Good Mothers

Since the requests for posts from SOAR are coming in, along with requests for any posts at all, since I was quiet for an uncharacteristically long time, I’m just going to bite the bullet and tell you all. 

I’m not at SOAR.  I’m home.  I came home on Wednesday, and I don’t really know what to say about being here and not there, except that I felt that my family needed me, and I wasn’t sure what to do, and in the end, I decided that there were worse things than being home when someone didn’t need you, but little worse than being away when I should have been home, and I thought I could live with the former, but not the latter, and three planes and 18 hours later I was home.

This I thought, was a very mature and grown up thing to do.  I saved all year for SOAR, it’s the first time I signed up for the whole week, I got all the classes I wanted and I even gave up going to other stuff  like Rhinebeck so that I could afford it.  My friends are all there, including some I only see at SOAR, and we’ve been talking about it for months and months – and I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you that I was really, really bummed about leaving. 

I know that as good mothers we aren’t ever supposed to resent sacrifices for our children. I know this because in the few days since I came home and have expressed disappointment in missing SOAR, I’ve been getting the standard message quietly from part of the world around me, and loudly from the Mother Police that live in my head.   (If you are a mother I’m sure you have your own Mother Police. They never take a day off and have unreasonably high standards.)

The Mother Police say good mothers don’t mind when somebody throws up and they miss dinner with a friend who only comes to town once a year, so that they can do 6 loads of pukey laundry instead.  Good mothers don’t mind when a babysitter cancels and everyone goes to the party without them.   Good mothers are selfless. Good mothers put themselves last, good mothers never mind when they miss a good time as long as they are there for their kids.  I got the good mother memo.  I know how I am supposed to feel.  I’m supposed to need to walk away from a trip I’ve been looking forward to for a year, and I’m supposed to say that it’s perfectly alright and I don’t mind even a little bit, and that my family is so important to me that the things that I want for myself don’t matter at all.  They need me and I’m here.  Good mothers don’t talk about what they want or what they feel. 

Well, maybe it makes me a bad mother, but I’m calling bulls**t on the Mother Police.  Screw it.  I wish I was at SOAR with my friends.  There. I’ve said it.  I think the fact that I’m not supposed to care about the things that make me happy is stupid.  I think that treating women like nothing matters as long as their families are happy is stupid, and that teaching them to put themselves last and not bitch about it is a big chunk of what’s wrong in the world.   I’m part of my family, and so are you, and the things that I need or want matter too.

I am here.  I did come, I did walk away because I was needed,  I am doing what I need to do, and I would do it again, because I do put my family before myself.

The good mother memo says that all of that means that I shouldn’t feel bad about SOAR- and that a good mother wouldn’t talk about feeling badly about missing it.   I respectfully suggest that’s pretty stupid.  I think the fact that I really wish I was there, that I really wanted to stay, that I’ve been honest about my disappointment and sadness about leaving and that I came home and did what I had to do anyway?  I feel like the Mother Police should give me extra points, because  instead of that sadness making my family feel like I love them less…
I bet that them knowing that I put them ahead of all those things I really, really wanted for myself means that they can see just how much they matter to me.

514 thoughts on “Good Mothers

  1. Oh, poor Steph. I’m so sorry about this because my Sock Summit experience let me know how wonderful this would have been for you. You are a better mother than I would have been under those circumstances. Next year’s SOAR will be even better than this year’s.

  2. I know what you mean about the mother police and missing SOAR must be a real disappointment. Real mothers are just people too and do mind when they have to pass on something they saved all year for. Fortunately, SOAR isn’t a onetime deal and with luck you can maybe attend for the full week next year? In the meantime, I hope your family is okay.

  3. They will see how much you mean to them – just maybe not for a while. I’m telling your Mother Police to give you a break. Hope the crisis has resolved & sorry you had to miss SOAR. Blessings on you.

  4. I can say “You flew all the way back? There was no one who could have filled in for a few days? because I have perspective. But I probably would have done the same thing. I love to rescue people.

  5. Thank you again for reminding us that we can’t really expect anyone to understand us if we’re not even honest with ourselves!

  6. Oh, I totally agree. I’m sorry you couldn’t be at SOAR, but I hope the trip home was appreciated and that whatever was needed was given/acquired. I’m not at SOAR either because I had to choose between that and Sock Summit, and well, I couldn’t miss Sock Summit. :) We non-SOAR-attendees should knit in solidarity today.

  7. I am so sorry Steph. The Mother Police are unreasonable, we are allowed to be disappointed just like others in our families are.
    I hope your family crisis resolves soon.

  8. you are a great mom to make such sacrifices and 100% entitled to feel miffed about them sometimes. Mom Police need to quiet down.

  9. Sometimes, it just happens. I’m not a mother myself, but I am very attached to my family. I know if they ever needed me, I would drop everything I’m doing and go back to them.
    While I think it’s important to put family first, I don’t think there’s anything in the rule book that says you can’t be disappointed about other things that make you happy. If there is, then it needs to be scratched out. It’s okay to be disappointed. As long as you’re there, that’s all that matters.
    I’m also sorry about SOAR (especially since you skipped Rhinebeck for it). Ah, adulthood and its many, overwhelming responsibilities. Chin up!

  10. Bah! Humbug to the Mother Police — may they have a thousand fleas infest their pants! There I feel better and I hope you do too :)
    Honestly is a wonderful thing and I hope your crisis has abated and that your SOAR sadness has as well.

  11. You’ve done the good mother thing, but that does not mean at all that you have to like it. It’s no fun to have your toys taken away from you no matter what the reason. Try not to feel guilty about feeling like this.

  12. That’s exactly how I felt about Sock summit. Even though we don’t *feel* it was the right choice, it was.

  13. Thanks for voicing the same thing that goes through my head sometimes when I realize I should be looking after me as well as everyone else around me. It’s okay to have feelings. Hugs. h.

  14. Sorry about SOAR. I missed out on a trip to London (yes England!) earlier this month and totally know how you feel.
    The only revenge is to work on a good pair of cashmere socks.

  15. Martyrdom is so overrated. If you didn’t acknowledge your disappointment in having to put yourself (again) on the back burner for someone else, then you would join the cabal of women known as “long-suffering”. Loving your family and respecting yourself as an individual are not mutually exclusive. Sorry for you all-hope the family issue is better soon.

  16. It’s hard to know when they really need you or when they think they need you. And it’s tough to make the wrong decision and decide they don’t REALLY need you when they do–which I have done on occasion. So then the Mother Police make it harder every time afterward. Being honest about the costs and rewards of sacrifice helps to keep perspective and make the best decisions in the future.
    And I’m sorry you have to miss SOAR.

  17. The good mother police are full of crap. A good mother does those things because she is needed, and a real woman feels resentment at being disappointed with the way things turned out. The sooner we fire the good mother police the better it will be for all of us. We will be free to say out loud, “This is hard, and sometimes I don’t like it, but I love my children/spouse and I do what needs to be done.” The good mother police never had children.

  18. We all know what it’s like, and it sucks. But, you know what else sucks?…Not going home, knowing that you should, knowing that YOU (nobody else) can make the difference in whatever crisis has arisen and when you don’t go, you’re miserable then, too. No easy options. Somebody is unhappy either way. Welcome (belatedly) to MomHood.
    From a long time Mom, now “Nana”, you did the right thing. You know it deep down where we know things best. And, someday far in the future, when one of your girls has to face the same choice (and she will), she’ll “get it” and remember that you came home.
    This is not to say that a little martyrdom is not allowed!

  19. See, this is why women live longer than men – so that when our offspring are allegedly old enough to look after themselves and not need us to throw our plans out of the window so we can be there for them, THEN we can go off for a month a knit in a cabin in the woods, surrounded by friends, beer and the beauty of nature, secure in the knowledge that if someone’s throwing up, they’ve either got a Significant Other to clean up their mess, or they’re damn well old enough to sort themselves out!

  20. Can you tell I’ve been memo’d by the Mother Police more times than I’m happy with, and I’m a little ticked off with them?!

  21. I am bawling at my computer and i am not sure why. Because this putting everybody else before us isn’t really a good thing for women (or maybe people) and i think it is taking a terrible toll. Very best wishes to you. I am very sorry for the loss of SOAR for you this year. Thank you for a very very honest post.

  22. You are a good mother and it is ok for a good mother to feel resentful and sad that she had to miss out on a wonderful time with friends! As a mother myself my heart goes out to you. Big hugs!

  23. Wow…I am surprise to hear you are not at SOAR, but let’s me honest. You were quiet for quite a bit. Happy to know you are where “your heart needs to be”. It is a tough call, sometimes I “heads” tell us where to go (okay, poor phasing). There will be another SOAR and someone knows you care, the world is a little better place for someone, not you but someone. KUDO’s to you for distinguishing.

  24. I must be a BAD mother. There are two parents in this family and unless the entire house was sick with the flu, my husband can and would pick up the slack for me as I do for him – so we can both have time for things we want to do and not exist only as a cog in a family wheel.
    That said, if he called and said they really needed me to come home NOW, I would also have cut my trip short and booked for home. And I would have mourned the loss of my trip too, dammit.
    There’s no way in the world the necessity to do the right thing should equate to pasting a cheerful smile of a Stepford wife on my face and managing to convince myself I’m happier at home with the pukey laundry anyway. Tell the Mother Police to go do some laundry and leave you alone.

  25. Doing the right thing isn’t always a picnic. Sorry that you had to leave SOAR, but it does show your family that you love them unconditionally even when it means giving up something you really wanted.

  26. Agree 100 percent. Now must get better at putting it in practice for myself. I sincerely hope that those who needed you are now ok or well on their way to being so.

  27. Just because your a Mom doesn’t mean you never get disappointed. It happens all of the time. What makes you an awesome Mom is, even though you want to stay and you are disappointed, you came home anyway. That says you love your family. That’s what makes you an awesome Mom. Be disappointed, I give you permission. Have a beer and a good cry, no one said the world would be fair.

  28. The motherF#@$*(% police is what they should be called. I hope that you returning was appreciated. Welcome to my “never enough, never good enough” world. Hope that all concerned are well or at least getting better.

  29. Okay, poor grammar and wrong words here and there. I hit the wrong button and did not get to proof it…
    So…be honest and our heads…that should clear it up.

  30. You need to read “Bad Mother” by Aylet Waldman. You will relate to is SO MUCH! I know I did. I had always said “to hell with the Mommy Police” but now, after reading “Bad Mother” I am devoted to that idea. We know when we need to be with our families, and when to put ourselves first, but the Mommy Police is there passing judgement no matter WHAT decision we make. You did the right thing…..I know. But really would the world have ended if you had stayed at SOAR?

  31. I’ve given up hoping that I’ll get credit from the fam when they’re older for things I do now. If the only reason I do something is for the Good Mother points, chances are it will be forgotten by everyone but me in about a week. We make these choices because they seem right to us, and as I’ve been trying to impart to the children, sometimes the right thing still feels rotten. Life is full of contradictions.

  32. Bummer! Rant away and good for you for letting it out! I hope that no one says that it was “just a knitting thing” that you missed. That would be grounds for going “postal”!

  33. I think it is good that you are being honest about your disapointment. By talking about it, you are preventing resentment from building up, and also showing your daughters by example that this is what mothers do…..but they don’t always have to like it, or be silent about it!

  34. A “Good Mother” is not someone who takes care of their family’s needs and never minds the sacrifices that come from doing so. Rather, a “Good Mother” is someone who takes care of their family’s needs in spite of the fact that she does mind the sacrifices that come from doing so (sometimes more than others).
    Part of being a “Good Mother” (especially to girls) is showing children that their mother (and father) is a person with needs and interests and talents of their own outside of the family realm. And teaching children that their mother (and father) does not exist solely to cater to them. (and by the way, the rest of the world doesn’t revolve around them either…)
    And the other part of being a “Good Mother” is also showing them that their mother will be there for them when they are really needed.
    I know. Because I have a Good Mother. When I was in middle school and she went back to school and wasn’t at home waiting for me, I did not like it at all. And my father gave me a talking to about family – and that we all help each other and all of our wants and needs are important (not just mine). And as I grew up and she got her Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees, I admired her accomplishments, professional and personal and she was and is a great role model. And with all of her accomplishments and success, she tells me and shows me that I am important to her. And now that I’m 47 years old, I still admire her. And I still now that if I need her, she will be there.

  35. Forgot to add……If you hadn’t gone to SOAR at all, someone would have criticized you…..if you had not come home, somebody would criticize. Somebody will criticize you for complaining about missing SOAR. Somebody will criticize you for not demanding some “Me Time.” I suppose the Mommy Police wouldn’t be so bad, if they had ONE set of rules, and everyone knew what those darn rules were!!!!!!
    Motherhood….the origin of the phrase…”damned if you do and damned if you don’t”

  36. Mums are also human, and if I were you I’d be absolutely gutted. Thank you so much for not remaining silent, and sharing your disappointment with us – I’m sure it’s not what you meant to do, but it’s wonderful to get the message that you can still be a person with your own interests who is upset when they have to miss something they’ve been looking forward to due to family obilgations, instead of how they love being a mother so much it erases all other aspects of their personality.
    Your Good Mother Police need to reasses exactly what a good mother is, if they’re beating you up over this one.

  37. I don’t personally know much about the Mother Memo, Police etc. However, I do agree you teach your kids a lot more about being an adult by admitting your disappointment but coming home anyhow out of love and loyalty. Hope all is better know.

  38. Well I say F to the Mother Police. Society makes women feel that they have to place themself in second place to others, and them be happy about it. Well I say no. What you did was wonderful and what anyone should do for their family and loved ones, and you should be able to feel bummed and sad that you had to leave an event that you were looking forward to. While I don’t have a husband or children, I took care of my parents for as long as I can remember. I did it because I loved them, but I will admit that I also resented it many times, and still miss the things that I was not able to do because of taking care of them. However, I will also say that in many ways, my life experience is richer because of this experience, and while they have both passed, I am still here and while I can not do everything, I can still accomplish a lot.

  39. YOU. ROCK. Good for you, to do the hard thing – and you know that the Mother Police would’ve been screaming at you if you’d stayed. (I know, I have 4 kids of my own, and have just come off of 2 weeks of Flu Duty – YUCK).
    But tell the Mother Police litany-in-your-head to SHUT UP about feeling badly that you’re not at SOAR (it is OK to mentally yell – trust me, it works). I’d feel badly too (btdt) – and being bummed is both honest, quite justifiable and to be expected. I think that speaks volumes to your family – yes, you’re disappointed, but you also did the very adult thing – what a fantastic example. KUDOS to YOU – I’ll say it again: YOU. TOTALLY. ROCK.

  40. Amen. Though I fight with the Mother Police every single day.
    I hope that all is well at home.

  41. Your post reminds me so much of Ann Lamott’s ‘radio KFUKT’ (or something like that) from ‘Bird By Bird’– wishing you health, and peace, and wondering why we carry around our own portable critics… good thing we have the knitting too.

  42. Being a mother is the most under appreciated, demanding and selfless job in the world. You’re an amazing mother. Sorry to hear you are missing SOAR. :(

  43. I agree with you 100%. A good mother does not hide her feelings and pretend to be happy when she is sad! You have the right to feel disappointed, and it would be dishonest to your family if you never told them. Society needs to be OK with women (and men) telling people the truth and not always pretending to be happy. I’m sure your family is very grateful that you care so much about them that you were willing to leave an event you had looked forward to for so long. That is a true sacrifice.

  44. I’m squarely in the Bad Mother column because (since we’re being honest today) I would not have flown home. My husband is an engineer so he is pretty good with the washing machine. I definitely do the little things that make the kids more comfortable when they are sick, but my husband can keep them alive. Being even more honest, this situation has already happened to me and I have not flown home and have not even felt guilty about it. This kind of stuff builds character. ;) I think it even bonds the kids more closely with their dad when he cares for them in their sickness.

  45. The best mothers are those who are REAL PEOPLE…with REAL FEELINGS…good for you for coming home and good for you for note being a saint about it…

  46. I think it is absolutely okay for you to feel bad about missing SOAR AND be a good mother at the same time. You are not blaming your family for making you miss it and you have set your priorities and put your family first – that makes you a good mother.

  47. You know I’ve seen those memos and heard those voices. I’m sorry things are such that you need to be at home. I’m also sorry we feel like we’re told that we can’t be sad if we don’t get what we want. I think the best lessons we teach our kids (thus part of the “good mom” purpose) is that sometimes life sucks but we do what’s right. But we don’t have to be happy about it. How else can we break the cycle of feeling bad for being human.
    Besides kids are like dogs they sense our fear/resentment. If we aren’t honest about it it hurts them too.

  48. I missed Madrona Fiber Festival last year because I had a sick lamb. Still wish I could have taken the Runes class from Elsebeth Lavold that I had scheduled (my heart aches when I think about it), but I stayed home. Little Blossom survived & is in the pasture with all her aunties now, & she is my best little buddy. I would do the same all over again.
    If it’s contagious, I hope you don’t catch whatever it is that brought you home!

  49. I’m with you. I love my family. And I might make the same decision in your place. But reserving the right to be disappointed (or even resentful) seems perfectly reasonable.
    Hope the needs are not to awful and all is well soon.

  50. Haven’t even read the full post yet or any of the comments but just want to say, very emphatically, that it’s the fact that you DO mind but returned home anyway, that makes you a Very Good Mother Indeed – and don’t let anyone (even you) say otherwise. Maybe, just maybe it will be made up to you in some way sometime; I sincerely hope so.

