I have been asking myself this question lately. Sometimes I'm pretty comfortable and confident in saying yes, I am a good mom. At least a lot better than some other moms. But other times, I'm not so sure. Plenty of reasons why I've been doubting my "mommyhood performance". One of them is because I've been working harder and harder lately, with more late nights than ever. Can I help it? Perhaps not. Better time management is not the answer either. For the past few months, I have been spending a lot less time doing non work-related stuff both online or offline, like reading a book or blog hopping. I have never been so preoccupied with work. Even when I am not at the office or in front of my laptop, I am constantly thinking about work, my mind can not seem to stop. It's probably a phase I have to go through, we are at a sort of turning point in our company where every decision seems to be a major one which can affect the the future of our business. So it's perhaps unavoidable to be spending so much time at work and consequently, I have very little time for other things. My life is all about work and Aluf.
Do I feel guilty though? Yes, of course. I usually don't give in to the thought too often when I'm at the office, but when I finally park my car in front of the house, step into the dark and quiet living room for the 3rd or 4th time that week and I know Aluf is already sleeping soundly in our room, I'm always hit with a pang of incredible guilt. I hate having to miss our night time ritual. I love reading to her before bed and love how immediately after, she'd ask me to tell her a story from my childhood. I love how she snuggles up to me afterwards, her little face looking so content and I love watching her finally dozing off and her lips are still smiling. It pains me having to miss that but I know deep in my heart that if I want to reach the goals that I've set up for myself and my family, I have to do this. I just hope she'll understand it when she's old enough.
Aluf just celebrated her 4th birthday last week. This is the first year when she is actually aware of her big day approaching. So she started the countdown since about a week before 2nd of December. She woke up from her sleep, her eyes widened and shouted "5 days to my birthday!" and so on. Every single day. On D-day, she woke up before 6 am (never happens on regular days), shook me while whispering "Morning's here! Wake up!"
We had a simple celebration. I thought of throwing her a big (well, big-ish) party where I'd meticulously plan every detail: the theme, decoration, food, party favors, etc. But Aluf never asked for any of that. All she asked for since a few months ago was for us to do a little celebration in her school and a birthday cake with Ariel the Little Mermaid decoration on top. That's it. So that's what I gave her. because anymore than that would be about me, and not her.
I also made sure she was surrounded with people she loves and people who love her, since the moment she opened her eyes, till the minute she closed them again. So after school, I invited both of her grandmas, my dad, her cousins Yoko, Sabine and Jasmine to play at my house. My sister in law, my brother and his wife also visited after work to give her a big kiss and a present. I planned no party. We just helped her open her presents and played with her all day. Hubby and I gave her a new, pink bicycle. And, just as I promised myself a long time ago when she had just been born, we gave Aluf her first ever bike lesson that afternoon. She was smiling and laughing the whole day. At night, after putting her in her brand new pajamas, a birthday present from Tante Manda and Igo, she was chattily recounting her special day when she suddenly stopped, and said "It's strange, I don't feel 4."
"How old do you feel?" I asked her, trying so hard not to laugh.
"Just as I was, 3." she said.
"Well, it doesn't happen overnight. But gradually, you'll start to feel like you're 4."
And then, without me asking, she gave me a long, big hug and said "Thank you for bringing me the cake."
Maybe, I'm not doing so bad after all.