Sometimes it feels to me as though parenting is all about feeling guilty. Today, I got a nice healthy dose of Guilt at the pediatrician’s office.
Captain Adventure, it turns out, does not have a yeast infection. He has an infected wound. On his rectum (another word I dislike). He has two small tears, and an infection.
But wait! It gets better!!
This is serious, because the tears are deeper than they look. They look like wee little tears – but they are in a very bad location and appear to be growing.
In other words, my poor helpless little boy has been in rather acute discomfort for DAYS and DAYS, and was in full gallop toward requiring SURGERY to repair an ABCESS in his RECTUM!
We’re doing sitz baths three-four-five times a day for the rest of the week, slathering him with prescription anti-bacterial ointment three times a day and spackling with Desitin on every other diaper changing event, and then taking him to a doctor 35 miles away on Saturday morning to make sure he’s responding well enough and doesn’t require professional intervention to save him from his neglectful parents.
If guilt was ice cream, I would have gained about thirty pounds this morning.
I feel guilty for not rushing him in the moment I saw that stuff I deemed ‘kinda creepy looking’ around That Area. I feel guilty for not clutching him to my bosom and running to the doctor’s office the very first time he shrieked while pooping. I feel doubly awful for noticing that he was bleeding a little bit ‘down there’ and saying, “Dang, that’s a nasty rash you’ve got there, buddy” and slathering him with mere Desitin, instead of realizing immediately that this was no ordinary ‘I sat in a wet diaper for half an hour’ kind of rash.
I feel like the worst mother in the world right about now. I know I’m not. I know there are mothers out there who actively abuse their children. I know there are mothers out there who leave their children alone in the house with a loaf of Wonderbread and a jar of peanut butter while they go night-clubbing. OK? I know. I’m not the worst there is.
But I still feel pretty low. These are the moments when I want to hurl my laptop out the window, call my boss and shriek, “I QUIT!” into the phone, bring them all home and never take my eyeballs off them again.
Of course, then I’d feel guilty because we’d be back to the whole ‘no, honey, we can’t afford that’ thing all the time. Because I’m not setting a “girls can earn just as much as boys, and be as good at this as boys, and otherwise kick butt like boys” example for my little girls. Because I’m not putting into the retirement fund. Because I’m not putting into the college funds. Because now, thanks to me, instead of doing better than average, we’re just treading water.
When it comes to the parental guilt thing, I couldn’t win if you paid me to lose.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find my cilice…
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