  51. Amen to all of that. I was just having that very same argument with myself in the mirror this morning.

  52. THANK YOU for that post. I have struggled with this and the Mother Police about did me in the first 5 years of my children’s lives. Martyrdom is not o.k. I keep trying to find that balance-nice to know I’m not alone.

  53. I’m really sorry you had to give up your trip and return home for your family, but there really isn’t anywhere that says you’re not allowed to be disappointed about it. Don’t be so hard on yourself, Steph. ((HUGS))

  54. The Mother Police make me feel like I should be happy that I can breastfeed my son (I am) and I should relish the special time we get to spend together (mostly I do). But there are evenings that I want to do something for me, and I can’t. And there are evenings that I want to go to bed at 8pm and sleep all night, but I can’t. When the Mother Police tell me I should enjoy the quiet of feeding him two or three times a night when the rest of the house is sleeping, I call BS. I do it and I will continue to do it. And I know that someday I will get to sleep. And I know that in the grand scheme of things this is a short time in his life, that his brain is developing like gangbusters and waking him up regularly and that he’s not trying to cause me awful sleep deprivation.
    But that doesn’t mean I can’t be upset about the fact that I haven’t slept for more than 4 hours in a row in 6 months or that bedtime is hard or I rarely get any “me” time that is just about me and not about nursing a baby while I knit or watching TV while I hold a baby, etc.
    I hope you can start making plans for SOAR 2010 soon and that your family feels better.

  55. I hope that whatever brought you home from SOAR has been helped by your caring presence. Judgments aside, motherhood is a commitment you can’t phone in, especially when life sucks for your child.
    It seems to me that you have provided yet another example of how to be a caring responsible adult for your children, your family and all of us.
    xo Stephanie, I hope everything is ok now.

  56. You definitely get a gold star. I won’t make you feel better but you earned it. No sage advice. It sucks and always has.

  57. From someone who has their own version of “Mother Police” in her head (no kids, just the feeling that I am the one who has to take care of everyone in my family), may I say “you done good”?
    you are human, you are allowed to be resentful and disappointed and sad that you are not where you wanted to be. You would only be a bad mother if you had not come home when needed, despite your own desires. From my point of view, you are a darned GOOD mother for putting your family first. Grumbling is allowed, expected and probably necessary to release the resentment.

  58. I second Alyson – go pick up a copy of “Bad Mother” right now or just read the first essay in “Manhood for Amateurs” and know there are others like you out in the world.

  59. You are a normal, good mother. You did what you had to do, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it. I am confident that you will get back to SOAR for a week another year, but sometimes the reality of life smacks us in our face. Sometimes life sucks!

  60. Not acknowledging the “this just sucks” parts of life is what causes most stress. Trying to hide your disappointment is only going to give you a migraine. You have as much right to be disapointed in not being able to do what you waited months to do as any other human being on the planet. You have nothing to feel guilty about.
    As any care giver will tell you; you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else. When the crisis is over at home, reward yourself with some “Stephanie time”

  61. Awwww Shit!! Sorry to hear about it. But, the flu could be something awful & you needed to find out. I mean, even with beer & knitting, what if it was something REALLY bad & you just stayed & enjoyed yourself??? Not that I’d admit it in public you understand, but I’d probably have gone home too. There will always be SOAR & Rhinebeck. Your kids grow up & move on . . . Gawd, I think I hear a Country Song in there somewhere . . .

  62. Good PEOPLE also take care of themselves once in a while, and it’s perfectly OK to be disappointed. Screw the Mother Police! Be disappointed, and take care of those who need it (including you, sometimes). Sorry you missed SOAR, there’s always next year.

  63. What I don’t get is that there isn’t a Father Police.
    I just took my daughter on a 36 hour round trip medical appointment to DC, got home at midnight, and still had to get up this morning and make her a Halloween costume so she could march in the school parade. Said father had promised to make said costume last weekend but he ‘didn’t get around to it.’ Who has made all the costumes and attended all of the school parades? One guess. On a good day, I will tell you that making my child’s Halloween costume is a ‘perk’ of being a mom, one I cheerfully signed up for when I adopted my daughter, 11 years ago. This morning I wasn’t so sure. But she smiled when she tried it on (she was a deviled egg), and that did help my mood quite a bit.
    Your thanks will come when your family has to do the same thing for their family down the road. At least that’s what I tell myself.

  64. Oh, I’m so sorry you’re missing SOAR! But I have to say that the Mother Police are dead wrong. Good mothers DO mind, but they’re there for their family when they’re needed. You’ve just showed your family that you love them more than wool (though I suspect they never doubted that). Hugs and hope that everything gets better soon!

  65. Wow, I’m proud of you for acknowledging the sucky part and still doing what you know is the right thing for your family. No one’s business but your own. Good luck and happy wishes for whatever brought you home. Take care

  66. The part that I get annoyed with (at least in MY life) is that whereas I, as the mother am expected to drop everything and run to take care of my kids no matter what my personal plans or needs are… but my exhusband is NOT expected to fill that role the times HE has the children. Oh no, if the kids are sick or need to get somewhere or he has them on a day that is inconvienient for his hobbies, plans, or desires he either dumps them off on ME (using the Mom Police guilt) OR he leaves them with HIS mother (see, yet another MOM to fill the MOM roll)…
    Hell, I wish he’d just drop pretending to want them even half time and let me just be the one responsible for them 100% instead of pretending to fit their lives into his classes and dates and events…
    But i’m not bitter.

  67. Isn’t it sort of like bring brave? How can you be courageous, if you aren’t scared? How can you give anything up for your family, if you don’t miss it when you don’t get to do it?
    Your family is lucky to have you, and I hope that the ones that need you thank you…in a few years, if they aren’t in a position to right now, anyway.
    My mother police is a lot like yours…and I have a few people continually telling me that they are overactive…..Happily my older daughters encourage me to ignore the police!

  68. thank you for saying what I feel but thought it must just be me. I’m glad you were there when you needed to be and I’m really glad for the rest of us, that you said what many of us think in our heads…

  69. The honesty with which you are expressing your feelings can only be a good model for your daughters. I believe that you would counsel them to acknowledge their disappointment in the same way. Molly – what a lovely story about your experience with your own Good Mother.

  70. I’m sorry to hear about you missing your event… It’s good to know there are good mothers in the world and I appreciate your honesty!

  71. Well, I have much less mothering experience than you, but:
    Good mothers can feel more than one thing simultaneously.
    1) Really sad/pissed off/disappointed that they are missing out on their awesome well-deserved week of fun.
    2) Sad that they are needed at home for blech/ sad/ really not good circumstances.
    3) Glad that they are needed. ‘Cause nothing, nothing is better than Mom when you need her. ….Though did you have to be needed THIS week?

  72. I wish this post had a agree button, as on Ravelry!
    It’s really hard – OK, it SUCKS – that you had to come home from some well deserved time away for which you’d saved up/sacrificed to go. I hope that whatever it was has resolved, and that you’ll be able to get some time and space to do something YOU like.

  73. Guilt is so destructive! Culturally we’ve moved from not thinking of women as having valid needs at all to allowing a woman to have needs as long as she feels properly guilty or conflicted about them and as long as she is ready to drop them in order to fulfill her maternal role.
    I think one of the reasons (and there are many) that we aren’t allowed to express unhappiness when we have to give something up to care for another is because our unhappiness then is perceived as a “burden” to the ones we’ve had to put before our own needs and desires. Thus furthering the guilt chain. So good for you, for speaking up and breaking a link in the insidious guilt chain that keeps so many women from living honest and balanced lives. My gratitude and hugs to you!

  74. I am certain, Steph, that you have forgotten the scene in one of the original Star Trek movies where Dr. Spock has sacrificed himself to save the rest of certainly the crew, and possibly mankind. Bones McCoy asks him, “Why?” And Spock replies, “Sometimes the needs of many supercedes the needs of the one.” It is a wonderfully moving moment, especially since it involves the totally unemotional Spock. And this is exactly what you’ve done; you’ve admitted that the needs of many are at the moment more important than the needs of one.
    Congratulations. You are a grown-up.
    There will be SOAR next year and you will have the opportunity to go again, for the week, get all the classes you want, and see all your friends. It will be all the sweeter for your sacrifice this year.

  75. Wow – you are amazing. I love your honesty. Sorry you had to miss out on your trip. That really sucks. Hopefully something wonderful will happen while you’re back that will make it all worthwhile. I’m sending good thoughts your way….

  76. Every time I scroll through my blog list, I note that you haven’t written in a long while and that’s not like you. And, for a moment, I worried that everything was o.k. And then I remember that you are at SOAR. And I think – all is well and you’re just having a fabulous time and you’ll write when you get back.
    So sorry you had to give that up. Hope all is improving at home.

  77. When I become a mother, I hope I am as Good a mother as you are, Stephanie. That pretty much sums it up.
    P.S. I hope the green Malabrigo from Sock Summit has helped you through the furnace and Mother Police.

  78. The mother police can go back to the 1950′s where they belong. It sucks that you have to miss SOAR but the fact that you skipped something that you really wanted in order to take care of your family makes you a much better mother than what the “mother police” allow. Have a cookie. :)

  79. This whole being a mom thing is really hard. But I say good for you for showing your daughters and family just what being a Good Mom is all about: being there for your family, but not cheating yourself on your emotions for what you wanted either. If we as moms don’t show our kids (especially our daughters – given the society we live in) OUR emotions, how can we expect them to grow up to be daughters who will also be free to emote, while doing the right (and needed) thing? Glad you can vent, and show your family just how important your feelings and desires are to you, while being there the way a mom sometimes just needs to be. Hugs to you from me. :)

  80. Love it! I am about to be a mom for the first time in the next couple of weeks (I will be full term in 1 week 3 days – but who’s counting!). I may print this out and put it on the fridge for reminding at 3 am feedings. :)

  81. “This has been a test of your local Good Mom Police.” You passed – hope everyone is okay.

  82. I think there is a difference between “Good” Mothers and “True” Mothers. True Mothers do all the stuff that GooMos do but they don’t get lost in the process. True Mothers go home when needed yet still feel bummed about missing the party they had to leave. Take care of yourself, True Mother.

  83. Hats off to you. You are a much better mom then I could ever be. The only thing that can tear me away from Soar was if i was flying back to attend one of their funeral!!

  84. I hope everything is okay chez you, and I’m really sorry that you had to miss SOAR. If presented with the same situation, many mothers would not only stay at SOAR but would bitch about being asked to make a decision that they might not like. From my perspective, you’re a terrific mom.

  85. When my kids were small, I so wanted to market a bumper sticker for mothers that said: Powered by Guilt.
    I felt much the same as you do Stephanie – frustrated that I sometimes couldn’t get to do something or see someone that I really wanted to, because my family’s needs came first at that moment, despite all my careful planning. And so so guilty for even thinking about my own needs and wants, ahead of my family’s.
    And then feeling double-bad as I couldn’t express my real feelings because I didn’t want my family to feel guilty when I chose to put them first.
    And then triple-bad because no one seemed to recognize the price I was paying, YET AGAIN. (Yes, “Dear” Ex, I am talking about you!)
    Excellent post. Thank you for expressing what so many of us feel/have felt but didn’t want to utter aloud.

  86. In ten years (or less!) you will be glad you came home. The one thing I wish I had done with my kids is spend MORE time with them, even during those awful teen years.

  87. Wow. You definitely qualify as in the Good Mom department in my book. I’m with BadMom and Heather S. on this one … there would almost have to be a hospitalization to pull me away from something I saved/sacrificed for months to earn. I may have felt horribly guilty about it though.

  88. Maturity is doing what you have to do. Reality is that it is not always fun. The mother police owe you many stars…..martyrs are not lovable but mothers with real disappointments are. Good luck.

  89. I once had a friend that turned out to be a very bad friend. When we stopped being friends, I felt for a long time that I had wasted years of my life on an unhealthy friendship. I believe everything happens for a reason, and I believe the whole point of the whole of my relationship with this horrible person is that she gave me one piece of advice that I think has saved my sanity in ways I cannot describe. So strange that she is one of the few people who said something I never forgot and it changed my life. She told me “You are allowed to feel any way you want, it’s how you act on those feelings that matter.”
    Screw the Mother Police.

  90. Good mothers DO mind, but they do it anyway, and that’s what makes them good mothers. Don’t beat yourself up; it sucks to miss SOAR. (I’d be really sad.) It’s just that, sometimes, other things hold trump.

  91. Being a good mother is doing what you have to do even when you don’t want to do it. Just like being brave is not the absense of fear, but doing something even though you are afraid.

  92. In my circle, I’m just about the ONLY mom who feels like she both needs and deserves a life outside of her kids….which is a pretty nifty trick to manage when one is a stay at home mom. Even my best friend thinks I’m nuts because once in a while I ship my kids off to my parents’ home for a week and I actually enjoy spending time away from them. I even have a weekly Mom’s night off, which is an absolute neccessity as far as I’m concerned.
    So thank you for this post. It’s pretty much exactly how I feel about mothering, and because I don’t hear it from my friends it’s nice to hear it from you.

  93. There is a difference between a Good Mother and the Martyr Mother who never puts herself first or expresses honest disappointment. You done good. It hurt. A few ouches are allowed.

  94. I hear you on this one! A few years ago I gave up a trip to France(that I now can’t afford)at the last minute to tend a child. Oh, and there was the time I gave up a needlework retreat after being there only 6 hours for the other child. Yes, I did the right thing and would do it again.(actually, I have) but I still have pangs when I see a picture of the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triumphe. Merde!

  95. I think the good mother memo sucks.
    It takes a fabulous mother to leave something she has worked and waited for all year for her family. I don’t think a fabulous mother has to be happy about it, though. It’s just not healthy to ignore all your feelings and emotions, and doing so would be setting a bad example for your kids, right?

  96. Stephanie, I was moved by this post. I, too, spend a lot of time trying to live up to the ridiculous standards of the “Mom Police”. I think mine carry billy clubs. (Must say that I agree with a couple of the posters who ventured to wonder where the “Dad Police” are…..) I also wonder whether the Mom Police are internal or external. Maybe both.
    I find it odd that parenting experts claim that one is a better parent and a more rounded human being, blah blah blah, if one pursues outside interests, BUT there is still a climate of judgment surrounding everything that mothers do. I’m glad you called bulls**t on the mom police. Underneath the mom clothes, are human beings.
    Having read this blog since pretty much the beginning, I know that you are an outstanding mother. I know that leaving SOAR was the right decision for you and your family. I’m really sorry about the disappointment, though. You deserve bonus points.

  97. I totally agree with everything you said, and hope that all is well with your family soon.
    Take care (of you and Joe and the kids)

  98. Yep, the Good Mother Police and I duked it out over Sock Summit. The Good Husband Police, and other circumstances aided me in making my decision to just go to Portland.
    The joy and happiness, and the opportunity to not be at everyone’s beck and call, for those 5 days I was gone have made me a happier person, and yes, a better mother.
    So sorry you had to miss SOAR. I hope everything and everyone is okay there

  99. Thanks for saying that out loud. I’m too chicken to. I’ll give you extra points.
    That’s what the “Damn” was for, huh. I thought maybe your computer got lifted, or something.

  100. I hope everyone at home is getting better and all is well. I am sorry you had to miss out on something you had been waiting so long for. But know that there are a lot of us out there that understand and have been in your shoes.
    Go have a cold pint and create something with cashmere. And know that you are well loved. :)

  101. Kudos to you for not being so bamboozled by the Mother Police that you don’t realize that it’s totally ok to wish you could have it all!

  102. I’m a grown daughter who recently had her own crisis and desperately needed her mum. On behalf of your daughters who desperately need you – Thank You. Thank you so very, very much.

  103. IMHO Bad mothers say “Oh, it’s okay, I don’t mind, really…” then sulk around and leave their family with a confused load of guilt. Good mothers say “I was really looking forward to that for a long time and I’m disappointed, but you are even more important to me.”
    I think it’s more than okay to tell the truth. I would feel very loved if someone did that for me, and I would understand if they needed to cry or kick tires about it.
    Good moms don’t lie and they don’t play guilt games. Real Good Moms say “Dang. What horrible timing. I hate this.” as they are dropping everything to get on 3 planes and come to your rescue. My sympathy for whatever is happening with you. If a total stranger can tell how much you care in a blog, I can just imagine how thankful your family is for your love and concern.

  104. Steph, the Mother Police have their facts wrong. What makes someone a good mother is doing it (putting your family ahead of yourself), NOT liking it.
    Rest easy, feel free to feel bad.

  105. The very fact that it is so difficult will make it a treasured memory for your family in the years to come that you made that choice. And yes, what you want and plan matters a great deal–while it also puts perspective on things and deepens the value of your choice over time. (Says the mom who’s got ten years on you.)
    Thank you for doing what felt right.

  106. Possibly explains the Twitter “damn” two days ago? Take care and do the best you can.

  107. Possibly explains the Twitter “damn” two days ago? Take care and do the best you can.

  108. I recently informed my teenager that I want my life back!!! and that he’d better be headed for college in two years, or there’ll be hell to pay.
    But if he needed me, yeah, I’d be there. If he asked me one of those “Does it make me look fat” questions, I’ll tell him the truth – I have regretted missing out on things, honestly, but yes. You are there when they need you, because you love them.
    And then, you can go to SOAR next year. Maybe they’ll let you have first pick on classes!

  109. Good mothers do the stuff they need to do because they are good mothers. That doesn’t mean you don’t resent doing it sometimes or even every time. It just means you are normal. I count myself a good mother and a normal member of the human race. Sometimes I’m behind a lap or two in the race.

