Parent Guilt: Ever Had It?
The guilt we feel as parents has been on our mind lately. Maybe it’s the end-of-school-year mess of a schedule that highlights those feelings. The rehearsals, concerts, recitals, parties and meetings are at a high throughout May and June.
Our goal at Work & Play is to empower parents. As parents ourselves there are a handful of things that we’ve come to realize when it comes to guilt:
Feeling guilt is inevitable.
Parenting is riddled with opportunities to feel less than and “not good at it.” Whether it’s choosing a school, a babysitter, food, friends, enrichment…there are so many ways to feel like you’re messing it up and then comes the doubt (and feelings of guilt.) However, we’ve found there’s freedom in embracing this: Feeling guilty and uncertain as a parent is inevitable. You know why? Because you care and you’re working hard on this parenting thing.
Guilt is not just for moms.
We are raising your kids in a time when moms are touted as being able to do so much while working to “balance” it all. We’re happy to see and hear more shout-outs that guilt is not just for the moms out there. Dads, grandparents, teachers, caregivers are all in the mix, too. Parenting is not meant to be done in isolation - it takes a team and, no matter what your team looks like, we share the worry and guilt. Moms, it can feel like there is a lot on you personally. Try to share it if you can.
The source of the guilt sometimes needs a check-in.
Here’s something to consider about guilt; many times, in parenting, WE are the source of those feelings. It takes some work and practice to refocus that initial feeling of guilt and worry to see the big picture. We will have missteps and times we feel like we could have done better. Like that time I was so happy to pick up my preschooler from school (that wasn’t usually what I did.) And when I pulled up, I saw all the kids in pj’s for pajama day except…my kid. Oh man. That one stung. I felt the emotion of excitement quickly dissipate into my own sadness, guilt, worry and embarrassment. To this day, it wasn’t my favorite day as a mom. But…we were ok. My kiddo doesn’t ever bring it up (he’s a teenager now) and I have had many more missteps (but way more wins!)
You can’t be everywhere, with everyone, all the time.
No matter how your days are filled, no one can be there for everyone, all the time. That means missed events will happen. You might even forget pajama day. You can try to join the parent meeting from the carpool but it’s not the best for anyone. You will doublebook or plain forget. Your calendar will be wrong and that appointment will need to be rescheduled. These are the facts, folks. And we are here to say IT IS OKAY.
You might feel bad, frustrated, near tears or angry. You may feel like you need to “make it up” to whoever you let down. Do what works for you. But please know that this happens to EVERYONE. We promise. As teachers we’ve seen a whole lot of “pulled together” parents show that they are human just like the rest of us. Thankfully!
Parents, keep at it.
You’re doing great.
You care and you try.
Need some extra support or reassurance?
Reach out to Work & Play. We get it.
Amy Mockbee & Emily Boucher
Founders, Work & Play ECC