First ride on the bus to school
I received the following note from a friend and even though my first child started school a long time ago, this brought back memories. How are you first time parents doing?
This is for all of the women who suffer the horrible guilt of a working mother. You are the one who loves your job (most days), but wish you could spend more time with your child. Somehow, simultaneously, you know that despite the fact that you love your child more than life itself, you realize that being employed is best for both of you. You are the one who might leave day care with tears in your eyes, especially those days when your child decides to say “no Mama, don’t leave” (even though they are perfectly fine 5 minutes later). Or maybe you are stoic, but the feelings of regret are there most days. However your emotions manifest themselves, this one is for you.
Last week, 5 years of stress and guilt culminated in a grand finale that was one of the sweetest days of my life. Last week, my 5 year old started kindergarten and I, like other mothers, worried about what might happen. Would she be okay? Would she cry? What if she refused to get on the bus? