Lately, I noticed something my son was doing that his friends in kindergarten weren’t. They ran up to their mommies and daddies when they came to pick them up after school and gave them big hugs and kisses. Mine just always wanted to know, “What’s for dinner?”
After a long day at work I always hope that my kids will be just as excited to see me as I am to see them. To see their smiling faces and hear them laugh makes this whole rat race/career-thing tolerable for me. Having my son ask me “what’s for dinner?” made me feel like my presence isn’t all that significant in his day.
I’d like to think that he asks me this question daily because he thinks his mommy is a great cook. But most nights it’s all about what I can heat up or microwave in 20 minutes or less – chicken nuggets, cheese quesadillas or PB&J sandwiches. So that clearly was not the case.
Was it his way of telling me, “Where the heck have you been all day lady? You haven’t done anything for me. You don’t care that I’m trapped here at school all day!”, which brings out my whole working mother guilt thing. Should I be at home raising my children, being a super-involved PTA or classroom mom, enriching their lives by my very presence, making them organically, nutritionally balanced meals rather than working and having a career?
I didn’t want to make a big issue out of it and I hoped it would pass after a day or two. Not a chance! This went on for nearly two weeks and it was really starting to grate on me. I had to find out why my son was asking me this question instead of happily greeting me like his classmates.
So last Friday in the car on the way home from kindergarten I asked him ever so casually, so as not to make him think it was a big thing even though it totally was to me, why he’s always greeted me with that question instead of giving me a hug or kiss.
His answer? “Because I’m hungry. Silly mommy.”
Lesson learned here, he’s five years old. He’s not being passive aggressive, his motives are pure and totally innocent. He’s at school daily from 9 am to 3 pm, learning and playing and apparently working up quite an appetite. It was all about me and my baggage and this ideal I have of being the “perfect mom.” I needed to get over it. The kid is hungry and he just wants to eat.
Now comes the bigger dilemma, what should I make for dinner?
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