If there’s one thing that people on the internet hate, it’s people who talk about being busy. Which I understand, for the most part. It sounds… whiney. I purposefully do not use that word unless I’m talking to a close friend and feel comfortable drawing out four-letter words and saying things like sh*****************t, I’m a little slammed.

Who are these asterisks protecting, anyway? Probably my mom.

There’s an element of freelance that is just so fun and exciting and also treacherous. Time is finite. Saying yes to a project that I’ve deemed “cool” and “new” and “fresh” means saying no to something else. Like a yoga class. Or an extra hour of sleep. Or meeting a few moms for dinner one night. Or writing that blog post about that time I had a work dinner with someone who drags his knife across the plate to emulate that awful nails-on-a-chalkboard sound and I had to excuse myself to use the ladies’ room lest I reach across the table, grab him by the wrist and say, “Wouldn’t it be fun to eat your steak with chopsticks?”

I am not the best at this. I can fully state that I’m flawed and I have some mild I-love-work-too-much tendencies that probably need to be addressed. I spoke at a conference over a year ago and one of my slides was about not working so much that your family hates you. No one hates me, yet. Mostly because I am darling. Or maybe it’s because I live with gracious people.

I’ve had this field trip on my calendar for two weeks now. Sophie’s preschool is heading to a farm and there will be a hayride and a pumpkin patch and horses to feed and goats to pet. “Lots of parents don’t come,” the school director assures me as I punch it into my calendar. “We have plenty of chaperone volunteers.”

It takes up a block of time right in the middle of the day the same week that we’ve had a day off school and kid doctor appointments and things that tend to default to the person who works from home. “Do you want to try to take the kids to work with you, then?” I deadpan regularly when Jack suggests the girls can play or watch a movie while I work. I don’t have to go on the field trip. I could stay at home and work. Plenty of parents work and have responsibilities that keep them from hanging out with Edgar, the Leaf-Eating Goat at eleven in the morning. Plenty of parents aren’t stay-at-home moms that have volunteered to strap in a few more carseats and haul kids over to the farm.

Not surprisingly, my inner turmoil of going to the farm is not matched by Jack. Not only did he have no plans of going, he felt not a twinge of guilt about it. I write that certainly without the intent of portraying him as someone who’s mean or uncaring (because that would be completely inaccurate), but because now I wonder…. is this a mom guilt thing? Am I feeling guilty because the majority of women in my community are SAHMs? And they’re on field trips so I should be, too? Will they think I’m a terrible parent when Sophie gets matched up with a teacher instead of her mom? Do they think that I don’t care?

pumpkins

I pull into the parking lot just in time for the hayride and Sophie cheers and greets me in a way I will surely miss when my girls are teenagers. The field trip is fine. Fun, but in an earth-shattering way. No heartwarming words. No incredible bonding moments fit to share on Facebook. We try to feed a carrot to a horse, but we’re both so skittish around wildlife that we chuck it over the fence and fear for our lives. I sit with her while she eats a sandwich at the picnic table, give her a hug, and say goodbye. Saying yes to Edgar the Goat means saying no to something else. We had a nice time, but it would have been fine had I not gone. She would have a great time without me, and maybe I could have carved out some one-on-one time on the weekend with her instead.

What do other people do? Parents that work out of the house? Moms with multiple small children (are you hauling all your kids on a hayride)? Still happy I went, but would love to not have guilt be a factor in making decisions, moving forward? See? I’m a real-life grown-up. Growing every day.

I totally googled “goat emoticon” because my priorities are all sorts of right. (Couldn’t find one, no.)

 

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This is How I Feel, Volume 70

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This is How I Feel, Volume 70

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This is How I Feel, Volume 69

If you’re new here (hello!), This is How I Feel happens on Fridays, reflecting my deep, deep love of GIFs and dumb captions. ___________________________________ When a friend’s Facebook status has over 60 comments under it. ___________________________________ When I’m trying to get my friends to stay up past 11 and go dancing.

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