Today, I spent three hours on the phone trying to accomplish a mammoth list of urgent “Evan-related” tasks.  Of the five things on my to-do list, I accomplished one.  Needless to say, the clock read 4:30 pm and the minions were informing me that naptime had ended.  My growing list was put on hold until next Tuesday afternoon. 

Tuesday afternoon. 

I have a planner with daily tasks.  Most days are full of scribbles about appointments, class assignments and urgent household tasks such as: Create edible gluten/milk/soy free meals from the top of my head.  Tuesdays are different.  They are blank except for the words, “Evan Day – see notebook”.  Which brings me to the growing stacks of books, bills, informative pamphlets, etc…all of which MUST be taken care of.  I am thinking of posting, “Quit your day job” above this shelf.  It would be the only chance for getting all of this stuff done. 

Welcome to Guilt 101.  I will be your professor today. 

The first year of motherhood, I spent most of my time being  jealous of other mothers who worried about how to iron men’s dress shirts and balance the checkbook since they weren’t working.  Of course, I was only chastised for not understanding the difficulty of ‘being with my children all day’.  Not to mention the scandalous looks I received when I forgot wipes in the daiper bag or my children wore the same shirt two days in row.  I wanted to wear a sign that read, “Hello, I worked a 14 hour shift last night.  No, I am not awake enought to pack a daiper bag.  And no, I have not done the laundry.”  Perhaps this all would have been less stressful had I not been worried about my checkbook too and unable to afford the weekly housekeeper. 

The second year of motherhood showed Evan’s arrival.  I got over being jealous and realized that my kids possessed a sense of independence unparralled by their frequently mothered peers.  However, this quickly progressed to the unquenchable fear that my children were not getting what they needed from me.  Now, I was just plain guilty.  After all, the days I was at home, I was just trying to get by.  No doubt, when I was at work, they were watching tv so that daddy could do schoolwork.  Sigh…what would become of them.  At this point, I contemplated daycare only to discover that the end result was further financial ruin, which I had not thought possible.  After all, we had already lost our house.  How much worse could it get?  Oh yes, we need a place to live and food to eat.  “Sorry, kids.  Today, I had to decide that you needed food more than meaninful interaction.  Maybe tomorrow…”  Yes, I was guilty…and it was all my fault. 

The third year of mothering showed that I had reason to feel guilty.  My son wasn’t talking or making eye contact or doing anything that he should have been doing.  Not to mention, another child in the picture.  God, help us.  Somebody should tell the Duggars that a house can reach full.  Ours definitely had.

Year four.  Evan is diagnosed with autism and I know things could have been different.  If I had been more involved.  If we had more money.  If…If…

Perhaps if I had quit my day job four years ago…Perhaps Evan wouldn’t have autism.  Now, I need to quit my day job just to take care of him.

Yet today, the answer is no different.  No different than when I returned to work after Arianna’s birth.  No different than when we needed some daycare to give the kids positive interaction.  No different than any other day. 

I can’t quit my day job.  We need food to eat and a roof over our heads…

Oh yes, it is my fault.  No logic could explain it away. 

Go ahead.  Inform me of the difficulty of ‘being with your children all day” and ironing men’s dress shirts. 

I’ll trade you anyday.