Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Letting Go of The Mother of all Confilcts

Since L.E. has been in daycare in some shape or form since she was three months old, you would think that I may have gotten over working-mom guilt.
You would be wrong.
It's not that I feel guilty for working...I love my job and I love contributing to my household and clothing fascination.
It's a different kind of the feeling you get when you see that mom of five kids expertly guiding her herd inside the school – early enough so they aren't rushing – all while her hair and makeup are perfect and her kids are all dressed in clothes that are clean and match.
It's like an envious sort of guilt with a touch of self-loathing: I'm never going to be as good as so-and-so's mom.
It wasn't so bad at preschool because it was small and most of the moms were just like me...harried and always good for a laugh. With a parking lot that you had to turn into from the middle of a 4-lane highway, your sense of humor got a workout every morning and evening.
Elementary school is so different.
There are so many kids. SO MANY. And their parents are so confident; they always know where to be at the right time. They all know each other and have such camaraderie as their littles hug and high five.
Elementary school parents speak a different language than in preschool. There are acronyms for everything...DL, GT, IP...then there are after-school programs and volunteer calls and PTA meetings and fill out this form, now fill out this form...I can't even imagine having another kid in the mix.
Don't even get me started on the carnival funhouse that is summer camps.
At the same time I want L.E. to be independent, too. She needs to be able to make little decisions without her mom and dad hovering around. And if her parents can't be on every field trip, that makes the experience that much fun for her. Remember the excitement of being somewhere without your parents? There's a sense of freedom that comes with those experiences and no kid should be be deprived of that.
So I'm taking my baby steps of letting this guilt go. It will be slow but when I see L.E. talk about what happens when I'm not around, I can't help but feel a sense of pride. She's her own little person and I'm thrilled with who she is.
Plus, she is the funniest kid I have ever known. The best is hearing one of her friends tell me a joke she heard from my kid.
It's like she always has a piece of me with her.

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