So here I am, sat in soft play, trying to bottom out some deadlines before the weekend. It is quieter than usual – possibly because most self-respecting parents don’t palm their kids off to soft play as soon as school’s out on a Friday – and I am trying to dodge the deprecating stares from moms who think I shouldn’t have my head stuck in a laptop.
Just to reassure you, I do know where my kids are. Mainly because I can hear their 100 decibel shrieks echo around the building, but also because I have placed myself right next to the exit with a full view of the entire place, so there is no way that they can escape without my knowing.
But alas, the mommy guilt is still there.
Yes, I am not playing with my boys right now, but that is because mommy has to earn to pay for their future. I also don’t want to be glued to the screen for the weekend as I firmly believe in setting aside Saturday and Sunday for quality time as a family, but in order to do that tomorrow I need to work now. The fact that the boys were ecstatic at the prospect of soft play madness straight after school is irrelevant, however, I still feel guilty. Then there is the distinctly un-homemade sausage, chips and beans dinner they have just wolfed down that gives me guilt pangs about processed food, despite the fact that I know they wouldn’t touch the Spanish paella I have planned for later.
This is not an everyday occurrence. Most days, my boys play outdoors, in parks, woods or wherever they can get to a patch of grass or puddle of mud. Most days they eat homemade food with me around the dining room table. Most days they keep me entertained for hours with Lego building and ninja battles.
But today is not that day, and that is OK too.