Last Thursday my husband and I left Oregon heading to NYC for the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network Conference. I am currently running the organization, and this year our conference as well. It meant leaving the kids with my parents for 4 nights, while heading out East to manage and run the conference. Because of my duties with PrincetonEN coupled with running Palo Alto Software and being a pregnant mom of a 2-year old and a 5-year old, you can probably imagine that my life has been pretty busy.
Thank goodness my parents had agreed to help out and would be watching the kids while we were away. I had so much going on that I just breathed a sigh of relief — knowing the kids would be in good hands — although I was concerned that my parents were going to be exhausted taking on the care of my 2 very rambunctious boys for 4 nights and 4 days. I encouraged my parents to think of lots of activities to keep the kids busy, and ultimately make sure they were very tired for an 8pm bedtime. When they mentioned on the phone they were going to take the kids the next day to the new Disney/Pixar animated film, UP, I didn’t blink an eye and told my mom it sounded like a great idea. I told her to plan the movie time around the 2-year old’s nap time, as he was sure to fall asleep in the movie theater. Not once did I think about checking whether the film has a G or PG movie rating. Well, guess what. Turns out it is rated PG, and not really intended for a 5-year old. My mom mentioned to me the night after they took the kids to the show that yes, my 2-year old fell asleep and had a great nap, but that the 5-year old was just bored and the story line was over his head. Again I thought nothing of it, and I was just glad my parents had a 2-hour break in the middle of the day, with an easy nap for one child, and some quiet time for the other.
So here is where I get really guilty. Last night my husband and I were bathing the boys before bedtime. The 5-year old suddenly shouts out from the tub:
Mommy, Daddy, who is going to take care of us when you get old, old, old, and die?
My husband and I looked at each other, and then I answered first:
T, you don’t have to worry about that at all. Mommy and Daddy will be here for a long , long time. We are not going to leave you guys and will always take care of you.
To which he responded:
You will die. Everyone dies. You will get old, old, old. And when you do, who will take care of us?
This went on for a little while, with my husband and I reassuring T that we would always be here to take care of him. I know he does not truly understand the concept of death, and after 5-10 minutes he seemed satisfied and was off on the next topic. Obviously, seeing as I am writing about this today, I have not moved on to the next topic. I feel like I failed to protect him from a subject that he is just too young to understand. I can’t believe I didn’t check to see whether the movie was rated G or PG. I never even take the kids to any movies — because I think they are just too young. And here, because I was away, swamped, and worried that the kids would exhaust my parents, I failed to do the right thing and find out whether this was an appropriate activity. So yes, another reason to feel guilty about being a working mommy. Sigh.