Last November, my daughter’s teacher sent out photographs of the Kindergarten Thanksgiving party. Little kids with cornucopias eating treats. I couldn’t look at the photos. I couldn’t bear it.
Mommy Guilt used to ache in my heart. Aching sadness about missing great expanses of my children’s lives. Regret for the haphazard rush of our lives. It was a cost of our dual-income life.
On Wednesday, I picked the kids up late from after-school care — just before 6 p.m. I had a 4 p.m. coaching client downtown and traffic was bad. I knew my 5 year old was going to be disappointed that I was so late, and getting dinner started at 6 o’clock with two hungry, tired kids is a drag, and the whole evening was going to be a rush.
As I walked toward the KidsCo doors late on Wednesday and could see my kids’ little heads bopping about inside, the Mommy Guilt kicked in.
And then I remembered that I had volunteered in the kids’ school on Tuesday and spent the rest of the day with my kids, and that I would be doing the same thing on Thursday. And doing the same thing the next week. And the week after.
I could feel the guilt lifting off my broad shoulders and dropping aside with a crash into the night.
This Thanksgiving, maybe I’ll be the parent taking photographs at the school party.