  110. {hugs} you’re not just any mother. you’re a human mother. i wish i could warp space-time for you so that you could do all right now. you deserve it.

  111. It has long been my belief, and my children are now 30 and 26, that honesty about my own feelings is much more important than my children thinking that I don’t feel strongly about things. That said, they also know that I would throw myself under the bus for them, whether I was happy to do it or not.
    Being a mom is difficult but we don’t have to pretend that we are happy about all of the demands it puts on us. Do we?

  112. very well said Stephanie! You are one of The Amazing Mom’s for that exact reason. (round of applause) As someone who is hoping to be a Mom soon herself, I’m terrified about having to give up things that I love…and I’m not embarassed to say that! Its going to be tough. But I’m also really excited, because I know whats really going to happen is that I’m going to WANT to give up some of the things I love in order to give TO another person! :O) I think thats going to feel really great, even the being sad about missing out on something is going to feel good because I’m going to know I’m doing it becaus I want to. >>

  113. Agreed. I don’t understand why people insist that things must be so simplistic as this or that. You can both want to do the right thing, glad you have children, yet be bummed by what the “right thing” does to your own wants, needs and aspirations.
    I hope whatever it is they need you for isn’t too dire or upsetting. I hope you are all okay.

  114. Being a “Good Mom” on this level entitles you to some “cashmere therapy” later right? Hope everything is better for the family now.

  115. I’m so sorry you had to leave SOAR. That sucks big time. I agree with everything you said about “good mothers” except I would change it go “good parents” because my husband has walked away some amazing things to be home where he was needed (like giving up an awesome seat at a World Series game 6 to be home cleaning up toddler puke).

  116. As a small child,(4th grade) when I got sick. (the throwing up kind) my mother was unavailable because she worked. (My father wasn’t in the picture.) There was no one there for me when I got sick. I have always resented that my mother could stay home with my sibling but not with me. I understand, logically, that they were smaller and someone (her) would have to stay home with them. It still bothers me, because I would have liked to have her there telling me I would be alright, that this was just the flu. But kids don’t know that. She told me later that she felt bad that she wasn’t home home with me but by then, I was older and knew it was just a virus.
    I don’t know much about sock knitting and with the economy the way it is, you might miss out next year, but something unexpected and wonderful might just turn up.
    It also doesn’t help when the press is publishing every horror story about the flu stirring up worries.

  117. *nod nod nod*
    I think as moms we spend waaaay too much time feeling guilty about anything we do for ourselves, and then on top of that we feel guilty for wanting to do something for ourselves even if we choose not to do it and put kids/family first.

  118. You did what you thought was best, despite your disappointment.
    The Mother Police are training you for later when the Daughter Police show up. That sound you heard was my sigh of frustration.
    Many good wishes that whatever was wrong in your household will be righted very soon.

  119. I hope you and your family feel better soon! This post made me cry — thank you so much for articulating that there IS a often a huge chasm between how we actually feel and how we’re supposed to feel. Even though I’m not a mother, I can still relate and feel like your post has given me a little bit of strength to own up to the gaps between the expected and actual in my own life.

  120. Put me in the “crappy mother” category. I’m the only one I know who admits to doing the touchdown dance when DD finally got on the bus for the first day of school. I CANNOT WAIT until she goes off to college. Today was one of those days when I resented the hell out of having to deal with her immature behavior (she’s almost 17), but that is what I signed on for and nobody else is volunteering to do it for me. I love her to death, and I do mean death, but some days it feels like a job–a thankless job.
    I’m sure some asshat out there is giving you crap because of your honesty. SCREW THEM and the horse they rode in on. Anybody who says parenting is a joy 24/7 is either lying or high.
    I nominate you for Mother of the Year for your honesty. Thank you for making me feel less of a bitch.

  121. That last line? exactly.
    and also…I mean, seriously, none of my kids ever kept their disappointments quiet, in fact I’ve yet to see a kid NOT voice their disappointments on some level.

  122. Good Mother/ took years of therapy to finally discover I was a person with needs..that needed to be I rediscovered knitting and grown..their needs are their own to fulfill..You know what husbands can really put the guilt factor on for their needy feelings…I also learned they can survive on their own..I AM THE ONE THAT NEEDS THE FREEDOM..WITHOUT GUILT…so my friend, the time is now for yours..don’t be a carpet…

  123. I’m sorry you’re missing the fun. I feel your pain, having two boys who’ve taken turns being sick for the past three weeks. Sometimes, being a mom feels like life is just zooming by. I take my mom duties seriously, but it does suck when you miss those fun times where you can be “You” instead of “Mom.” Hope everyone is ok in your family! Good thoughts for you!

  124. Moms are people too, and people have wants. It’s entirely acceptable to be disappointed when duty calls and you have to give up something you’ve been saving up for and wanting for months.
    Life is one long process of learning how to balance your needs and desires with those of others. It’s something that your family can and should understand.
    And love you more for it and not expect you to be superwoman.

  125. I hope all will be well at home soon. It would be strange and worrying if your were not sad and disappointed.
    Besides I believe it is pointless to be guilty about feelings. Guilt should only come from wrong *actions*. Your actions were commendable.

  126. I hope whatever the need was is nothing TOO irrevocably serious and that all involved parties are on the mend.
    And it totally sucks that you had to miss SOAR.

  127. They say when we are young and single we put ourselves first. Then we meet, fall in love, make a commitment and put our partners needs first. Then come kids and they come first, the partner second, and our needs are last.
    I’m told that eventually when the kids are grown and on their own, living productive lives that then we can begin to put ourselves first again.
    I just wish the kids would get to that point a little faster.
    Take a little time for yourself and what the heck go buy some of that yummy mink/cashmere yarn I keep seeing on blogs. You deserve something for your tremendous sacrifice after all.

  128. You did what you had to do! If you had stayed it, you would have been hounded by the Good Mother Police. You have a right to feel let down and disappointed. Us mothers do not get enough ME time. I did the touchdown dance when my daughter went off to colleg, I danced again when she got married. But darn I’m still a MOM and when she calls I still ask How High. I guess it never goes away. I was mother and father so I really felt I had to be there. Now I feel guilty if I don’t meet her expectation – and kick myself every time. My grandkids are my reward though!

  129. Well, of course. It explains the tweet a few days ago. My mom used to say she’d do things for us, give up stuff – her equivalent of SOAR – and say – “I’m doing it because I love you. But I’m not happy.” That just made sense to me, and seems like a commendable role model.
    You got your head screwed on right – it’s why we love you.

  130. To the mother police I say,”no complaining until YOu are a mother. Then you will understand.”. I just flew to Denver to care for my sister who had a double mastectomy. She wanted to pay for my travel expenses. I said no, someday she might need to do the same for me , or our parents, etc. We do these things because we are caring humans.

  131. Kid, you got the memo, but you must not have turned it over to read the back. The Motherhood Memo covers what you do; it doesn’t cover how you ought to feel because every mother and most non’s know that’s not under your control. You did the right thing — you’re golden.
    And since I take this kind of disappointment with all the maturity of a six-year-old being told Christmas has been cancelled, I’m gonna overlook that “ALL my friends are at SOAR.” This bites and sucks and … well, from there it rhymes.

  132. I was seriously worried about you. I was going, “Stephanie, is that you? Have you been eaten by the pod people?” At least until I got to the “Well, maybe it makes me a bad mother,” part. Close one!
    I’m going to tell you what I have heard people say about the knitting police. The Mother Police do not exist. I’m not a mother, but believe me, if they existed, I would have seen them by now. I have 3 brothers, and the youngest was a doozy. Hot-tempered and ready for battle. Any battle anywhere. He would be the child the Mother Police would have nightmares about, if they actually existed.
    Here’s hoping you get a crack at next year’s SOAR.

  133. I can say from experience that sometimes there are things that only a mom’s presence can fix. Being sick is sometimes one of them. And of course you should feel regretful about missing all the fun stuff- moms need fun, too!

  134. I’m bummed for you- missing SOAR sucks big time but you are right on all counts – Good mothering requires a conscious decision making process and your family may not always appreciate your good deeds now but they will in the future when they have to make those decisions themselves- They will also always remember when you were there for them.

  135. Whatever is going on, I gather it is/was more than Joe could handle by himself. You were right to go home, and you are right to be sad and angry and upset at the timing of whatever it is, and to wish you were at SOAR, but to do the right thing anyway. Wishing you peace and wisdom as you find your way through whatever is going on with your family.

  136. Brilliantly put. I hope all is settling out well from whatever crisis has befallen.
    May I suggest wine, a bubble bath and a really good cry?

  137. Hope that all becomes well soon. Thank God for the “… Police,” they sometimes help keep us from going astray, but also thank God that we can tell them to “shut up,” those times that they are totally off base. It is the mother police that keep me from strangling dear ones sometimes. Peace and blessings.

  138. I also vote for the glass of wine, good chocolate (have you tried Soma from the Distillery District?) and that mink/cashmere yarn.
    thanks for the thought-provoking post

  139. I think the fact that you really didn’t want to come home, but did it anyway, knowing it might not be appreciated, and that you would probably slightly regret it, is what makes you a good mother.
    I think the Mother Police are probably just a Halloween spooky story, don’t worry about them!

  140. Not only should your ability to admit your disappointment make your choice more meaningful to your family, you’re also setting your daughters up to have realistic expectations of themselves as mothers one day. That is a very GOOD MOTHER thing to do.
    Hope all crises are resolved soon.

  141. You need to read Gail Collins’s new book, “When Everything Changed” Basically, women got every thing with feminism and it happened so fast that no one discussed who was supposed to take care of the kids. Now women work AND do everything at home. I know your Joe (and mine) do their share of domestic duties, but women are still EXPECTED to be everywhere, and usually those expectations are coming from other women. So mourn SOAR, because it’s real and sad, and choices are hard sometimes, now that we have way to many to make.

  142. This is the biggest reason that I didn’t have children – not only not wanting to be faced with these choices but not feeling that I could make the one you did even once, let alone on a regular basis. I couldn’t go to SOAR and can’t imagine getting there and then having to leave. Your regret and longing are completely appropriate and I’m sure that your family does not grudge you those feelings at all, and I’m also sure that they will do what they can to show their gratitude for your sacrifice.
    In the meantime, go ahead and pout and grumble and rage. It’s OK.

  143. You know… sometimes I wonder if there is a “Dad Police” I think not. The Mom Police would prevail anyhow.

  144. I hope everything is okay with your family. It must have been pretty serious to leave SOAR and fly all the way back.
    That selfless mother crap is twaddle. You are a good mother. You do the right thing for your family because they are your family and it’s the right thing to do. You are entitled not to like it. If anyone tells you different send them my way.

  145. Good mothers are there when you need them dispite the fact that they are disappointed to be missing out on something they love AND have been looking forward to!!!! I am not a mother but I had one and speaking as a daughter I was always happy she was there for me no matter what. You made the mature choice, the one you needed to make as a mother – that doesn’t mean you have to be happy and satisfied with missing this week! So sorry you are missing it!

  146. Agreed. Totally.
    I hope whom-or-what-ever needed you is better and back to rights, and I hope you get to do something fabulous.
    Because you deserve it.

  147. Your blog usually makes me laugh, always entertains, often teaches, but has never before today made me cry. I really needed to read this today. It really affirmed a part of me that needed affirming today. Thanks.

  148. That made me cry a little bit, because I often feel like I’m a terrible mom for not feeling bad about going off and doing the things I want to do every once in a while. Thank you.

  149. There’s no way that ANY mother in her right mind would WANT to do the pukey laundry instead of (insert activity of choice). The good mothers of the world do it anyway – even though they DON’T want to.

  150. Imagine, a mother with her own brain, her own interests, her own life beyond her children! It is so inane to expect that we can be “good mothers” and nothing more. Just hope you don’t catch the bug from doing the laundry. Joe must have gone down with it too – ug. Sometimes life is just crappy and having to leave SOAR is just that – crappy.

  151. Yes, we mothers put our families first. . . . sometimes this makes me unhappy and even angry. However, like you, I always follow through with family first. But I refuse to let the Mother Police make me feel guilty about it!

  152. From another perspective, let me say that “What goes around, comes around”. I find myself now in the position of caring for my nearly 91 year old Mother. When I was young I remember she made many personal scrifices to be there for me.
    I now find myself giving up plans and ‘things’ I had REALLY wanted to put her needs before mine.
    All you can hope is that someday, your kids/family will remember your scrifice and pay it back by being there for you.

  153. So sorry that you had to go home and miss such a big event.
    Been there, done that.
    I missed my ten year high school reunion (with 18 kids in the class one person missing is a BIG deal). I missed it because my son (my baby) was starting kindergarten.
    I, like you, went through some guilt, but I am so happy that I didn’t miss the moment of walking him in to his first official day of school.
    You get points by me, my knitting mentor.

  154. Good mothers also take time out for themselves to unwind…this way they can continue to be productive functioning good mothers. I do know how you feel.

  155. So sorry you’re missing something you were looking forward to so much! “Good” mothers make me a little crazy. But you, dear Harlot, are a great mother. And that includes being honest when it sucks.

  156. Wow that’s hard but I really admire how you had to listen to your gut – even if you didn’t like what you heard. Your family will appreciate every minute and I bet even try to make you know how much it meant that you came back home to do laundry, comfort them, and knit some more. Hope your new furnace is in place soon – along with more foundation bricks…I wish you well, Stephanie.

  157. i hope all is well with you, joe and the girls. i agree with pretty much everyone else that this was a great post and these things need to be said. keep piping up and take good care of yourself and your family.

  158. Definition of sacrifice: Giving up something you want for something you want more. To deny that what you have given up has real value would negate the idea of sacrifice as well as teaching your daughters that the passions and interests they follow are not important. However, few mothers would deny that the welfare of their family trumps many other things. Making the decision you did was obviously the right one for you, and that doesn’t in any way mitigate the pain of giving up something dearly desired.

  159. Thank you for this post – so honest and insightful, and as a soon-to-be mom it is something that I think will help me in the future.
    So sorry that you had to choose between two things that you love, and I hope fervently that whatever is wrong is easily fixable by your presence.

  160. I am not a mother.
    I am a daughter.
    And if my Mom gave up something like SOAR or Rhinebeck or a book sale or a coffee out with a friend for me, you can bet I would notice it and appreciate it. (Because she has, more than I care to recall, and I have, less vocally than I ought to.)
    And when she does/did…you can bet a skein of cashmere sock yarn, or breakfast in bed, or at the VERY least a hug and unloaded dishwasher are heading her way.

  161. HEAR HEAR.
    You are saying something here that is so freaking important, and hardly ever gets said. I think the notion that we somehow leave ourselves behind when we give birth contributes hugely to depression, post-partum and otherwise.
    Also, I wish I was at SOAR, too.

  162. From all that I know about Joe and your kids (only via the blog), I’m sure they know how important SOAR was to you, and wouldn’t have asked you to come home unless they really needed you. And it sounds like maybe they *didn’t* ask, since you said you weren’t sure what to do.
    The fact that you chose to come home speaks volumes about how much you love and value them. That makes you a Great Mother in my book. I’m sure if you’d stayed, you’d have enjoyed it less for worrying about the family.
    That said, it sucks that you have to miss SOAR, and it’s really okay to be disappointed. I hope all is well now (or will be soon). Have a nice drink, a warm bath and find some lovely yarn to fondle.

  163. Once you have to make a choice like that then there is no winning scenario – you come home and feel bad or you stay and feel bad. Being a responsible adult is vastly overrated in my opinion.

  164. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m sure: in my next life, I’m coming back as a dad. Preferably a 1950s one. None of this modern day diaper changing dad stuff for me. Cuz being a mom is too hard. In any case, I’m so sorry you missed SOAR – and I hope your family emergency worked itself out and that your family appreciates you!

  165. Ditto what Carrie said…being a good mother is doing what needs to be done, feelings have nothing to do with it.
    Dirty little secret is sometimes having to “be the mother” (i.e. do the right thing, clean the puke, have old ratty shoes so the kids get new ones) sucks. But that is love. Them first.
    I only have to be careful to not overplay with the kids how gyped I feel when I lose out on something to give it to them. Read: guilt trip. That definitely is not “Good Mother.”
    Grieve. And go buy some yarn.

  166. As usual, you have hit all the nails on all of their heads with precision!
    As a mother of 4 (preteen through college age) I often find myself trying to remember what else there is out there now that there is sometimes a chance for me to do it.
    You are the best; thanks for sharing. Hope the crisis is resolving in the best possible way. Meanwhile: wool, chocolate, beer (not necessarily in that order).

  167. I hope whatever brought you home from SOAR will resolve itself in the best possible way. And that it will last just as long as SOAR would have, so you can avoid the “maybe I could just sneak back for a bit, no matter how impractical/expensive it is” feeling.
    We all have priorities. It sounds like yours are in a line that leaves you at peace (if a little sad at the moment). That’s what really matters.

  168. To Susan at October 30, 2009 2:10 PM – thank you sweetie for writing that today! My son is nearly 17 too, he’s obnoxious, smelly, badly behaved, and argumentative and I can’t wait till he leaves home either. Right now I’m feeling envious of those animals who have the sense to eat their young.
    F#*k the Mother Police.

  169. The thing is you were 3 plane rides away! Couldn’t anyone figure out how to hold on until you returned? I only say that because when we were sick at school my mom used to tell us , “Can you just get through your day?” My kids loved me when they were sick and forgot all about me when they got better, so go figure.

