It’s so easy to feel parent guilt. I processed the initial guilt of going back to work after my sweet boys were born. I faced a new hurdle last week when I was “late” to pick up our toddler from day camp.
Although I arrived for pick-up in camp hours, it was an hour later than usual. I hadn’t told my toddler who immediately asked, “Why are you so late?” Other parents gave me kind and knowing looks.
I played it cool, but still felt terrible the next day. I confided my dilemma with the wise JCYS (Jewish Council for Youth Services, who do not endorse me or give me any tuition deals, but truly are amazing) Director Debbie Porter who has already taught me so much.
Debbie told me to say to my toddler, “I’m here now.” She urged me to “let it go.” She sincerely said I’m a good parent who is the best I can be when we’re together. She reminded me that our boys need to know we can’t respond to their every whim. There are times when parents need to be late.
As soon as I talked to Debbie, I felt better (as usual). I love their philosophy. She’s absolutely right and doesn't judge. And, kids, like everyone, can use guilt to manipulate us.
Parent guilt is beyond ugly. It can be self-destructive and paralyze you. At the very least, it's exhausting and in most cases unnecessary. For example, I blamed irrationally myself for our toddler's speech delay (see my Scary Mommy post).
There's no question, parents are accountable to their children and should strive to do their best and keep their kids safe. That being said, it's not fair to yourself to self-doubt and over-think everything. That doesn't allow you to be your best for yourself.
I’m learning to embrace my worlds colliding. I’m able to travel for work thanks to my husband, family and awesome babysitters we trust. It makes me giggle how our toddler is intrigued with my work.
Our toddlers are proud both parents try their best and work to do even better. When he reminded me a day later that I was "late" I calmly resisted a parent guilt trip.
We focus on quality time, right? Happy Mama, happy family... We all do our best, let's try to conserve energy without guilt! Huffington Post dives deeper into parent guilt and how our memories and perception even distort what actually happened.
Thank you, again, to JCYS and our entire village who help us wrestle the jungle gym of parenting.