Last night my husband was unexpectedly called into work. It was about 7pm, so the kids were in their pj's and we were getting close to their bedtime. We were watching a movie. (Luckily, the kids had been outside all day so we were just unwinding a bit.) And my husband and I were looking forward to relaxing after a busy day of yard work, cooking, and just being.
I know the call jolted my husband back into his work mode, but it also unsettled the kids too. They weren't expecting their Dad to have to leave, and so putting them to bed by myself was no easy task. My oldest was very upset and wanted me to sleep with her. My middle chimed in that she wanted me to sleep with her too. And my one year old just always needs a little help getting to sleep. So I felt guilty tending to my one year old while the bigger girls were feeling so sad.
The best I could do at the time was to offer to get them a hat and a cowl that I had knit (and that they love to wear) and let them sleep with them. This made me feel just a little less guilty and it actually made them feel a little better. Better enough that my oldest was no longer crying. And I promised them that I was just in the next room, and that Daddy was only gone for a few hours and would be home later to kiss them goodnight.
One of the emotions I struggle with most as a mother is guilt. I feel like I can never do enough for any of my children. It's hard to be emotionally present for all three children when they all need different things. If I could have last night, I would have cuddled with my oldest to help her feel better. The best I could do last night was a bunch of hugs and kisses and letting her sleep with something that I had made. It won't always work and it shouldn't--a hat shouldn't be a stand in for a parent--but at least last night it made her feel like she had some part of me with her.
On Mondays I've been writing about what inspires me. If you've written about something that inspires you, please feel free to leave a comment and link to your blog post.