Walking Away

As part of my new gig at New Jersey Moms Blog, I was asked to read Writing Motherhood by Lisa Garrigues and write a thought-provoking response based on one of two prompts. The prompt I chose was the following one:

Good Enough. In her book, Lisa recounts a time she was a “bad” mother, first leaving her sick daughter to fend for herself, then dropping her daughter at the tutor, only to forget to pick her up an hour later. Think of a time you slipped up as a mother-lost your temper, said no for no reason, sent your child to school with a fever. Our writing invitation: Write about your most outrageous or inexcusable bad mothering moment.

Since I do the Mom Walk of Shame on a regular basis, this prompt seemed like the natural one to choose. I figured that if I gave myself enough time, I would naturally stumble into a new example of being a “bad” mother and sure enough I did this afternoon.

As you may be aware, I am currently working as a consultant which means sometimes I am giving presentations outside my home (like tomorrow) and sometimes I am working from home (like today). Most of the time when I work from home, I am preparing for a presentation or writing curriculum. Usually, this is a pretty solitary activity but occasionally it requires me to have lengthy conversations about an upcoming presentation or a curriculum project I am working on. Today was one of those days.
The problem is that me-on-the-phone=Becca-screeching-for-attention and today was no exception. As soon as I was engaged in the phone conversation (with a new client), she made a beeline for the slightly ajar bathroom door and I could hear her giggling with glee as she swung it wide open. I, meanwhile, was trying to continue my conversation as I quickly ran over to sweep Becca off her feet and get her out of the bathroom.

I grabbed Becca by the waist as I was simultaneously trying to string together a thought provoking response to my client’s questions and was seeing visions of Becca tipping head first into the toilet. As soon as Becca felt my arm circle her waist, she lunged forward, began frantically grabbing at the tiles trying to pull herself into the bathroom and started screeching at the top of her lungs.

Instead of politely requesting that I call my client back in 10 minutes (once I had wrestled my toddler to the ground), I walked away from Becca. I just placed her on the floor and walked away.

When Becca felt me release her it just sent her into a higher decibel. As my mother-in-law (who watches Becca when I am working) ran to soothe my daughter, I closed the living room door to muffle the sound, apologized to my client for the interruption and continued my conversation. Becca continued screaming until my mother-in-law soothed her to sleep and laid her down for a nap. I finished up my conference call and hung up with a satisfied sigh and then had a minute to reflect on the incident.

I walked away from my daughter as she was screaming my name. I put someone else’s needs and wants before hers. I allowed my mother-in-law to soothe her instead of taking the opportunity to do so. I walked away! What was I thinking?

I had gotten so caught up in my own life that I forgot that Becca is only 21 mos and rarely understands any subtle hints I might send her way. She can’t distinguish between me gabbing on the phone with my sister to me having a professional conversation with a colleague. How is she supposed to know that?

Fortunately, she is still a little young to remember me walking away from her but it still makes me sad. I need to figure out a way to balance work and play. I could have delayed the conference call for another twenty minutes and used that time to interact with Becca and soothe her to sleep. One of the perks of working at home is that I am supposed to have more time with Becca, quality time.

Feeling like a heel,

Mary Kate

P.S. For other things educational, click here. If you are participating in Everything Educational Thursday, leave a comment with your link (or e-mail me at marykatenj at gmail.com) and I will post it.

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1 Comment

Filed under Everything Educational Thursday, New Jersey Moms Blog

One response to “Walking Away

  1. Jen

    Don’t feel bad. I actually don’t think it’s bad that you did that. It might be good for Becca to see that you can’t be there every second and that sometimes Mommy has other important things to do, (not that work is anywhere near as important as Becca). She knows that you love her and you do get to spend a lot of quality time with her. If this is the worst you could come up with, then you’re my hero!

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