you breakfast at the local coffee places drive-thru.

In the evenings, after I finished school we would pick you up and once again take you through the drive-thru for dinner. It was to late to cook as you fell asleep most days in the car, on the drive home. You deserved more…

On those sacred days when you guys decided to stay awake until we got home…those were the days that I would lock myself in the office to get some studying in. I should have been playing with you guys but instead I was focusing on fulfilling my own dreams of an education…I should have snuggled…

Those two years that it took to get my diploma in a field that I had lost my passion for midway, I bought you every toy I saw. Not because you needed those toys, but because I felt like I needed to give you SOMETHING to replace me.

The 6 months of volunteering daily so that I could continue to drop you off at daycare because at this point I was used to not being your full-time mommy, I was in essence a bystander watching others raise you, for this I hold guilt.

And than came the year of work, that first year while both of you were either in school or daycare and that year was the hardest. I was pregnant, and I couldn’t just rely on drive-thru’s as lunches and snacks had to be packed daily. More days than not you got a take-out sub for lunch but I was trying to show you that working pays off, although in our situation it didn’t

You guys were sick all the time, neglected a little because lets be honest, I couldn’t miss work at every single runny nose and cough. Your “little colds” would quickly progress to “big infections”. You needed me but instead you got your father, who tried as he did, was not the type to nurture you back to health.

My frustrations with the situation was taken out on everybody. I blamed everyone…and myself…for my failures as a mom and that is why when it came time to take maternity leave with the third I already knew that things would never go back to the way they were.

You guys stopped getting new toys all the time and instead got quality time with me, your mom. Instead of me buying your love I am showing you ways we could make our love and relationship grow daily. It took us a while to get accustomed to the “new” way of life but I feel like we are finally on a road that does not produce spoiled brats and I am no longer blaming other people for  your bad behavior. You no longer pick up bad habits at daycare, your failures are my fault, and they are not failures but learning moments.

So, I do not promise you that life will be easy. I am still learning how to be hands on with you. I am still struggling daily with the “guilt” of being a parent. But that guilt is miniscule compared to the guilt that has been bagged up and put in front of our home for the garbage man to pick up. That guilt of being a “not-involved” parent is gone and will never return to our home and I know you understand that this is for the better because you often tell me how happy you are that I no longer go to that “big building” for work. I will work from home, when you are asleep, burning the midnight oil and drinking copious amounts of coffee, so that you and I can continue to grow our love.

Love Mom <3

Anyone else ever deal with parenting guilt?

**I have been keeping all of my kids toys in the basement. They now each have a large toy box in their rooms with toys that have survived the upheaval, toys that we have agreed to keep, and toys that they will take care of. This is not just a way to deal with my guilt, but also tackle one of my words for 2015 “de-clutter”. Feeling better about the progress in the basement but feeling phenomenal about the emotional cleansing that happened when I got rid of their toys.**

 

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17 Comments

  1. February 19, 2015 / 9:01 am

    As I read your words I was brought back to my kids early years. I went back to work early with both of them and regretted it each time. Bravo to you and thank you for sharing your heart.

  2. February 19, 2015 / 9:06 am

    I spent many nights this week after they went to sleep going through that basement. Instead of wine there was a steady flow of Taylor Swift (which may actually be worse for the emotions) and I cried myself better throwing their stuff out. Thank you for your kind words Julie <3

  3. denise
    February 19, 2015 / 10:22 pm

    wow this was beautiful yet brought me to tears. I see so many people go through what you went through and they never realize what you did. So many times i thought of going back to work to be able to give my kids the latest of things but i realized thats not what they wanted or what they really needed. Thanks so much for this post,it gives a lot of women courage and inspiration.

  4. February 19, 2015 / 10:33 pm

    I didn’t realize how much it would affect me cleaning out that basement and just saying good bye to those things. There is a fine line that I could never stay on if I had priorities outside of the house. I know that now and I am glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  5. February 20, 2015 / 3:30 pm

    Wow! That was touching and I realized that only a great caring and loving mom could fathom and write something like this!This was really inspiring and brought back some of the same feelings and memories.Thank you for this lovely post.

  6. February 20, 2015 / 3:56 pm

    Took a while to figure it out but thank you 🙂

  7. Jo-Anne Pfoh
    February 23, 2015 / 7:42 pm

    thanks for sharing your story

  8. Victoria Ess
    March 2, 2015 / 3:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. My mother struggled a lot with this decision and I imagine I will too. Kudos to you for making tough choices.

  9. March 8, 2015 / 11:54 pm

    We all have guilt. No parent is perfect.

    You made the choices you did based on what you knew. Your priorities have changed and so have your choices. It doesn’t mean that what you did before was wrong and I don’t believe that putting yourself first is a bad thing. We have a saying in our household “taking one for the team” and everybody has to do it sometimes.

    You’re a great Mom and I’m happy that you’re happy with the choices you’re making. A happy Mom makes for happy kids.

    Besos, Sarah
    Journeys of The Zoo

  10. jamie hall
    June 24, 2015 / 11:34 pm

    i feel guilt about going back to work, its been a hard transition and between work and being a mom there is not much of me left. Wonderfully written

  11. Jodi Mitrovic
    June 27, 2015 / 2:55 am

    What a beautiful share! You moved me to tears. Your story was so clear and vivid that I was able to picture myself in your shoes reliving your days. I hope that one day when your children are old enough that you can show them this and they will smile knowing that you we are always our hardest critics! I loved it… absolutely loved it!

  12. June 27, 2015 / 10:46 pm

    Thanks Jodi 🙂

  13. mrdisco
    July 15, 2015 / 7:48 am

    it’s good to declutter periodically and donate/get rid of unplayed with toys.

  14. Julie
    August 28, 2015 / 8:03 am

    I think we all have guilt, working Mom’s, stay at home Moms…I think as long as you are trying to do your best and love your kids, you’re on the right track…Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer…Good post.

  15. Victoria Ess
    September 8, 2015 / 10:41 pm

    A lot of what you wrote resonated with me. I can think of so many moms who express guilt for a variety of different circumstances.

  16. Neal
    November 21, 2015 / 2:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing this story. I think guilt and parenting just go hand in hand.

  17. Lynda Cook
    January 17, 2016 / 2:48 pm

    This was a great story and brought back so many memories of when my girls were young, I went back to work early for both and they grew up with babysitters or my parents also because I wasn’t ready to settle down, I wanted to party and drink! well now I don’t drink and I don’t work, but it’s to late as my girls have their own families now, so that is why I babysit my grandkids now to make up for the lost years with my girls and to babysit my grandkids is my payback!!

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