  170. I shut the good mother off at 10pm. Then I knit. This means I work 12-13 hour days (paid and unpaid), knit 2-3 hours if I’m lucky, and sleep 6-7 hours, with a spare hour or two thrown in for bodily maintenance. The only other people I know who keep this schedule are other mothers. Sometimes it is suggested that my knitting is excessive, but it keeps me sane, and I think I earn it. Sorry about SOAR. Treat yourself to something good the next chance you get. Gotta get back to work now….

  171. You are the GOOD mom, you came home. It is OK to be mad that you are missing SOAR. Your action say it all on being a good mom.

  172. Thanks for sharing your true feelings. I always have a hard time with that, and your sharing is such an important message, especially for women. And thanks for being there for your family. I imagine they get the message that they are very important to you, regardless of your expressed disappointment.

  173. Stephanie, you are my hero. You had the balls to say out loud what mothers have been thinking to themselfs for years. There are times that it really sucks to be a mom.
    I hope all is well at the house and you have my deepest and sincere sympathy regarding the sad and untimely demise of SOAR for you.
    Hey girls….huge hint here….2010 SOAR would be a wonderful birthday, Christmas, anniversary, or I love you mom type of gift.

  174. The Mother Police is why I never married and had kids. I refused to buy into their propaganda, and decided to live my life the way I wanted to, not the way the world said I had to. So screw them, admit you’re missing a great time and plan for next year.

  175. I so feel your disappointment. I sometimes wonder when mothers agreed to take on the role of lynchpin and the whole lot unravels (excuse the pun) when we step away. Why is it so hard for us to carve out the time to get away in the first place when all other family members just seem to pick up a toothbrush and a change of underwear. Why do our excursions have to keep the “Post-it” company in business? I am sorry your trip was cut short and hope you give yourself a good treat of something else for being such a selfless mother!

  176. Sounds like you had a real Hobson’s choice: either stay at SOAR and be worried sick or come home and be mad that you’re missing SOAR.
    So….you made the best decision you could at the time, and the rest is just background noise…

  177. I’m not sure what “memo” you’re talking about, it is supremely human to feel bad and disappointed when we have to walk away from something we love/want/need.
    Responsible behavior sometimes is a bitch. Even moms get to feel bad about that.

  178. I know how difficult a decision that was for you. And, if you had decided to stay, you know the Mother of All Guilt would have been with you for the remainder of SOAR, and you wouldn’t have been able to enjoy yourself, feeling guilty the entire time. No one ever said parenting was easy, and although it was difficult for you to leave, you also taught your family a very good life-lesson. Hopefully your daughters will remember this when they are faced with a difficult choice in the future. Hugs to you!

  179. I tell people that in those circumstances I quietly chant to myself: “I am a good mother.” They may not thank you now, but will always remember…

  180. I am thinking kind thoughts for you. Whatever it was that brought you home had to be serious, so I hope that the need was easily fixed.
    I am still a relatively new mom and it is hard to be a mom these days. With blogs and social networking sites, it is so easy for your friends and family to cast judgment on whatever you decide to do as a parent. I was told I was a bad mom for leaving my toddler with her grandmother (whom she adores) for a week to have a vacation (“I could never leave my child without me that long!”). I was told I was a bad mother for taking said two year old camping for a weekend this month (“You shouldnt subject her to such stress!”).
    Combine external judgment with internal guilt, it is very hard to be a mom and be comfortable in your own skin. I wish you peace and comfort in your choices and I applaud your honesty about the reality of the situation.

  181. Heard that one about the definition of courage? About how it’s not not being afraid, it’s doing what you know is right in spite of the fear.
    Transfer that to your good mother analogy. Being a good mother is not not being upset that you had to give something up, it’s doing what you know is right in spite of it.
    That being said, it sure doesn’t suck any less. Being a parent is hard.

  182. Don’t listen to those voices in your head, they’re all out to get you :) But seriously, thank you for this post. I’ve felt like this quite a lot lately, as in my husband’s temporary (5 month) absence I’ve become a single mom. And it’s very helpful to know that I’m not the only one with the Mother Police in her head, and I’m not the only one who’s been dissapointed that we’ve missed out on things. (Why isn’t this included in the manual they had out with new babies? Heck, why isn’t it included in the one for getting married??)

  183. I am not a mother but I am a caregiver (one in the same thing?) I feel guilty every time I do something for myself, even though I know it will help me from burning out. And yes, there are time I am resentful that I give up things to ‘be there’. I know what you are saying.

  184. Ha Ha!! and Sniff!! and Preach On Sister!!
    Although sometimes I think that it’s less about living up to our own standards, and more about not getting arrested ;-)

  185. Those who push the ‘good mother memos’ should insert them in a convenient place – and then set them alight. (Too harsh?)
    Great mothers do the right thing, but feel every pang. If your daughters don’t learn this, it’ll perpetuate the good mother guilt trip for another generation and who needs that?
    Maybe your friends at SOAR can send you some special pain relief. What’s better than buffalo?

  186. I agree absolutely with what you said, mothers are people not saints, and the sooner everyone realises this the better life will be for everyone; less pressure for mums, less fools’ paradise for everyone else. I hope everyone at home is okay and I’m sorry you missed your trip. But don’t feel guilty about being pissed off! You did what you felt to be right, therefore you can be righteously resentful, and still be a great mum!

  187. Are we really supposed to feel that way? I know that we’re supposed to DO the right thing and make the choices that are best for our families, but I didn’t think we always had to like it. I’m sorry that you’re missing SOAR, and sorry that someone in your house is feeling poorly. You don’t need to hear this from me, but you know you’re a remarkable mother.

  188. A good mother knows how to lead by example. Showing your disappointment at having to put your desires on the back burner will actually teach your daughters- future mothers- that once they have children they don’t stop being a person. As the mom of a 13 month old, I have the Mama Police living in my guest room telling me if I can shower. (I think instead of telling me what to do they should watch my daughter for the 5 minutes it takes for my abbreviated daily shower, but who am I to talk? But I digress.) Your beautiful daughters will benefit far more from watching their own mother juggle her own desires, dreams and goals with the necessary expectations, desires and dreams of parenthood. It’s a rewarding, amazing, complex and hard journey but one that will be made challenging for them if they never get to the true reality of Motherhood.

  189. Bummer, big time. I’m really sorry. I’m sure you did the right thing, for the right reasons. If the mother police should happen to be external, use my mother’s threat: cut it out, or so help me I’ll haunt you!

  190. “It’s an old dog for the hard road and a puppy for the path.” That’s a saying of my grandfather’s. Doesn’t mean that the old dog can’t whine a bit now & then that, yes, this path is pretty dang hard now & again.
    Hugs to you.

  191. Sometimes I really hate it that I’m “the grown up” – and I don’t even have to be “the mom”. My sympathies.

  192. Amen to that! Being a good mother means that you care about yourself, AND your children. Doing the things that you love recharges your batteries, motivates you, gives you something to look forward to. It’s great to be proud of your children’s accomplishments and characteristics, but it’s just as great to be proud of your own.
    No one judging you here! The Good Mother police can politely stick it in my opinion!

  193. The good mother voice in my head says those same things sometimes, but to me, a good mother (or wife, or women in general) is one who knows that it’s important to take care of herself and that includes little luxuries – whether it’s a spa day or time with friends at a fiber festival. Being a whole person is the best thing we can do both for ourselves AND our families!
    If I lived closer, we could have our own Saturday Night Spin-In! (but I know, it wouldn’t be the same)

  194. As there are no knitting police, there are no mother police. Mothering comes from the heart and your heart is in the right place. As wonderful as the SOAR experiences would have been this year, they would have only lasted for a few months. Being a mother in a time of need will last for 2 lifetimes – yours and your daughter’s.
    It’s okay to feel deprived, but you will reap benefits in the future. Hope all is well.

  195. There’s no point in making yourself feel bad about the fact that you feel bad! Feeling bad about the original issue is lousy enough. I hope everything with the fam has evened out.

  196. We had hired a babysitter for the first time (first time hired that is; DH’s saintly aunt had previously babysat) when my one-year old got his first ear infection and fever. I was supposed to go to see the Killers with my husband. I stayed home and was sad about missing the show! In hindsight, I probably could have gone to the show–he would have been fine with that babysitter–but the voices didn’t let me. Stupid voices.

  197. I often tell my kids that you don’t have to LIKE what you have to do but you’ve got to do it anyway.
    Why do we as mothers think we have to like doing the hard stuff for our family when we’d rather be doing something else? It wouldn’t be love if it all came easily!
    Sorry about SOAR. I know you’re really disappointed.

  198. You go right ahead and gripe about it! Just because we (mothers) do what we need to do, doesn’t mean it’s always what we want to do. I would be complaining too.

  199. your mother police must have trained @ the same place mine did. I agree completely. Besides, if it meant nothing to give up, it wouldn’t matter that you did. it mattered, so what you did mattered. bonus points for claiming it. I hope all is/will be well @ home and that the whole thing works out as much as possible (in that SOAR is a 1x a year thing, and family is neverending)

  200. Amen. Seems like it’s a whole new world, one where mothers can actually be PEOPLE who do things they enjoy and sometimes it’s the suckage for the kids.
    And guess what? Not only do the kids live through it, they get a glimpse of the mother as a whole person with needs, wants, and disappointments, rather than a perpetually selfless automaton.
    (Really, I thought I was only going to write “amen.”)

  201. Good for you for doing it. And good for you for minding! Seems to me, if you didn’t mind, it wouldn’t count as (or be) a sacrifice, would it? Remember, it’s not really courage unless you feel the fear and conquer it. Same with this.
    And double, triple bravo to you for not just feeling it, but saying it, to give some clarity to the rest of us! You rock, Harlot.

  202. When the call came, you went. That makes you a “Great Mother.” Being human entitles you to feel disappointment. Do what you have to do and then go knit your blue bison.
    Then post pictures!

  203. Sorry to hear you had to give up your fun!
    Whatever you decided to do would have been the right decision. And whatever you decided to do would have pissed someone off. Usually someone who isn’t even involved in the situation, as it happens.
    Hugs all around!

  204. Yep! been there done that. I understand entirely how you are feeling. Family comes first. Even when it hurts. In the end it doesn’t hurt and that’s hard to say.

  205. I hope everybody is alright:( I,too,have issues with the Mother Police but I have also learned that there are times where I have to take care of myself first or there won’t be anything left of me to give to anyone else.I think there is a happy medium somewhere.It is definitely a juggling act to meet everyone’s needs(especially your own)at the same time.Could you set up Imaginary SOAR at home?

  206. Speaking as the owner of a newly empty nest – although it’s a hard, hard transition, emptying that nest out, and I miss my kiddo like crazy, the rewards are very, very good. So at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, in that one respect.

  207. Ok sister, you need to have a beer with me. I was a GREAT mother and then I had kids. I could totally sympathize with you this week because MY CHILD got in trouble at school because he decided he had “anger issues” so the school decided to send him to “anger issues” class for 3 Thursday nightsrather than putting him in in school suspension. Hmmm. I watch Survivor, Grey’s, and Private Practice on Thursdays so this doesn’t “work” for me. I also get up at 4:15 AM every morning to be at work at 5:45 AM. We have to go to “anger issues” class with him which I call “parenting school”. Now if you know me you know I DO NOT NEED “parenting school” He walks in all confident and cocky that these people are about to tell me what a bad parent I am and feel sorry for his poor pitiful soul and walks out 90 minutes later in tears because I let him have it at the “anger issues” class and the “parenting school” teacher agreed with EVERY WORD I SAID. I have essentially let him know that if he has “anger issues” then I am MORE THAN HAPPY TO GIVE HIM SOMETHING TO BE ANGRY ABOUT.
    So, on that note, I can totally relate to how you are feeling. IT SUCKS.

  208. Stephanie … It is none of our business and I’m so glad you don’t tell other’s stories – BUT please know that there are people who can support and help and since sock summit extend love in whatever tangible way you need. Right now it is sad and hard that you missed SOAR … years from now you will know you did the right thing and soon something will come along to fill in the gap. I am always stunned when disappointments prove right and valuable in the long run. Good wishes and vibes being sent your way.

  209. Am a long time lurker on your blog, but this post struck a particularly solid note with me. The “Mother Police” stink.

  210. Sometimes you can do the right thing for all the right reasons and still really hate the fact that you have to do it. Sounds like this was one of those moments. So sorry you had to leave SOAR! Get yourself some sweet yarn as a consolation prize. :-)

  211. i have come to dislike the word sacrifice
    it sounds so medievil
    no matter what age it would seem
    you have to chase the you are woman
    police out of your head tain’t easy
    and BOO

  212. I think it’s also terribly important for mothers (and fathers) to allow their children, when they are old enough as yours are, to see that their parents are human with wants, needs and the occasional disappointment or meltdown. Otherwise, how will they know they are perfectly normal when those wants, needs, disappointments and meltdowns happen to them with their own wee ones? Here’s hoping all in your world rights itself soon.

  213. It’s okay to do the right thing and feel bad about what you had to give up. That’s human. Don’t beat yourself up over it. You’re a good mom. :)

  214. The Mother Police are full of it. Hell yes, I resent it when I have to make sacrifices. But that’s what we do, because we’re awesome moms. (This year, I don’t get a Halloween costume – neither does hubby – because I cuddled with my poor sick kiddo, who gave me the flu, and now I can’t sew it in time. I don’t think I mentioned how much hubby & and I LOVE dressing up for Halloween. I look forward to it all year, and this year, we were going to be In Theme. All four of us. This I only resent an eensy, teensy bit. Honestly.)
    Ahem. I digressed. Hope everything’s okay with your brood, or if it’s not, that it soon will be.

  215. “I think the fact that I’m not supposed to care about the things that make me happy is stupid. I think that treating women like nothing matters as long as their families are happy is stupid, and that teaching them to put themselves last and not bitch about it is a big chunk of what’s wrong in the world.”
    I put this as my facebook status because it so resonated with me. I am not yet a mother, but I believe strongly in what you said. I feel like I’ve made sacrifices for my family, and I always feel terrible when I sometimes am disappointed and/or upset about what I give up. We should be allowed to feel our human feelings even when we make sacrifices. It’s just not as easy as some people think to be happy when you lose out on something you care about!

  216. Well, you’ve made your decision. Take a moment and then pick up your knitting and move on. The world is getting used to us moms speaking up to remind everyone that we are not the sacrificial lambs they once took for granted, so I say, get it off your chest. I do hope you are getting some appreciation through this. Feel good about your decision. It sounds like it was the right one and making the right decision isn’t a bad thing EVA.

  217. The Mother Police are right and wrong…Should we give up things we love to do when our family, especially our children need us? YES! Should we be saints about it, no, it really is ok to have a life and be a mom at the same time.
    I am sure that if everything wasn’t ok at home your blog post would have been very different, but just in case sending happy thoughts your way.

  218. Right on! I hope everyone’s okay, but its perfectly fine for you to be bummed about. And I would say you’ve earned some “good mommy” credit to cash in at a later date.

  219. I’ve been reading you for years, Steph. Not because you are a fabulous, passionate knitter (you are), not because we have the same religio-political views (we don’t as a whole) but because you are a mother who is passionate about her family (as I am) and also manages to find a huge amount of time to spend on a craft that she is also passionate about (as I do). You need to fire your Mother Police. You did the right thing because you love your family and they needed you. There will be another SOAR. There will not be another time when that person had that bad flu, broke up with that boyfriend, lost that job, flubbed that audition…whatever it was, you knew in your heart where you needed to be and were pissed that your two passions crashed headon and one lost. That’s ok. Not bad mom. Just as kids need to see their parents arguing, then making up, so they know how to do it themselves, they need to see us visibly struggling with sacrifice. That’s good parenting.

  220. COSIGNED. Even though I’m not a mom. But it’s just true, you don’t stop being a person because you’re a mother.
    Really hope everybody’s ok again soon, if it’s Hamthrax I’m wishing you guys steady recovery and lots of tea and soup.

  221. Oh–I forgot. Years ago, I gave up going to small book lecture led by David Sedaris because my 3 year old had a fever. Years later, my son and I were listening to Sedaris on NPR and my son commented on how funny he is. I told him the fever story, and he gave me a huge hug and said he hopes he loves his kids that much some day.

  222. I hear you.
    My mom wouldn’t have admitted that she was sad and disappointed, but I would have known with the psychic power kids have that she resented the hell out of it.
    Maybe you can get a refund?

  223. Totally agree. I am so sorry that you had to come home early from SOAR. I so understand. I think any good mother can understand those feelings. For whatever reason the Mother Police called you home may everything be alright.

  224. I know just how you feel…when something is amiss with your kids and they need you, you just go. You can’t help it. It certainly doesn’t mean that you won’t (or shouldn’t) be conflicted if you are giving up something you want to be doing, but it’s just not a choice. My mom told me this never ends, by the way, even when your “kids” are in their 30′s!

  225. it takes extraordinary courage to say those things out loud. and it makes other women feel much less alone, since i think we all feel this way (if we can tolerate admitting it to ourselves) and feel like we’re bad mothers for feeling it.
    everyone i know always went on and on about the book, “The Giving Tree.” i was always appalled, and thought it was a terrible book because it teaches sacrifice and self-sacrifice and always wanting to give more, even to the cost of death. and it teaches that as a good thing. we do sacrifice, we willingly sacrifice, we think carefully about what’s important. but we are humans and sacrifice doesn’t bleed us of the rest of the range of feelings.
    good on ya.

