Today I am tired. I am tired because I couldn’t sleep last night. The reason I couldn’t sleep last night was because I had a huge case of Mom Guilt! Mom guilt brought on by the fact that I let her down. I let my daughter down, and I didn’t even know it! How Did That Happen?
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, but it was also Wednesday for me. Wednesday is a crazy day in my weekly schedule. You can see what I mean by reading about a typical Wednesday in my life from when I was feature by my friend and fellow mom blogger, the hysterical Nadia from Non Adventures Of A SAHM! It’s hectic.
We didn’t have time to go home from school for lunch. Instead we ate lunch in the car park waiting for Art Club to start. Then I had to race my youngest across town to her dancing lessons, and get back again to fetch the eldest. It was 16.30 by the time we got home. I got busy making dinner, checking homework books, cleaning out lunch boxes, feeding the cats etc. Normal mom chores.
My eldest kept coming to me, asking for a box, then a ribbon, then how do you spell this, and where are her stickers. The persistent requests for this and that were becoming quite irritating, and I was irritated. I kept asking her, “Why do you want that? What’s it for?”, but she didn’t answer me. She just kept running off to finish whatever it was she was working on. I was busy so I left her to it.
Eventually it was bedtime and I noticed the box she’d made and shoved under her bed. I didn’t think anything of it and just left it there to deal with in the morning when I cleaned the house.
The Gut Punch
Then at 09.30pm I checked back over the Whatsapp messages that the teacher had sent out. I’d had a cursory glance at them in between running from dancing to art club. When I saw that it was nothing important, just a few pictures of the class valentine’s activities, I had ignored it until I could spare the time to look at it.
That time came around at 09.30pm, and in that moment I realised what had been going on all afternoon. One of the pictures the teacher sent out was of the gifts that some of the children had given to her for Valentine’s Day. One of the gifts was a handmade box of ‘stuff’ from one of the kids.
I actually felt sick. Not only had I not organised a Valentine’s gift for her to give her teacher when more than half the class had, but I had also not helped her when she was trying to make it up to her teacher … on her own. I had let her down, and I hadn’t even realised it! Why didn’t she tell me? How did I not know?
“In My Defence …”
I do have one, however lame it is!
Firstly, I didn’t know that kids give teachers gifts on Valentine’s day. It’s been thirty years since I was in Grade One! I forgot that this is the sort of thing that kids do – take their teachers gifts! Most of the kids who did take gifts had older siblings so this is something they/their parents know about, but I didn’t.
Secondly, if she had told me that she didn’t have a gift for her teacher when some of the other kids did then I would have helped her make something that afternoon. I would not have ignored her requests, or pushed them aside. I would have prioritised it as important to her.
But I didn’t know.
My Apology To Her
This morning I apologised to her for not helping her with her gift for her teacher. I told her that she needs to tell me what she’s doing and why she’s doing it, because if she doesn’t tell me then I won’t know. If I don’t know then I can’t help her.
Luckily my husband had bought me a box of chocolates for Valentines day and luckily, I hadn’t scoffed them all the night before. (I’d scoffed the ones I bought him instead! Shhh…)
I told her that she could give them to her teacher as a gift and I helped her to wrap the box. She was happy with that and excited to give it to her teacher. I also apologised to her teacher and gave her the head’s up on what had happened.
I also apologised to my daughter for the fact that I didn’t know in advance. I explained to her that it is also MY first time as a Grade One mom, and I’m also just learning these things so she needs to help me as much as I can help her. We’re a team.
Grade One Is Hard
Having spoken to a few other moms this week, I suppose I can cut myself a little slack because we’re all struggling to adjust to the new demands, routine and needs of our kids. It’s not just me, and it’s not just my daughter. The kids are struggling, and a few of them are acting out at home. The parents are also struggling, and I am not the only one who has ‘dropped the ball’. None of us are perfect. None!
I guess to put it into perspective, it was just an optional gift for the teacher. It’s not even about the gift, and she’s not the only one who didn’t give one. And I’m not the only mom who didn’t know, the only one who let their child down, dropped the ball.
The point is that I know my child and I know how she must have felt inside. I hope that today is a better day for her, and it’s certainly a lesson learnt for me.
Isn’t that what motherhood is about though? The fact that no matter what stage we’re at in our mothering journey, we are constantly learning!
My question to any other Grade One moms reading this, “How are YOU coping? How is your child coping?”
It’s tough out there. Stay strong mammas, we’ll get through this eventually. This isn’t the first time I’ve let her down, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
No matter how hard we try, none of us are perfect. What makes us good moms is that we never stop trying.