April 14, 2017

Inescapability of Mom Guilt

My first mother’s day in silicon valley was a gut punch. Nicole’s daycare hosted a special brunch for all the moms. I had only been working for a short period of time, and knew I was pregnant and would be taking a rather generous maternity leave. I didn’t feel comfortable taking the day off to attend. Nicole’s teachers assured me it wouldn’t be a big deal for me to skip the brunch, and seeing as she was just shy of two years old I knew she wouldn’t remember one way or the other. Logging on to facebook that afternoon I noticed a picture of story time following the brunch on the preschool’s class’ page. Out of the sixteen person class my child was the only one sitting on the floor. I was the only parent who didn’t attend.

Part of the reason I wanted to start my own business was to have the flexibility in my schedule so I could spend more time with the kids, and be the kind of parent I wanted to be.

I find it ironic how sometimes things can backfire on you.

I remember our first Halloween party at the new place. Nicole was three. The school was having a parade of costumes following a “trunk or treat” where a section of the parking lot was cordoned off and teachers waited with trunks full of candy to partition off to the kids. When Nicole saw Domingo and I standing in the crowd of parents during the parade she started crying and trying to hide behind her teacher. She thought we were coming to take her home before the trunk or treating (their version of trick or treating)! Today was the girls’ spring party at school. When I arrived the preschools were putting the final stickers on their bags for the Easter hunt. Alexis took one look at me and pancaked on the floor, afraid I had come to take her home before the hunt.

That’s parenting for you, I guess.

I never feel like a perfect mom. Often a good mom, rarely a great mom. I struggle sometimes, as do we all. But one of the things I’ve learned lately is that there are times when you cannot win. But at the end of the day, everything is always works out. As upset as the kids were to see me, they still had a great time at their parties once they realized we weren’t going home. Thinking back to that photo of the mother’s day celebration with Nicole sitting on the floor instead of in a lap, she had the biggest smile in the whole room. Kids are resilient. It’s time to try and let go of perfection and just be.

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