  226. I think the Mother Police (who can be quite a mother about things being right) are also very motherly and know that doing the right thing doesn’t always mean being happy about it. It means doing the right thing. Later, if you are lucky, you might feel happy about it. I’m part of an organization that says “Family First”. After you are a mother, then family is first.
    They are lucky to have you! Soar was lucky to have you as long as they did.

  227. I consider going home and still feeling sad about it part of the multi-tasking that we do as mothers. Steph, you did the right thing but that doesn’t make it easy. I missed my share of things that I really wanted to do too and always felt a little grumpy about it. It’s okay.
    In a note of irony – while my paramedic husband was never home to take kids to the ER when needed (of course), I was out of town when our daughter started her period for the first time. Paybacks?

  228. Thank goodness for you saying this – and thank goodness for mothers like you, real mothers, who are so wonderful because they are real, and human, and have things they like to do too!!!

  229. Sorry to hear your family is sick, especially this week. Amazingly enough (knock wood) mine has been good thus far. I’m hoping the request to Ull at my friend’s fall festival celebration are going to work all winter.

  230. We Moms don’t have to like giving up what makes us happy, but we do, because we know when we’re really needed. Hope all works out well soon!

  231. Not being a mother myself I always found it very strange that all of a sudden a woman would not mind being wakened in the middle of the night to feed/change/soothe/whatever a child. I would be ashamed to say how old I was before I learned the truth about it.
    It isn’t often said aloud what a pain it can be to be the responsible self abnegating adult but it should be taught in school, shared in family settings. Dammit…it should be known.
    Mommies are people too and have every right to resent having a family who sometimes need them more than they want to be needed.
    Yes, it is healthy and right to say it.
    I hope your situation has resolved and all is well now. There will always be another knitting weeking for you, even a whole week for you.
    Even though it sometimes doesn’t look like it, you are a lucky duck.

  232. I haven’t time to read all the comments (yet), but I think the fact that YOU ARE AT HOME wishing you were at SOAR–rather than being at SOAR feeling guilty for not being home–speaks volumes about your character and what kind of Mom you are!
    Hope everyone recovers quickly! Stay well!

  233. I’m struggling a bit with this one myself at the moment. Daughter and I talked a month ago and I told her to get off the phone because she was driving one handed in traffic and call me when she got home. I got a text from her two weeks ago saying she’d call the next night. I said, please call when you’re able to chat awhile, I’ve missed talking to you. I’m still waiting.
    Being a mother is a hard, hard job. Caller ID doesn’t make it any easier, especially when she knows I’m going to ask her about things she wants to ignore.
    Be grateful your kids are home (except the one who’s traveling) and you can hold them at least, even when you want to be at SOAR. There’s next year…

  234. Being a Good Mother is terribly overrated. But you can be a great mom without being a Good Mother, and clearly you are.
    I’m sorry about SOAR. That sucks beyond all expression.

  235. Amen! It is ok to tell the voice in your head (and especially any voices outside your head) to bite me once in awhile.
    Mothers are people too! We are allowed to act like them once in awhile.
    (Can you tell I was snow bound with two kids for two days while husband got to go to vegas on business?)
    Carry on!

  236. Sorry you had to give up SOAR – I can imagine how disappointed you are. I hope that everyone is okay… let us know!

  237. being a mum doesn’t mean that you aren’t still you, a person with needs and wants and dreams…don’t feel badly that those desires surface (perhaps in relation to knitting events)…i think it is good for every member of the family to remember that the others are people too.
    sorry you had to give up what as important to you for something more important, hope it all works out.

  238. Sorry you had to give up SOAR – I can imagine how disappointed you are. I hope that everyone is okay… let us know!

  239. How many ways are there to cast on? How many ways to knit a sock? Probably as many ways to be a Mom. You chose the one that was the best for your particular situation. Maybe you could have picked a different one, maybe you will next time. Nobody has the right to make you feel bad, and you certainly have the right to voice your opinion. There is no doubt in my mind that your family is part of who you are, and you love them with a passion, but you can also love what you want separate from them. It’s really hard to balance both. Being a Mom is the hardest thing you can do and you have wonderful evidence that you are doing a great job. Doesn’t mean you can’t be angry,frustrated when unexpected things happen that mess you up. Give those Mom Police a kick in the b—!
    Eve from Carlisle

  240. This makes me admire you even more. But man, being unselfish really sucks most of the time. So does being a grown-up.

  241. To use your own analogy: Would a guy have left a golf trip to come home for whatever it was that made you drop everything? :-(

  242. How terribly disappointing for you. But, you are the best teacher for your girls of what a good mother is and you are teaching by example. Just think how well they will raise your grandchildren! some day…..

  243. I’m sorry for you and hope everything’s ok. I know the feeling – it’s always a tough choice. Hang in there.

  244. We do what we need to do, that’s our job; but it doesn’t mean we totally love it all the time. Myself, I could have done without the zillion and one vomit episodes I have cleaned up after in the past 2 decades. And if I had been accidentally out of town for any of them? Wouldn’t have felt too badly about that, either.
    In other words, you’re allowed to miss being at SOAR even as you do your job taking care of your family. I don’t think you’d be a likeable human being if you didn’t resent it just a tad.

  245. Being a good mom means doing what needs to be done, even when you don’t want to. That’s you. The good mom.

  246. Good mothers do what they need to do for their families. Sometimes it’s a joy, sometimes it’s a pain, and sometimes it is just plain sacrificial and it’s okay to mourn the lost opportunity and wish to be elsewhere while acknowledging that what needed to be done was done.

  247. Oh Steph…they know how much you wanted to be at SOAR….and what you gave up to come home to them…awesome Mom that you are….

  248. Scream out loud to the universe and then gather as many gold stars as you want. There are time when knitting needles (sharp and pointy though they may be) stand between me and domestic violence. I think it is worthwhile sometimes to remember that neglect and abuse are indeed on the full spectrum of options – not the ones we might ever choose or exercise, but on the continuum nonetheless. Just being where you needed to be is effort enough. You certainly don’t need to be superficially angelic about it.
    By the way, your honesty about the harder parts of being a mother is what keeps some of us hanging on – even when it’s only by a lace weight thread. You help us know that we are not alone, and that our dark and angry thoughts do not make us monsters.
    Hope all is ultimately well with you and yours.

  249. You go. I think they do know how awesome you are and mothers? Are also humans. I know that in many respects they’re also superhuman, but I am very glad to see someone post this. And, as always, you say it with style.

  250. Thank you for saying that.
    mother of a 7 year old, 4 year old, and 1 year old who rarely, rarely gets time to herself and sometimes resents it

  251. When I was a young mom, it was sometimes necessary to give up what I wanted for the needs of my sick husband and my growing children. I tried to be honest with them about my feelings and most of the time I could do it. Sometimes, I just wanted to smash dishes. Now I am a grandmother and great grandmother. I am proud to tell you that now my grown kids are there for me. They are loving and thoughtful adults who make sacrifices to help me when they think I need it. What goes around, comes around. SOAR will be there next year and your family are forever.

  252. I hear you and have lived the disappointment myself. This past summer I missed a wedding for my baby. A wedding that I had been looking forward to for months. I lost that extra baby weight so that I could fit into the most darling dress, got my hair done just perfectly, make-up too. I was at the wedding for all of one and half hours before having to go home to my babe who needed me. Oh the sacrifice of a mother.
    I am sorry that you are missing SOAR.

  253. I think the BS about good mothers is a lot like the BS about good soldiers being fearless in battle — seems like most of the brave, selfless soldiers I’ve known were scared shitless and faced the danger anyway. Kinda like a mom who wishes she could be out there having a good time with her friends but is willing to sacrifice that pleasure because someone she loves needs her. Good on you, Stephanie, and I’m really, really sorry you’re missing your fun time. That does suck, no denying. Hope your family will be fine soon, and I’m sure they know just how beloved they really are.

  254. Very well said Steph. I am a Mother of two teenage boys. I am there for them if they need me, but I am human and that makes me not always so happy when I have to change much needed, wonderful plans because of them. Motherhood always comes first. But no one said that Motherhood is always a blast. Sometimes it justs stinks!

  255. Yikes! Whoever wrote that good mother memo to you AND the delivery person who gave it to you should be flogged post haste! Feelings are feelings and mothers have feelings too, and sometimes resentment and anger are just part of those feelings and by gummy, the family needs to learn to deal with and respect mom’s feelings, too. You surely don’t need to feel guilty about your feelings; they are what they are. The important thing is that sometimes in spite of our feelings we still put our loved ones first or do the “right” thing. I’m sorry you missed soar, but I’ve really missed you. Hope your family is up and running again soon, at let yourself off the hook. Go have a drink and relax in your warm home.

  256. I thought that you were the Mother Police…or at least a mother paragon.
    Be true to your feelings. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all still love you. =)

  257. I am so sorry–that you had to leave SOAR, that all is not right in your home, and, of course, that whatever is going on is more than Joe can handle on his own. Please do ask the SOAR people for a refund, just to make it a little more possible for you to go some other year.
    Also, please just fire the Mother Police.

  258. I don’t have children myself, so I can’t be certain, but I hope I’d have done the same thing you did. I know with absolute certainly that my mother would have…not because missing out on things she wanted wasn’t painful for her, but because not making sure my sisters and I were all right would have been more painful still.
    The other thing she would have done, once things settled down, was to have a beer or two. I hope you’re able to do the same.

  259. The bottom line in life is truth: You know when you’ve knit or designed something lovely, or not, and you know the feeling of not being in tune with what you really feel about it. Likewise for all this stuff. Please send Mother Police for a long vacation, or to bed, and you just honor your feelings. Bravo, you did the right, good thing in following your gut home; and your feelings about what you did are just as right and good, even if they are not pleasant. They are your feelings, and there is simply nothing to be done but to live with them and be grateful for them -yes. That will give you the only peace. There is a grace in this, and if you develop the courage to live this way, maybe we won’t go around creating mother polices. There is a violence in trying to make ourselves feel what we do not. It’s wonderful that you do stay connected with your feelings – that’s what helps make you so rich.

  260. well said! being a mom is the toughest job you’ll ever love–but I think it takes 20/20 hindsight to be able to get the right perspective.

  261. I just recently missed my first opportunity to go to SAFF last weekend all because of some financial obligations that came up recently. The way I see it: at least I’ll be able to save up a little more for next year!

  262. That good wife crap can get in the way too. I’m in Boston for the first time in 40 something years, there’s one historical site that is number one on my Boston to see list and I am losing the battle (and tomorrow afternoon is the last day it’s open while we are here.) Crap.

  263. I think good mothering is like courage — it’s not that you sacrifice & don’t care, because, well, that’s not sacrifice. It’s that you do what you have to do, whether it’s skipping fun or cleaning up barf, because you want to care for your family. But knowing that you’ll be sad to miss the fun, and will gag on the barf.
    In the same way, courage isn’t NOT being scared, it’s doing right even when you’re terrified.
    Hope things are OK, or get that way.

  264. I’ve got to say as a step mother, any mother of any relationship, should feel it is their duty to take care of their family.
    However, I agree, we are not required to not feel regret for what we did end up missing. But we should not resent our family for it.

  265. Chin up, Steph… hope all is going okay with the family. In the meantime? You let out that disappointment – it’s better to express what you’re feeling openly and honestly so your family know that your disappointed in the turn of events and not them personally, rather than letting it all build up and come out weeks or months later when it will be more like resentment. The Mother Police do suck. I do my best to ignore them, too.
    All the best,

  266. You’re a great mother, Steph, but you also get to be human. Nothing wrong with knowing you did the right thing, but wishing that you didn’t have to do it.

  267. Well, I’m not a mother (although I have occasionally been called a mother. . . you get the idea), but I left SOAR early, too, so I could be there for a friend who got released from prison after serving almost 5 years for making some extremely poor decisions. And while I wouldn’t think of having done it any other way, a hyooooge part of me is still pouting because I missed the last half of SOAR — my first one — and a bunch of classes and people that I really wanted to take/see.
    And while I bet that both of us would rather have “She was a great friend/mom” on our tombstones than “She really, really enjoyed her SOAR 2009 experience,” that in no way mitigates our disappointment in missing the last half of the week in Sunriver.
    Pout and kvetch at will. It was a lose-lose situation — if you’d stayed, you would have felt guilty for not going home and that would have tainted your SOAR experience anyway.
    Hope to see you next time you’re in PDX — and RachelH, too! (She was so fun in Spinning 101.)

  268. So sorry about SOAR! After a year of saving, it’s a bummer to be able to experience only part of the event. Think ahead to the knitting camp, Knot Hysteria, in a few weeks. Many of your friends will be there. I hope everything is improving on the home front. And,”You’re a better man than I, Gunga Din”.

  269. A Good Mother does what needs to be done. She will sacrifice and put her children’s needs before her own. It doesn’t mean she’ll like it. They key here is that she shouldn’t resent it either. She’ll have found the balance where her needs are met too.
    After all putting someone else first without resentment and guilt (on either side) is the defintion of love.

  270. Whatever the reason is, and whatever you feel about the SOAR, if you feel the happiest (or the least unhappy) by being at home, it’s the best you can do, I guess.
    And doing the best you can do has nothing with your feeling bitter about what you missed, I’d say.
    Now I see you are an honest person. I don’t care if you are a “Good Mom” with the capital G or not. I just like you because of your honesty, and because you are a Knitter.
    Hope things are better now for you and your family.

  271. This was just what I needed today. My son went to the temple for the first time ever in his life…there won’t ever be another first time. I did not get to go with him because my husband (who always stays home and changes plans so that I can do what I need to do) had plans to do something with a friend and we had no one to sit with our 3 year old. I backed out of the trip, and let my son go on his own with our church group because it just wasn’t worth being sour with each other over my husband’s needing one night out. But I’m still bummed, because I missed that first and I can’t get it back.
    It’s no where as disappointing as not getting to stay at SOAR, but I relate.

  272. Umm. Some things we accept without questioning. But “good moms go home bad moms don’t” is something I would spend a little time wondering about. That might make me a bad person, but – times have changed and the world is smaller than it was and you can cross most of this continent in five hours. And sometimes people need to face crises on their own without Mom riding in on her white horse to fix everything. I don’t know the circumstances and I don’t know what happened and I’m hoping this isn’t too harsh. Just sayin’

  273. I’m so sorry to hear about SOAR, but SO GLAD you posted this rant. We had a nuclear meltdown on Monday last week in our house, and it was all about being Good Parents.
    Thank you for writing – and for writing honestly.

  274. *quiet, ironic laugh*
    I don’t know if this helps, but about a year ago, I had a chance to see someone I really liked and respected speak… I gave up the chance because it would have meant three hours in the car (because of traffic) with my children, screaming in the back seat because, honestly, they didn’t do anything to deserve getting shoved in the back seat of the car so mommy could meet her idol. We went to the zoo and the beach instead. It was a good day.
    A month ago, I had the chance to see that same person, actually IN MY HOMETOWN… but she was teaching a class, and I probably could have pulled the money out of my, uhm, ear–but that would have meant my daughter’s b-day present would have been a LOT smaller and my son wouldn’t have been able to make his first downpayment on a trip to Ashland to see Shakespeare.
    I made both these sacrifices willingly–but I obviously remember my disappointment. It’s bitter, too–because I feel like this person is a friend–I’ve been following her blog for ages.
    That’s okay, Steph–someday, I might actually get to shake your hand in person. And no–the Mother Police aren’t going to arrest you for regret.

  275. It’s hard being a mom. I can understand how you want to place your family first after being gone so much already this year, and yet I can also totally understand how much you wanted to stay at SOAR. It’s never an easy decision, is it?
    But it’s also a decision only you can make for yourself. So don’t beat yourself up for being human and being a bit resentful over making what you think is the right decision even though you don’t totally like having to make it. You’re allowed to be human and dislike some things you feel you have to do even when your family is involved. No matter how much you love them, that doesn’t make you any less human for being unhappy to give up something that was just for *you.* Especially after all the things you’ve been doing for everyone else this year!

  276. Regarding “I’m part of my family, and so are you, and the things that I need or want matter too.” Yes they do… and I’m sorry you had to come home early for your own personal family. But I’m honored to read that you consider The Blog as part of your family, too.
    I’ve missed you this week: whenever you don’t post for a couple of days, I think (selfishly), “Oh, no!” Then I remember that you really don’t have to post every day, and that your blog is in many ways a gift to your readers, and I thank you for that.
    Your own family needed you this week, and I’m sure they know your last sentence is true. Hope all works out well at home. Thinking good thoughts for you all…

  277. Steph . . .
    This is a great post . . . but it is your last sentence that is most wonderful. It’s elegant . . . honest . . . poignant . . . and it rings true.
    One of the best experiences for me at Sock Summit was hearing how you and Tina dealt with being women invading the “men’s turf.”
    Being a woman in North American contemporary culture is a challenging adventure. Being a mother is even more of a challenge. Mothering in our time and place is difficult . . . an extraordinary challenge to our integrity and emotions.
    To echo an email I received earlier today: “Thanks Steph, you’re awesome!” That would be . . . back at you, Sister.

  278. We got the memo, you’ve been given the extra points. Just a few more and your card will have all the punches needed for a freebie.
    And for what it is worth, the good mother you describe is a fairy tale. We just care that you do the right thing. You don’t have to like it. Feel free to grouse. One look at my laundry pile and I think I’ll join you.
    The Mother Police

  279. At first I was thinking that we lesbians have it made in this department, cause we have TWO moms so there’s always one available. But then I thought, “Who am I kidding?”–we all have our roles in life–even lesbian moms, and my role is the nurse mommy. I just glad I’m not doing this parenting thing alone, cause I am totally NOT a soccer/sports mom. Support staff is important.

