This week I was sat with some mums whilst J and the other kids were doing their thing and the conversation turned to the fast approaching start of school. Naturally we discussed all of the prep we’re having to do and the settling in days that the kids are going through at the moment
Nursery and pre-school graduation inevitably came to the forefront of this conversation and I advised the group it was the day before we go on holiday for 2 weeks, the session is 1:30-4pm and neither my husband or I were likely to make it. I was met with gasps of shock and surprise and they were horrified that I’d miss it (hubby wasn’t mentioned – as it was apparently acceptable for him to be at work)
Despite me insisting I would be catching the last 30 minutes but not before as I can’t get out of meetings and pre-holiday work they declared that I simply HAD to go for the full 2.5 hours. I NEEDED to see the whole session and watch my daughter and 30 odd children in her school leavers group do their thing. They constantly reminded me that I wouldn’t get another opportunity to see her leave nursery and do this
I was also told that it was important that I’m present at the school gates EVERY morning to chat to the other mums and form relationships and networks with them for the sake of my child and not just dash off, especially as I’m a working mum
I instantly felt like a bad mum and really guilty for not being able to ‘be there for my child’ but as the days have passed I’ve felt angry. Why should I be made to feel like this?
I’ve been to every settling in session, I’ve been there for every single hospital appointment she’s had to go to, and every time she’s needed me I’ve been there. I’d drop everything if there was an emergency and I would be there for her. I’m going to be there to walk her proudly to her first day of school (shedding several tears on the way back) and to pick her up. I know I’m going to be there for her first sports day, her first nativity play and all of the other firsts and finals that I need to go to
I’m aware I work full time, I have complete and utter respect for stay at home mums because I just couldn’t do it. For me and my family working full time is the best thing mentally for me and them, yes it’s likely to be the last performance at nursery, but it’s not her last session – she’s not saying goodbye to her friends or the team as she’ll be there until September and we’ll do her goodbyes then
I’m not a robot, I’m not happy I’m going to miss it but I shouldn’t be made to feel even more guilty by other parents. I’m not one of those mums you see in films with their suits, briefcases and mobile phones, stood at the back of the hall waiting to get out to catch the next phone call – when I’m there I’m engaged and doing it all as best I can
My child is polite, well rounded and a happy little girl. She knows we adore her and she adores us, and so far I don’t think we’ve done a bad job but why is parenting so flipping competitive and why do people force their opinions on you?
Why do mums guilt other mums for missing some, half or even all of a performance?
Why are mums made to feel guilty for working or choosing not to work?
Why are mums made to feel guilty for the choices they make in the best interests of them and their family?
If I listed every time I was made to feel guilty or like a bad mum this post would go on forever. Surely we’re all in this together? When is the mum guilt going to stop?