Llama Llama Guilt Trip Mama

Lila loves reading books and has begun coming home from day care retelling the tales from the books they read that day.  To help feed her love of books, we got her a library card last weekend.  She is pretty excited to be able to ask about a book and that we can find it at the library to read.  Earlier this week she asked for Llama Llama Red Pajama, which we’ll pick up this weekend.  As it happened, they read another Llama book this week at school – Llama Llama Misses Mama.

When Lila starting telling me about the book, she said that Llama went to day care and was sad because Mama left and he didn’t want to play with anything. My working mama ears prickled about the story. I talked to her teacher and she said the kids loved it and could relate to it, the mama comes at the end of the day and it rhymed! (Apparently all the important elements of a good early pre-school book.) I kept asking Lila more about the book – did Llama ever feel better? Did his mom come back? Did she ever get sad like Llama does at school (yes) but she knows that mama will come to pick her up, though it can be hard to wait for mama.  Still feeling unsure about this book, I found a “reading” of it on youtube.

Clearly this book was created by someone who thought working moms do not have enough guilt already. The pictures of Llama clutching his baby llama as he looks out the door while his mom walks away, his unwillingness to play and then the eventual sobbing breakdown because he misses his mama so much, it was really too much for me.  Even then line “Mama, you came back!” at the end of the book broke my heart – did Llama (or Lila) really think that Mama wouldn’t come back? That he/she had been abandoned? By the end of the book, I was crying.  Giant llama guilt trip.

I like my job. I like working.I do not think I am cut out to stay home full time.  I miss my kids every single day. It never gets easier to say good bye to them. I worry I am missing too much of their childhood and I worry about how they feel. I can talk a good game about how much they are learning (a metric ton of stuff), how social they are (extremely), the strengthening of their immune systems (allegedly), but I still worry that I’m making the right choice. I keep waiting for the moment when I know that it’s the right choice for both me and the kids (and A, of course), but it doesn’t seem to come. So really, Llama Llama? You aren’t helping things. You shake me to the core to think about how sad my kids can be and it destroys me to hear Lila talk about how sad she is when she has to “wait for mommy.”  Let’s focus on something more upbeat next time – perhaps Llama Llama Respects Mama and the Difficult Life Choice She Makes. Or you know, Llama Llama Loves Cupcakes.



  1. Grandma Dede says:

    Your story made me cry, but I was crying from both sides. Poor Lila missing Mom and poor Lauren (my child) having to handle all the guilt. You may not remember but I faced the same guilt from the other side. I stayed home until you were about 10. The guilt was there when I was home- we could afford more if I was working, all the things we could not do because of lack of money, wasting my college degree. When I went back to work it was just as hard, Scott at Day Care and you and Chris latchkey children.
    In the end I think it all worked out ok. The three of you have become smart wonderful adults and I am proud to tell people that you are my kids. I think that is because no matter what the working situation was, you guys always knew that Dad and I loved you, I think it will be that way for Lila and Lucy too. There will be bumps in the road but ultimately your kids will turn out fine because they know how much you and A love them.
    How about Llama Llama Grandma is Coming to Visit ?

  2. Grandma Dede is a wise woman.

  3. grand Dad Mark says:

    Lila & Lucy know you and A love them. Parental guilt is a powerful thing and seems to be powerful the more you love your children, So don’t let the Lama Lama bully get to you.
    Oh, bty the way I am very sorry I picked you up late that one day at Kindergarden!!!
    Love GDad

  4. It’s a hard balance, Lexie has asked a few times that I stay home with her and it’s heartbreaking. She’s old enough now that we are honest with her and we tell her that we work so she can have the iPad, the trips to the story book store, dinner out etc. I feel ya on the guilt trip!

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