  280. Bummer. Yes, family first, sure, people ARE more important than things. But it’s still disappointing and frustrating. I’m doing a very minor version myself today, actually.
    Hope your family crisis got sorted though. x

  281. If nobody else will, I’ll give you extra points! (You can use them to claim yarn and beer…) But you don’t really need them to make the sacrifice worthwhile – how could your family not know how much they mean to you? (Yeah, I know, having the yarn and beer too would be nice!)
    I couldn’t agree more. It’s better to own up to disappointment and sadness rather than maintaining a saintly facade, and not just for mothers – families are stronger when they’re made up of real people, surely?
    Down with the mother police! (And as somebody who has no kids yet, most of my life their work has been in my favour…Can we make sure they’re eradicated before I procreate, please?)

  282. Being disappointed means that you’re human. Happy mothers make for happier families. But a crisis is a crisis, and then it’s all hands on deck.
    Showing up means a lot more than never voicing frustration at the timing — it’s when we need help that we learn the true characters of the people in our lives.

  283. I hope that whatever it was that called you home is ok. You’re a great mom, and being upset about missing SOAR doesn’t take anything away from that.

  284. I’m so very sorry that you had to leave SOAR. I can’t imagine having to leave right in the middle of everything. That sucks, even if it was for a very necessary and righteous reason! I was privileged to have dinner last year with you, Denny, and Cassandra, at SOAR, and had a great time. We were a pretty rowdy, but not too rowdy table. I’ve seen how much fun you’ve had at both SOARs I’ve attended, and it’s really obvious that it’s one of the highlights of your year. I too have to scrimp and save to go to SOAR, and when I manage to go it’s a really big thing. Huge. I talk about it for months. It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, or to put it into fiber terms, Qiviut! It must have taken an awful lot to get on that first plane and not cry.
    I hope that everything is better now that you are home. I’m sorry that you felt the weight of the Mother Police pushing you along. I have to tell you though, I don’t necessarily think of it as the Mother Police. I tend to think of it more as the Parental Police. Granted, women often get the brunt of it after years of societal training and norms. (I really want to put a line through years and put the word centuries after it but alas, I can’t.) I think most of us have an idea or vision in their head of the kind of person and parent they want to be. If a person grew up in a great family, it’s usually their Mom or Dad they use as a role model. If you weren’t so fortunate, it’s often a very close friend’s parents. Either way people who take the job seriously usually know what kind of parent that they want to be. The problem is that while we might know the kind of parent we want to be, we often don’t realize what being that kind of parent takes. I know I sure as hell didn’t.
    Sometimes, being the type of parent that you want to be just sucks, as you well know! It usually means that you have to do things when you don’t like to do, when you don’t want to do them. Like when you’re so tired and sick that you could cry, but you still have to sit up with your toddler who is sick and vomiting, or has an earache. Or spending your much needed alone time with your son’s best friend who has big issues and a huge crisis, and just needs an adult that they trust (who isn’t related to them) to talk it all out with. Sometimes it means spending 2 1/2 hours cleaning vomit from your hardwood stairs, floor, painted walls and living room at 11 pm, after your child stood one step down from the top of the stairs, announced that he didn’t feel well and promptly projectile puked all down the stairs, across your living room, all the way to your bathroom. (You can tell I did that one can’t ya LOL! He lived to tell the tale and I didn’t yell! I was very, very proud of myself.)
    Unfortunately, being a good parent doesn’t seem to make you super human with special powers like instant unending patience, it just seems to make you even more human with all the strengths and flaws you had before you became a parent, now they’re just magnified. I was very fortunate to have a very dear older friend who was very wise and raised very successful happy children of her own. One day I was confessing to her about my self-perceived lack of patience, resentments, and how I was so disappointed with myself for feeling that way. I told her that since I was feeling all these things then I wasn’t the type of person and parent that I wanted to be. After I said that, she had the most amazing laughing fit I’ve ever seen. I thought she was going to laugh herself to death, or at the very least to an empty bladder. When she finally got herself together she told me that what I had just said was the funniest thing she had ever heard. She said that of all the parents she knew, she didn’t know any of them who hadn’t felt the exact way that I was feeling right at that moment. If they said that they hadn’t felt all those things, then they were lying! She said that in spite of everything, we are still just human beings and becoming a parent didn’t automatically make you into a saint. Honest parents will tell you that there are times when you are at your wits end and all kinds of evil nasty thoughts will pop into your head. You can’t help it, you’re just a human being after all. She said that it’s not what pops into your head, the resentments and all that crap, it’s what you do with it. While you aren’t responsible for whatever bits of nastiness that you may be thinking, you are 100% responsible for your actions and what comes out of your mouth. If you are resentful, then you’re a normal parent, just another human being on the planet trying to do the best they can. She said that the trick of it is to not let your negative feelings be expressed to your family. When push comes to shove I made the decision to put my family’s needs in front of my own. It was my decision. While my family should appreciate my thoughtfulness and efforts, they shouldn’t have to pay me a yearly tribute in blood, or hear about or pay for my decision for the rest of their natural lives. It was my choice and I made it so I could be the kind of parent I wanted to be. It was as simple as that. She told me that it was ok to feel all those “negative things.” It was normal. She said that what really mattered, what I should be really proud of was that in spite of all those feelings, I still did what I knew was the right thing to do. That whenever I felt like I was getting overloaded or overwhelmed with all the crap that goes with being a good parent, I should ask myself if I was being the kind of parent I wanted to be. If the answer was yes, then I needed to feel all those things and then let them go. If I had a hard time letting them go then I just needed to remember that it was my choice. I chose my actions. It was ok to feel sadness or disappointment. It was ok for my family to know that I gave up something that really mattered to me to do what was right. I just couldn’t beat them over the head with it. I knew all this in other areas of my life, but for some reason I had never thought of applying it to myself and being a parent.
    For me, that one conversation has made all the difference in the world, and made being a parent a little easier. I could let myself off the Super Mom hook I had been dangling from.
    I had that conversation with my friend while I was driving her car from her apartment in New Jersey to her daughter’s house, where she would spent the rest of her too short life. She had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and could no longer live on her own. It was some of the most important and memorable hours I’ve ever spent with someone. I am a gabby sort of person, so I’ve had an awful lot of conversations with all sorts of people. This one definitely ranks up there as one of the top 5 most important, life altering conversations I’ve ever had.
    Not only am I the World’s Slowest Knitter, but I’m also the World’s Slowest Typer. As I read your post I flashed back to that long ago conversation with my friend and so I thought I’d share it with you. I know she would approve. I’m sorry it’s so long but it was the only way I could get it all out. I just wanted to remind you to let yourself off the hook. It’s ok. I’m sure that you know all this, but for me, the bigger the disappointment, the harder it is to remember all the stuff I’m supposed to. Sometimes I just want to stomp my feet and throw a big hissy fit just like a 2 year old. I let myself have the mental image, enjoy it for a little bit, and then just get on with it. It’s amazing how giving yourself permission to just be a human being makes it easier. I hope that everything settles it self very soon, if it hasn’t already. You’re a good Mom. I hope that you feel better soon.

  285. Oh sweetheart, you are in the emotional realm here. Whether anyone will acknowledge to you now what you have given up in order to be MOM remains to be seen. Your girls are too young to be that insightful in moments of stress.
    Hang in there, whatever it is, it will end, you’ll all be a little different in the end. You have great girls, they must be, they let you put them in here. That’s a sign that you and Joe habe done it right, that you have hit a snag, that it will suck right now, but that it will even out.
    And yes, doing what you have to do usually sucks, so say so!

  286. Good Mothers are not doormats. Like you said, (essentially) Good Mothers don’t raise doormats. And while we do make sacrifices for those we love, (an excellent example of what love sometimes is) how can we teach that— if our family doesn’t know it’s a sacrifice? I think it’s important not to belabor it though. (And I bet you didn’t.)
    And I guess I am glad I am only an Okay Mother, because the Okay Mother police don’t show up nearly as often as the Good Mother Police.

  287. I’m not saying go party at your family’s expense all the time, but you know what? Children who grow up with a mother who is perpetually unhappy and who has to suppress anger and disappointment with her own life at all times do not thrive. They need therapy for years and years. Just sayin’.
    I’m glad you can be there for your kids when they need you. But it’s OK to be disappointed.

  288. You will look back and not regret this, I promise you. I did the same thing when my daughter got sick just as I landed in New Mexico for a much needed vacation after a lengthy illness. I lasted 24 hours in New Mexico, got the “mom” call, and scrambled back to the east coast just in time to avoid being socked in the Rockies by a blizzard. We both realize we’d do it again in a heartbeat–it just stinks to be a responsible adult sometimes.

  289. you did what you needed to do, but you also need to be honest about how you feel about it, or you will resent the people who needed you.
    this year, for the first time, I am NOT COOKING Thanksgiving dinner…..!!! I don’t like Thanksgiving- for various reasons, it makes me very depressed. so I told my husband that we are going OUT to dinner and I am not inviting a ton of people to come with us, just the 4 kids who are still here at home. The rest of the day I want to just veg out- read, knit and relax. that will disappoint my other children, who expect me to produce this wonderful memory. Sorry guys, just don’t have it in me. (Wait until they see what’s for Christmas dinner…..cereal anyone?)

  290. The good mother police (in MY world) ALWAYS give extra credit for something like this!!!
    Being a “good” mother does suck sometimes but, you know this, it always pays off in the end. And that’s where the extra credit comes in. You may just not get the extra credit for a few years …
    Sending wishes that whatever brought you home works out.

  291. I got thinking after I commented earlier. I know this isn’t SOAR and couldn’t possibly even begin to take it’s place, but, would you be interested in joining in at the drop spindling competition at the Royal? It’s the same day as the fleece auction. Sorry about hijacking the comments, it’s the quickest way I can think of to contact you.

  292. Only a fellow Torontonian will get this, but report the Mother Police to the SIU….
    Seriously, it is only human to feel bad about missing out on something you REALLY want to do, when you are instead doing the RIGHT thing. Your kids are older than mine, but my daughters entering her teen years and struggling with all the conflicting emotions she has to manage. I figure being honest about my own feelings is a good way to help her see her way through her own.
    Your family may be bummed with their disappointment, but part of it may be because they too feel guilty about making you miss your beloved SOAR. They have to know it’s killing you, and the fact that you came home, and the crisis wasn’t as bad as it could have been, has got to be eating at them, too.
    I also have to believe that they know you like none of us “Blog” do, and they cherish the honest, vibrant, quirky and unique a person that you are. If you don’t feel like Mother of the Year, it’s ok, I don’t think your family wants HER, they want you.
    Go knit something decadent, and apply liberal amounts of beer.

  293. I totally agree that you should get extra points. Once upon a time, I would have sucked it up and just listened to the GM police, but now I agree – extra points are in order. We love them, we do what we must, but we DO count just as much. Sorry about SOAR, and hope all is better on the home front.

  294. Thank you. I am the ‘mother martyr’ in my family, and it is nice to know that others struggle with the same guilty voices ( and have a decent rebuttal). I will try to remember this post!

  295. Steph,
    The Mother Police are terrible. No matter what you do, they always have something negative to say. It starts from when the children are very small (and by that I mean in utero), and hasn’t let up yet. Every great thing you do gets shrunk, and every mistake gets magnified.
    I’m so sorry about SOAR. I know that you are disappointed, and that’s OK. That’s more than OK, actually. That’s expected, and reasonable, and acceptable. I’m sure you gave it up because you had to, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it.
    But the fact that you did it, even if you didn’t like it proves that you are a good mom. And that should satisfy the MPs. Expressing the disappointment afterward is better than keeping it in, and anyone who says differently is just too used to listening to the MPs (are there Father Police?) in her own head.
    Especially as kids get older, one of the rewards of giving up and sacrificing when they were little is to be able to sometimes put yourself first because while they want you around, they don’t “need” you as much. Because you’ve taught them the necessary life skills to handle life without you standing over their shoulder.
    And so, when you have to give up the opportunity to put yourself first because they really DO need you, it’s hard. Timing can really stink sometimes. And being disappointed at that is normal.
    Here’s to next year’s SOAR!

  296. Good mothers are also HUMAN. I know mine is and it’s fun when you get to be an adult and realize that about your mother. A great life lesson. ;)

  297. It occurs to me that the same mother who has the “bad mother police” ringing in her head is the one who has been describing lovely daughters who have sacrificed to meet goals (trip to Australia, charity bike ride). So, if one takes a big step back and looks at the result, you must be doing something right. And I think you have obviously set an example for your daughters of an independent woman who pursues her passion, but also that of an adult who honors the responsibilities that come with family, even though personally disappointing. Which doesn’t make it any less disappointing. . .

  298. I had so much to say and then I checked these comments and it’s all been said! A good mother has “mother police” because she knows that love and responsibilty come together. I work with kids and know of mothers (and fathers too) that could use some if you have any extra.
    Banish the guilt!
    Peace…hope all is well soon.

  299. I loathe when doing the right thing is also doing the hard thing. Very often it means it’s also the Thing I Want to do the Least.

  300. I’m guessing that whatever it was to bring you home was very serious. I pray and hope that home life is settling down and getting back to normal.
    Unfortunately, Mother Police say WHAT we should do. Mother Police don’t tell us how to deal with the bagful of mixed emotions left in the wake. I think “talking” and sharing with us is a good start. Hang in there.

  301. Well Sweetie, that’s just what we do. It will not improve as you age, or as they age. I remember calling my Mother shortly after the birth of my second child, I was having a gall bladder attack, I lived 45 minutes away from her, my then 60 year old Mother made it in 27 min, to take “her baby” to the hospital. Now I am a Grandmother myself, and a few weeks ago gave up a lunch date to stand in for my ill DIL, so I could stand in line with my 9 year old grandson, at the book signing for the new “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book. I do give you free rein to complain about it though! LOL

  302. Thanks for saying this very important thing. I’m not a mum yet but I have been thinking about these issues a lot – Leah McLaren actually had an uncharacteristically thoughtful column today in the Globe Style of all places about how women always work harder than men and just accept it as a given. Maybe you will want to read it, unless you have no time because you are working hard!

  303. INHO how you feel is paramount. The timing is definitely crappy but since it must have been very important I know you did the right thing. Staying at SOAR would not have been the fun you imagined if you knew someone at home would be benefitting from you being there more than you ignoring the situation and trying desperately to have the fun you envisioned.
    Sometimes life gets in the way but I always come around later to realize whatever happens is meant to happen and I can at least learn from it. The sooner I get to that point the sooner my attitude shifts.
    I hope your crisis is resolving and that everyone will be well soon.
    Namaste and hugs

  304. you did the right thing – ignore the Mother Police. Seriously – I hope that whatever the crisis was, that it has passed. Good wishes.

  305. Sometimes you have two sucky choices. You pick the less sucky one, but that doesn’t mean the other one ceases to suck.
    If it’s ok to acknowledge that it would have sucked to stay at SOAR while feeling you ought to be at home, then it’s ridiculous to pretend that coming home and missing SOAR doesn’t suck also.
    Phooey on the Mother Police! It’s like voting…if you don’t participate, you lose your right to complain. When the Mother Police jumps in to clean the pukey clothes, then they get to say something. (And being a disembodied voice makes that rather unlikely…)

  306. Amen on the mother police!
    I hope whatever it is that caused you to choose home over SOAR is sorted out soon. In response to your last twitter, yes, you can get so mad that it changes everything forever, but you don’t have to let it.
    Best of luck. … and hugs.

  307. Yup, you are a responsible adult! Remember when we thought we knew it all and could have it all? The reality of life is, it’s all a compromise, and some choices are better than others. If you didn’t feel disappointed about leaving SOAR then Joe and the girls should worry about your mental health. Hope everything is being resolved.

  308. Wouldn’t it be great if, when you pushed that first baby out into the world you could also push your self-love (or feelings of guilt or both) out as well so you wouldn’t feel any personal disappointment when you have to be on Mommy Duty?

  309. Hey Steph: Don’t you just hate it when what you want to do conflicts with what you need/have/know what you should do. You are a wonderfully honest loving human being and the Angel in the House died a long time ago, (may she rest in peace)so give yourself a break and kvetch all you want to. The sooner you get it out the better.
    It would be nice if life was like a silky, smooth strand of cashmerino but more often it’s like an unknown blend with knots and slubs and sometimes even fecal matter in it. Working with it isn’t pleasant but sometimes you gotta go with what you have.
    And Steph, you will SOAR again. You are soaring now!

  310. My rule is that it’s ok to whine and be crabby as long as you’re doing the right thing. You are, so case closed.

  311. Darn the Mother Police, that is how I missed Sock Summit, and I pouted for days, the happy pictures that came in from friends (they were even on the front page) did not make it better. But I did the right thing and it was all good in the end.

  312. Stephanie,
    Oh,yeah! Been there, done that! Survived to do it again another day. What can we say, but that’s what Moms do, and I hope all is well back at home. Thanks for the lovely, eloquent blog.

  313. rock vs hard place,…..hmmmm
    I understand completely and you have my sympathies, and a great big HUG!

