I am writing this while on a date to my favorite local coffee shop.
My date is handsome and funny and all too happy to split a chocolate milk shake with me. He also happens to have chocolate dripping off his chin, be wearing a Han Solo costume and deeply invested in his Angry Birds Star Wars coloring book, but that doesn't matter, I'm still in love.
My son and I have been having regular dates to the coffee shop this semester. I bring my laptop and work on grad school homework or catching up on emails. He brings a stack of coloring books and my iPad so he can watch Lego videos while I work. My husband stays home with our daughter and takes advantage of the quiet of a five year old free house to get her to take a nap. It makes for an exceedingly pleasant Saturday afternoon for all involved (except the baby sometimes who is getting old enough to realize that big brother is going somewhere and that she is not invited).
When I started grad school and added another time commitment to my already busy life, I felt some worries about whether my kids would feel like they got enough of me, of my time, of my attention. I miss bedtimes and swim lessons and school drop-offs. Yesterday I came home from school and saw my husband dosing the baby with pink medicine-she had an ear infection. I didn't even know she'd been to the doctor as my phone was turned off all day in class (and, yes, let me take a moment to give a shout out to my husband for being a fabulous stay-at-home parent).
But what I choose to believe is that my son will remember this, our standing coffee date, and our Sunday morning walks to the bagel shop and how we lay on the couch reading together before bedtime. I'm choosing to believe that the only one who is counting missed bedtimes is me and that when, a year or two from now, I graduate and become "Dr. Mom" my kids will both be proud of me.
Do you ever get the "mom guilt" about time with your kids?