  314. Hey, your kids are important to you. That being said, they are also no longer little ones. Short of being seriously ill (did she need to be hospitalized?), she and Joe could have dealt. Really. After all, when you get sick, does your Mom drop all and come stay with you to nurse you? Would you even want her to? I know when I’m sick, I just want to be left alone to my misery. It will pass in a couple of days, SOAR won’t be around for another year.

  315. I have also had many battles with the MP, and somehow they never get easier. Somewhere during the last arguement I began to wonder. Why am I turning myself inside out and upside down to “prove” I am a good mother to a voice in my head? Who am I listening to in there and why do I give them credence?
    We start at the beginning by sacrificing essentials like our sleep, our privacy and our sanity and then it ratchets down and up to ask us to give up ourselves in so many ways. Whatever your choice something will get left behind or out. If you feel that you did what was best in your private list, then you can be free to feel all the dissapointment and unhappiness you do. You are free to eloquently voice it to the world. Enough martyered smiling sacrifice. Do the right thing in your eyes and bitch all the way. I am right behind you.

  316. I don’t spin and therefore had not heard about SOAR but you mentioned it in your last Blog so I looked at the website and was captivated. (I’m a knitter but I’m attending a spinning demo at my local yarn shop in a couple of weeks.) So, I’m clear about your loss at leaving the conference. My experience has been that sometimes live just isn’t that much fun and the fact that you are a parent increases the frequency of the times when life is like that, BUT it also increases the frequency when life is so rewarding that you can’t imagine it without those little “peanut-heads”…. Whatever it is that’s going on….. it will pass.

  317. You are a good mother because you did what you had to do for the good of your family. As a good mother you are modeling for your daughters honesty along with maturity.

  318. Screw mommy guilt!! When my one and only was 12, I was a university student. I majored in Japanese Studies and did a semester of study abroad in Osaka for my degree. That’s 4 months I was away from her and her father. They coped just fine. The worst thing that happened was that she got ganged up on by some kids. Because I wasn’t around for that, and missed her birthday, I played those internal inadequacy and shame tapes for years afterward. The thing is, neither of them resented my choice; it was only me.
    Sorry you had to leave SOAR early. I hope you can go to the next one and enjoy it to the max.

  319. for those of us who are not mothers yet, it’s good for us to know that you can do what is right but not feel ashamed that you don’t feel great doing it. As I once heared a very wise mum say to her little one about dinner ” honey. You ain’t gotta like it it, you just gotta eat it”
    Even more mummy points for having the strength to say what I guess so many many mothers would never feel they were allowed to say out loud. The clarity you bring is so often in the unspoken areas of life.
    Much love, and sorry you missed out on your big event.

  320. I think you’d have conflicting feelings either way. But in years to come, the fact that you came home when you were needed will be a reassuring memory for you and your family.

  321. I understand. I’m not a mother, but I missed out on plans I had for my birthday yesterday due to a family member being in the hospital. Family is first and I did what I had to do. But it still sucks and I feel screwed. I feel terrible and guilty for feeling this way and I’m trying to get over it.
    I’m sorry you missed SOAR and I hope everything is ok now. Much love to you

  322. I hope that there is another SOAR in your future and that it will be just a little sweeter because of the memory of this SOAR that didn’t really happen.

  323. Having just lived through 5 days of possible H1N1 with my son, I completely understand the feeling that you had to be home, and it was necessary. No matter how much you wanted to be there, the entire decision rests on the horrific “what if” scenario that can run through our minds.
    You did the right thing. You made the only decision that you could live with, and no, you don’t have to like or be happy about it.
    Tell the mother police to STFU.

  324. I have been thinking about this a lot in the last year or so, and I don’t believe one can BE a good mother without being first a good and interesting person. What would you have taught your daughters if you gave up caring about your passion when you had a family?
    Of course, they may not appreciate this lesson now… But trust that it’s there. We daughters do come around eventually to the realization that our mothers are people too, complete with hopes and fears and dreams.
    Sorry you had to miss SOAR. Let yourself feel the sad, or it will sour into something worse. Paraphrasing a great woman here: “sunshine is the best disinfectant.”

  325. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling disappointment in missing out on SOAR. I’m sorry that you had to. I don’t have children of my own, so I wouldn’t really know what goes on in your head and that sort of perspective of a mother, but as a child, I’d appreciate that you did come home for me, if I needed you. And I think that your children know that you’re human too and you can feel bad/disappointed for missing out on something your really wanted.
    I think, though, that the important thing is that the disappointment doesn’t turn into resentment. That’s a different feeling altogether.

  326. Such a confounding issue. Your thoughts resonate with each of us, I’m sure. It’s not important what was going on at home, you felt you had to be there and had to miss something important to you. Well said. Been there, done that, felt the resentment. Thanks for stating it better that I ever could.

  327. Really well said.
    While the myth of the “good mother” is great when you’re a kid, it doesn’t hold up so well when you get to be that adult mother. I’ll do anything I need to for my little girl — and I expect as she gets older, I’ll have to do more things that interfere with my original plans — but I’m not sure that I will always do it gracefully.
    And, you know, I do think that children in particular should be able to see that their parents are not some perfect paragons of an ideal, but are also people with hopes, dreams, feelings, etc. It doesn’t mean that we still don’t “do the right thing” — but it does mean that it should be understood that doing the right thing is not always easy on the person doing it.
    I hope you get a good beer and some time with your spinning wheel in the midst of whatever is causing you distress.

  328. I agree completely… and it’s time that more mothers owned up to having these feelings.
    I also think that, in the long run (maybe when some time has passed), you’ll feel WAY more healthy about the whole event because you’ve allowed yourself to have those feelings about it, and actually expressed them out loud. It will be a less big deal later because you’re actually dealing with it now!
    And I agree that your family should see that you have indeed made a sacrifice. More families should at least *notice* when moms make sacrifices…
    I hope things get better soon!

  329. I don’t reply often, but I just wanted to let you know that your post made me cry. I know how you feel and I can’t agree more with you. I’ve very sorry that you had to miss your week at SOAR. *hugs*

  330. I’m not a mother, but I’m (old enough to be) a grown-up. Being a grown-up means having to do things you don’t want to do, and doing them of your own volition and not because someone with more authority mandates it.
    So even if you think you fail the Good Mother test (you don’t; in fact, you get points for doing the right thing even though you really didn’t wanna), you totally pass the Good Grown-Up test.

  331. I’m a relatively new mom. I have a one year old and another on the way. I’ve had to loud mom police in my head as well and I’m starting to realize that it’s ok to want time for myself or to do something just for myself. It’s ok if I get mad or slightly resentful at times. I really appreciated your post. Thanks!

  332. A woman named Geneen Roth has based a series of books on the same idea that you voiced: Women take care of everyone but themselves and feel guilty when they finally take time for themselves. Voicing your disappointment and guilt at feeling that disappointment is a very healthy and completely allowable reaction. May more of us feel free to express ourselves in a positive fashion.

  333. The Mother Police can bite me. Me and the rest of the Mom Gang have your back *flashes apron-tying hand-signs* You totally get points for rearranging once in a lifetime travel for fun in order to better serve your ungrateful … um DEL DEL DEL … dear family.
    And, have a pint of beer after they’re squared away. You’ve earned it.
    Now to sort out how to keep a 5 year old wearing a princess dress and butterfly wings warm while trick-or-treating. (Although I’m not missing anything else I had previously planned, I still find that I occasionally resent not being able to just knit on my “time off” from work.)

  334. I had one of those good mothers who always put her family first & never considered what she wanted. The result? I always felt like she was being dishonest about her feelings & I felt like she secretly resented us. Also, when I had my children, I felt she was disappointed in me because I didn’t act like she had. Besides isn’t it more noble in a way to put family first when it is, in fact, not the thing one most wants to do at that moment?

  335. Wow you must have had a calamity at home that needed two parents, that you had to leave SOAR. I hope everything is back to ok now.
    As a mum you do what you have to do, because you know what’s right. That doesn’t mean you have to like it. Mother police… *snort*… that’s so accurate!!

  336. Stephanie:
    There are times that no matter what I do or say I don’t think my daughter cares or that she’s even paying attention. Then all of sudden she’ll do something that shows me that she really was listening and that she got the message. Sometimes kids need to know that the world doesn’t revolve around them and that just because you love them and sacrifice for them doesn’t mean that you always are happy doing it. I hope everything works out okay for you and your family.

  337. I once had a similar experience with, or rather without, Massachusetts Sheep & Wool. I had arranged everything for minimum cost and time away, and I had to call my would-have-been partner in crime at 5:30 am and say I couldn’t go. I was not happy, and I guess because my family situation is not how we wish it were, and we all know that and live with it every day, I never even tried to pretend otherwise.
    So, from one fugitive from the Mother Police to another: here’s to you. Have a glass of wine. (No, just one will not hurt, not even if taken during aerobic mothering.)

  338. Ditto to what everyone else has said. I hope something extra special will come your way soon!

  339. I totally think it sucks that you didn’t go to SOAR this year. Not really knowing what it’s like to be a mom, I can’t say one way or another that you were right or wrong.
    I do think you did a good thing by being home instead of doing the retreat, and I hope that my own mother is always as wonderful as you are.
    There are plenty of other SOARs to go to. I know it sucks, but you did what you thought was best, not the Mother Police. And for that, you earn respect.
    You are a great mom, and that’s all that matters.

  340. First of all, hang in there. Parenting and Family is a continual journey. Unless you clone yourself, you cannot be two places at one time, no matte how great that would be. Family does come first. Motherhood requires sacrifice.

  341. hm, your post begs the question: “What is a good mother? What is a good enough mother?” Cos the MPs (mother police) NEVER let you think or feel that the second of the two might be a viable option! i’m sure you did the right thing. but i’m also sure that it is equally important for family members to KNOW that mothers have wants, desires and disappointments that need to be acknowledged just like the rest of the population! buta word to mothers everywhere: take heart in strength in unity!

  342. Awww. Hugs! While mothers certainly have the motherloade of those kinds of feelings, I think they extend to some of us as well. My brother got engaged to his girlfriend this year and her mother decided to schedule the engagement party for the weekend of Rhinebeck. I seriously missed it and though I understood that I needed to be there for them, I REALLY missed being at Rhinebeck.

  343. I have heard someone who ought to know better say in my hearing that if you don’t WANT to do something it doesn’t do any good to do it. I would like to respectfully disagree. You are perfectly within your rights to be sad about missing SOAR but you do have your priorities correct when you decide you have to go home because your family needs you. The two are not mutually exclusive.
    I’m sorry things worked out for you that way this time.

  344. I can feel your pain in your words, and I hate it for you. I would have done the same thing, but I also would have hated it.
    In situations like these, I try to remember the wise words of a friend of mine … “Everything is just as it should be. If it weren’t, it would be some other way.” So there must be a reason you are home. Have another glass of wine and maybe you can figure out what it is. :)

  345. I have given up any aspirations to be a “good mother.” I am a good enough mother, and that’s enough. There are times I think, “I don’t want to be a responsible adult.” Say it with a little whine. Or a little wine. Whatever.

  346. Total subject change for a minute. Happy birthday, Joe! It is today, isn’t it? I just hope that the issue that necessitated your early return home has been resolved. (I was a little nervous reading your twitter stream–something about being so angry you may never be the same again.) I hope all is well. Give your wonderful hubby a big hug.

  347. I missed Rhinebeck because of the boy’s 21st birthday. Totally enjoyed having him home, clinked a bottle of beer with him to celebrate. Never told him I was missing Rhinebeck, he would have been sad for me. That’s the mother’s way.
    Am still feeling the pang of missing Rhinebeck. That’s the knitter’s way.

  348. Good mothers come home…
    that’s it.. they are permitted to be p’d off and fed up about missing their big treat.
    They are permitted to sit with a large glass of wine, box of choccies in a bubble bath for a few hours.
    They are allowed to find a good friend or friends.. like us and MOAN loudly.
    You are a wonderful mother and if you weren’t younger than me I’d ask you to be mine!
    Hope all is well at home soon…

  349. I agree with noonie — Good mother’s come home.
    And good mothers also get to feel everything you’re feeling.
    Here’s hoping everything is better at your house today & get to have a beer & cast on something spectacular soon.

  350. As I looked @ previous posts & recent tweets, the list of scary reasons for coming home range from illness to house foundation. Prayers for a minor outcome.

  351. wouldn’t the world rock if we fired the good mother police? I vote we do. esp the ones in our head. (funny- I happen to be working on a book proposal along those lines… )
    IMO? A good mother does the right thing (whatever that may be) whether she wants to or not- more often than not.
    Good mothers also don’t do the right thing on occasion. Mostly because they are human.

  352. I LOVE this post. You were able to perfectly capture that struggle mothers fight on a daily basis.
    I think that motherly guilt can overwhelm you, until you remember that you are a person too, and that your needs are important, too. Of course, I always end up sacrificing for the boyos, but I won’t feel guilty about feeling sad that I missed out on something I wanted for myself.
    Thanks for saying that so much more eloquently than I!

  353. If the word “mother” was replaced with the word “person” the guilt would go away. A good person would drop everything to be with family and friends when needed. Yes, the Mother Police dressed up as guilt need to be fired (burned at the stake?).

  354. I wish you were at SOAR too. But I also wish your family member(s) weren’t sick. You did the right thing to come back, but of course you can be disapointed. To heck with those Mother Police (who live in my head too).

  355. You ARE a Good Mother because you came back. Resenting it is human and normal. Boy, I’d have resented it like hell, but I’d have come back too. Hope it’s nothing too awful you’re dealing with at the moment.
    (PS, my MIL thinks that I shouldn’t have a life, or hobbies, or interests, independent of my child. It’s a shame she doesn’t think I’m a Good Mother because along with the breastfeeding, the attachment and the stay-at-home-mum-ness, I also knit, sew, make jewellery and read – and it’s all for selfish ME! Bwaahahahaa!)

  356. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the plight of women, particularly mothers, in our supposedly post-feminist era. It’s total bunk to feel that we cannot express our actual feelings. We do make sacrifices for our family, and I don’t think it does them any harm to occasionally be reminded that they *are* sacrifices. We’re not selfless automatons, and, ultimately, I don’t think it does our families good to think we are. How can they learn to respect the feelings of others if their primary person (Mom) doesn’t get any respect for her feelings and desires.
    So sorry you had to leave SOAR. Stomp around a little if it makes you feel better!

  357. I don’t have kids, so grain of salt and all that, but I think you’re right on. Good mothers do the right thing when they need to (just like you did), but they also get to be disappointed about missing the things that they wanted to do.
    I’m so sorry to hear that you had to leave SOAR early. I hope everyone’s doing better at home.

  358. As mothers you do what you have to do. Regret is one thing, resentment is another. It is only natural that you would feel disappointment and even anger at being pulled away from something you have been looking forward to all year but you are wise to not deny your feelings and allow it build into resentment. In such cases when my plans are interupted by family obligations, I only feel resentment if the roles were reversed and he didn’t feel he needed to cut short his trip for the same situation.

  359. YH reply post #2000000000000 so I know you probably got worn out reading these replies a long way above this post – but wanted to say I’m sending a hug, a glass of total empathy mixed with a splash of compassion, and my permission to flounce about a bit.

  360. I am sorry to read that you had an emergency of a magnitude requiring rushing home. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  361. I’m sorry you missed SOAR. You’re a good person for going home, but you’re a good person anyway. Many hugs sent to you and your fam.

  362. One more positive comment to you Stephanie. There is no reason not to feel bad – and again not to feel good, ie. no SOAR & you are a good mom!
    you are in all our thoughts.

  363. Without reading all the comments, just your post, I call HOGWASH on your Mother Police. Being “good” is about making the right choices (which you did) and has NOTHING to do with feelings! Whether it’s being a good mother or a good wife or a good friend, we do what’s right whether or not we FEEL like it. Sometimes the feelings fall suit, and sometimes they don’t; it’s OKAY to not feel great about it!

  364. Sometimes you even get to reap what you sow.
    Like last year when I had “the Crud” and was all alone and felt too weak to get up to get myself another blanket – I called my sweet daughter and said I needed a ‘Mommy’ – she drove across town to take care of me.
    That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it meant a lot to me.

  365. Aw, you didn’t miss a thing at the rest of SOAR. Unless you missed catching SOAR plague. It was totally lame and nobody really liked it. The grapes were totally sour anyway. I hope this helps.

  366. My baby is 11 weeks old, and it’s so very nice, helpful, and encouraging to read this post. Both the part where you’re there for your family, and the part that says it’s okay and healthy to feel wretched and disappointed sometimes about the selflessness. I like the Mother Police description — that will help me as I work through the big and small events to come. Hope that everything’s okay and doing better, and I’m sorry about your trip.

  367. I laid down the law to my Mother Police. “The Family” has to be covered in buboes or spewing blood for me to turn around from a nine hour flight to come trekking home. There is no amount of consolation that I can offer. The “you did the right thing” would stick in my craw if I had to say it. Just know… I know and it sucks. I’d get you a calendar to start the countdown for when the last one finally gets out but they always move back so it’s pointless.
    Buy some reallllllllllly expensive yarn.

  368. The Mother Police can be one mean mutha. I swear the guilt complex it raises makes mothers more worn out than non-mothers. But while you were missed, your reason for departure was understood and hopefully all is going well.
    There will be next year. In the meantime, enjoy celebrating Joe’s birthday and give him an extra special kiss.

  369. You’ve always been a good mother; now you’re a healthy one. Honesty is a good thing, and it doesn’t take away one degree of your selflessness in rushing home to family this week.
    We don’t have Mother Police here – or perhaps I’m just terrifying enough that they won’t show themselves.

  370. POOR BABY!!!
    I’m so sorry you missed SOAR!
    But ya know, 30yrs from now, when the kids are picking out your nursing home, you can remind them of this great sacrifice, maybe it’ll get you a room with a view???

  371. I’m sorry. I was at SOAR once; the only time I could go, given all the other parts of my life. You’re a good Mom.

  372. Good mothers don’t lose their sense of self because of their children. Your girls need to know that you are an individual, and that there is more to being a woman than being a mother. Being there when your family needs you is important, but so is nurturing your own sense of self.

  373. what? You mean, there were no contingency plans? What if you didn’t exist? Must be more to the story. I don’t get it.

  374. As my best friend says, “parenting is not for the selfish.”
    Sometimes, being a mother means that nothing is more exotic and exciting than just doing something for ourselves. And giving that up really hurts–especially if it means 18 hours of travel. Hope everyone is better.

  375. Now – I would save again – for next year – and whole weeks’ worth – and leave instructions – That this Mom has been taken to SOAR by the Mom Police – - -and I don’t get out of Soar Jail for one week. Period – So everyone will get the message to behave themselves!! Sometime being a Mom is not all it is cracked up to be – Chin up -

  376. I hope the reason you don’t feel good is too much candy! If it is something more serious, please check in with a qualified professional, probably some plane induced ick! Hope you and the family are better soon.
    Eve from Carlisle.

  377. You are the definition of a great mom! Being upset, angry, frustrated, sad, etc., shows how excited you were about SOAR and YET YOU STILL CAME HOME WHEN YOU WERE NEEDED! Thanks for giving such an eloquent voice to this frustrating issue that we moms face.
    (and I hope everything is OK)

  378. If SOAR didn’t matter to you, it would be no sacrifice and therefore wouldn’t be worth as much. The fact that it mattered so much to you and you went home anyway is what makes what you did so important. Hope things are going better now.

  379. Yes.
    I’ve been there before, maybe not 18 hours of airline torture worth, but… Thinking about this makes me cry just a little.
    Hope everyone is well, now.

  380. I hope that whatever it was that made you come home is OK now. I don’t think you’re less of a great mother for regretting the fun you’ve had to miss. Look at it this way: You often comment on how your daughters have turned out really great people. Don’t you think that the great example you set in being there for them (in spite of any fun you regret missing) has something to do with that?

  381. Stephanie, thank you for your post. I am mother to a four week old, and already understand how you feel. I am really sorry that you had to cut SOAR short, and hope that all is better at home. I think that the best mothers are those who still pursue their own interests as well as have a family. It is important for family members to see all sides of you, and not just the side that feeds and cleans up after you. I hope that you get a chance to return to SOAR next year.

  382. Hope your family situation is settling down. I think I’m a pretty good mom, having learned from one of the best. And she would agree that a Good Mom will follow her gut & do what needs to be done for her family but doesn’t necessarily have to be 100% happy about it. I still think you rock – bet your family does too!

  383. My heart breaks for you for two reasons: that someone in your beloved family is hurting, and that you are so rightfully hurting for giving up a highly anticipated event. Ouch.
    But I’m glad for this: you have two loves, family and career. That’s a good problem to have.
    And we love what you do. All of it. Every bit.

  384. Kim in VA has got it right.
    After 34 years of mothering I have come the conclusion that the advice I was given for raising my girls is the same that you have to take to mother them.
    Do what your heart tells you.
    It isn’t always easy because sometimes the answer is “NO, I need this for me if I am going to be there for you”. And sometimes you give up yours for theirs. Difficult knowing which to do when, but you do your best and life goes on.
    Sorry that this time it was a “thiers” but someday it will be “yours”. Life does balance out. Just not when we wish it would I’m afraid. Happiness has never been a promise of the universe.

  385. When I was pregnant with number one offspring I read an article in a Sunday newspaper about motherhood by Virginia Ironside (I think!)
    The moral of it has become my motto – “A mother’s place is in the wrong” and 29 years, a son and three daughters later it still applies. Somebody will always be unhappy with any decision – the point is to try to ensure that it’s not always the mother who is unhappy but that’s easier said than done. You left SOAR and went back home because you thought it was the right thing to do and if you thought so then it was right.
    Self sacrifice is generally hard wired into you when they hand you that new baby instead of the pair of telescopic arms you really need!

  386. If I’m able to sleep at night, I know I did the right thing. I have made decisions that are supposed to be awful for my child, terrible for me, the worst thing a mother can do-and slept like a baby. I have done other things (like making him go to bed without his toy ship-captain), and laid awake for hours feeling just awful.
    “Whatever gets you thru the night, s’all right, s’all right.” John Lennon

  387. I’ve been where you are a lot over the years. And doing what feels right is the best way to go. My family have learned the hard way that calling on my Mother Police is not to be done lightly.
    My Mother Police know that the only time they should even consider intruding on something so special and long-awaited as your SOAR trip, there had been be blood gushing, bones poking through skin and a very handsome RCMP officer waiting to fill me in on the details.

  388. I’m only a mom to fur beasts but… The mom police are entitled to their opinions, but you’re not obligated to listen to them. You made the decision that seemed right at the time, even though it totally sucked. It’s perfectly normal and healthy to feel like it totally sucks.

  389. Your SOAR is my Bead & Button show in Milwaukee, WI. (Yes, jewlery is my first passion, knitting my second – though sometimes they do trade places…) BEad & Button is held every year the first week of June…which is when kids graduate around here, and expect parties to be held in their honor. I just missed my second B&B show, and it is *always* with some degree of remorse. Those are MY PEOPLE – they understand my affinity for stones with holes in them!
    So sorry you had to miss your people!

  390. be disappointed all you want. you did the rt thing and being disappointed does not mean you are a bad mother

  391. Good Mothers get to be pissed off, too. I would be. I have been. I hope the domestic crisis is solved soon, and I hope you get to SOAR next year. I’m sorry you missed it.

  392. Happy birthday, Joe!
    I hope everyone is well or on the mend in your house, Steph. The Mother Police live in our heads and hearts, and even when our children have left the nest, they still kick us to DO SOMETHING when our children are ill.
    It’s rotten that you felt you had to leave SOAR, but I’m sure that you wouldn’t have enjoyed yourself to the fullest if you’d been worrying about what was happening at home. ((hugs)) I hope you can make up for what you missed by caressing some fine alpaca or cashmere.

  393. Wow that was a really tough call. Bet it was hard for the family who had to ask you to come home too. There is not only Mother Police but Daughter Police and Wife Police. All of them make our personal lives tough to live guilt free. I have been fortunate not to be call home from Sock Camp but I really expected to the first two years. Right now I have double pull going on between father in hospital 200 miles away and DH with ‘flu. Can’t be both places at once however much I want to. I know where of which you talk Harlot-san.
    Hope all is better soon. Hard to take the “family first” road but it usually pays off in the end. Hugs to you and all of yours. Many, many, hugs. Alice

  394. Amen!!
    As someone who has had to give a lot this year to her family I can say that yup, it sucks. We give up what we want in order to take care of what needs taking care of. Doesn’t mean we didn’t want to do it, it just means we have our priorities in the right place.
    Take care of you!

  395. I think you are being honest and that is almost always a good thing.
    What kind of an example to our children are we setting if we pretend to be utterly selfless… should they then aim for selflessness when they are parents? I think showing your kids you have interests in the world besides them is a very healthy thing. No one should be totally living for others.
    I hope things are okay at home.

  396. Oh, Stephanie, that really sucks that you had to miss something you were planning and looking forward to for so long!
    I’m sorry for whatever caused the need, and glad you made the choice that you will regret less.

  397. I’m so sorry you missed your event! And I completely understand how you feel and I’m sure a lot of other parents do, too! I’m the mom who wants to go out every weekend, but rarely does. And I’m also the mom who stood at the San Francisco airport and cried because I thought I was going to miss my flight home and my daughter really needed me. But every time that kid of mine screams, “I can’t wait to get out of here and go to college!” I respond, “I know — I’m going to be so irresponsible the second you are out of the house.”

  398. exactly. we do because we love. and because we love we hurt. it isn’t selfish, it just is and it feels better to acknowledge it.
    sorry about soar.

  399. Yes. All that.
    (and who are these people who dare think you should not feel bad missing something so special? Twits.)

  400. I wonder if there was a “stand-in” mom who could have taken your place, if only for a few days, so that you could have enjoyed what you had planned and still have known someone was there with a mother’s touch and a mother’s love. Like split the difference?!? Of course, you would have been thinking of nothing but home while at SOAR. Motherhood is a cruel-a$$ double-edged sword.

  401. I know I’m a late commenter here, and all the comments have been so good that it seems there’s not much left to say! A few years back I took my daughter and her friends to the first Spiderman movie, and just as we were settling into our seats she told me she wasn’t feeling well. So, no Spidey for us, we went to the walk-in clinic right away so she could get started on some anti-biotics (bladder infection). I know missing a Spiderman movie is nothing like missing SOAR, but I really did want to see that movie, and I made it clear that I was disappointed. Of course, daughter missed it too. But I’m a mom,so I did what was right for my daughter. I rented the movie later.

  402. Stephanie, I read you to make me feel better about my life…I read you because you knit (and I wish I could knit like you but I’m just a novice still), I read because I love reading about the life you live, I read you because I love reading about you and your family and their adventures and through all this as some who has struggled with infertility for 10 years…I know that you are a good mother!!!! But even good mother’s have lives, thoughts, feelings and you are SO VERY RIGHT…just because you are mom doesn’t mean that you aren’t you and that you have things other than being a selfless mother to all your brood (including your wonderful husband)that you enjoy, look forward to, that make you happy and you have EVERY RIGHT to feel disappointed that you are missing SOAR because just because a person does the right thing doesn’t always mean it makes them happy if they are missing out on something they really like to do or want to do. I know you are a great mom and your family realizes that you are a great wife and mother, but it’s okay to own up to disappointment and still be a good mom. I know you can’t be at SOAR and you miss your friends, frankly I think you are an awesome knitter and it’s high time the yarn shops in your area come together and host some kind of smaller SOAR event that you can be the hostess with the mostess at and we will flock to you! Now…go spin your frustrations away, even if it isn’t quite Tuesday yet (oh yes, did I tell you I’ve always wanted to learn to spin, so I spin vicariously through you as well….) you are amazing!

  403. It’s what the Mother Police DON’T admit–motherhood (any relationship) is really hard work and the sacrifices are sometimes severe. These need to be heard and aknowledged. You know you’re doing a good job when they are appreciated.

  404. The mom police hereby grant you a ribbon for chewing the the sharp pointy rocks of suckage.

  405. Yes! Speak up about this. Reassure future mothers that the Mother Police do not always have to win.

  406. If you came back safely without catching the SOAR flu, the gods were smiling on you and you definitely made the right decision! I’ve heard of several folks who are bringing the nasty germs back with them. Maybe it was the right decision for a different reason. No need to feel sucky about it.

  407. S**T!!! Think that says it. Yes, we would do anything for our children but we still have feelings & you have every right to express them (especially to your friends).

  408. Bummer.
    You are one darn spiffy human, and a darn fine mom, too.
    It’s so hard to find that balance between wants and have-to’s. I’d say offhand that you’re doing pretty well on that “doing the right thing” thing.
    Here’s hoping all works out well, and with a minimum of teeth-gnashing.
    Do whatever you gotta do; we’ll be here when you get back.
    We’re rootin’ for ya.

  409. All us mothers, specially the ones who work outside the home know exactly what you mean.
    We do what we must because we love our families.
    We still have a right to be disappointed in losing the things we give up. Hope everyone, including you, feels better soon.

  410. You may be a mother, but you’re also a human being. Just because you grew a person in your uterus doesn’t mean that don’t want to do things for yourself! We’ve all been there, will be there, will be there again and any “good” mother would be feeling the exact same way you would be too! I hope all is well at home soon ^_^

  411. It’s been a while now. Please let us know that everything/everyone is okay — including you.

  412. I am so there with you. I am one of those moms who has given up things for my kids, and yes, I did it because I wanted to, not because anybody FORCED me to, but in exchange I feel no guilt when they have to give up something so I can do what I want to do every now and then.
    And, yes, I am one of those mothers who let their kid puke on the floor rather than on me as I was in my last set of clean underwear and was meeting a friend for coffee in an hour.

  413. Thank you for writing this! I am bummed for you that you’re not at SOAR, and doubly so that you’re not there because you’re needed at home.
    As for putting yourself first, why is the only time we’re reminded to do that is when it’s on an airplane, and about oxygen masks?

  414. You’re totally allowed to have feelings of disappointment that your family situation caused you to leave SOAR! We’re all humans as well as mothers, and we have our own desires apart from our family. In fact, I think it makes us better mothers to do so – we come back from our own activities refreshed (usually) and with insight and energy gleaned from the outside world.
    So, give yourself props for doing a difficult thing in choosing to come home for your family. But also give yourself permission to feel disappointed. You’re allowed. ::hugs::

  415. I think that anyone who tries to force herself into that kind of “Good Mother” mould is setting herself up for one hell of a nervous breakdown or possibly murderous rampage. I’m sure there are some women who genuinely don’t ever ever ever mind missing things because their kids need them, and good luck to those women, I don’t mean them. But I’d say the vast majority of mothers would only fit into the mould mentioned by chopping pieces off themselves, like in the rather gruesome older version of Cinderella (where the stepsisters’ feet are too long so they chop off their toes/feet are too wide so they chop off a chunk from the side, and nearly get away with it until someone notices the blood… NICE!). And of course, ultimately that’s not exactly good for the children either. So, fvck the Mother Police, is what I’m saying.

  416. Hope evertyhing is well with you and your lovely family…I’m amazed at how much I miss reading your blog, I really do. My best wishes to you for all the best, and hope to hear good news from you soon!

  417. Thank you for putting to words what I have always thought in my head. When I was pregnant with my first child, everyone kept telling me to enjoy the pregnancy while it lasted, because once the baby came I would never matter again, it would be all about the baby and my life as I knew it would be over. I think this is a mean and scary thing to tell a new mom to be, and I haven’t found it to be true, anyway. Yes, of course my priorities changed and my life is much different, but I still matter, too! And I still knit and read and go out with my friends. Telling women that their wishes and goals don’t matter once they become a mom is setting them up for frustration with their new role and fear of motherhood, instead of joy. Okay, rant over. :) I’m sorry you had to miss SOAR, and I hope things are ok at home now.

  418. When your first child is born – you become enslaved by the love you have for them. It never ends, no matter how old they get. You are a slave – not to them, but to your love for them. It is something I never expected; something nobody told me about. At times it sucks; at times it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. But at all times, there is this ‘bondage’ that you’re never entirely free from. But I also know I would not choose differently. . . .

  419. It’s okay to feel that way. I, personally, want to pull my ears off when I have to listen to the same song practiced over and over,or read the same paper over and over just because I’m the Mom. I do it, but not always with a smile.

  420. I just randomly checked your blog after being away from it for weeks. It’s almost as if this post were meant for me. It’s hard, and awesome, to be a mom. Thank you.

  421. Wow, you said it! Of course you were disappointedd, and it’s only a testament to your maturity and willingness to accept responsibility that you came home when needed DESPITE really wanting this. I’m not saying everything has to be a sacrifice to matter, just that you made one, and it’s OK to be bummed out over what you missed. If you don’t just say it and know it, you could risk turning into a Martyr Mom. Nobody wants that.

  422. I had seen you at SOAR Sunday night and then didn’t see you again. I had wondered what had happened. I am sorry you missed the rest of the event. I hope things got better at home.

  423. Do you know who’s worse than the “Good Mother Police”? The “Good Daughter Police.” Especially when the “Good Daughter Police” is your very own mother. But I love her . . .

  424. I also would be upset but not for those reasons. I would think anyone over the age of 13 would be able to take care of themselves, especially ‘pointing’ in the right direction. and family…? friends? Its something different if they are really sick though.

  425. We mothers all sacrifice. It doesn’t get better as your kids get older. Mine are in their 30′s and I would still give everything, even my stash, for them.
    It is OK to feel bad about missing SOAR. It is OK to feel sorry for yourself, but fathers, including Joe, should also sacrifice.

  426. I am so sorry you had to go home.
    I have read the first quarter of the 500 odd posts. One thing I don’t see mentioned is that really, you were on a business trip. Yarn is your work, and SOAR was work training, and you left that training for your family. Just because you love your work, does not make it any less a professional training week. Tell THAT to the Mother Police!
    I do hope things at home REALLY needed you, and you were able to help, and it was worth it, and it is on the mend.
    THank you so much for your honesty.

  427. I was so glad to read this entry. Part of the reason I don’t have kids (yet) and wonder if I’ll ever have any is because I wonder if I’m too selfish to put someone else ahead of myself…always. I’m glad to hear that mothers have mixed feelings about it themselves.

  428. You rock. As I read this I am sitting at my desk, at work, where I am for 40+ hrs a week pumping breast milk for my almost 8 month old baby to drink while I am away from him. I hate it. Hate every minute of the pumping and the being away and the suck that is work. But I have to do it for my family, for him and for his sister. Man, is it ever worth it. But it sucks shit balls and it is no good for anyone, including my daughter who will one day have to face this herself, to pretend it’s not. Miss you and love you!

  429. I hear ya, Stephanie. I’m a mother in the armed forces and the right choices can sometimes be the most painful.
    Screw the Mother Police.

  430. Ah, the Good Mother Police.
    You did what you thought was best and I hope to heck someone appreciates it.

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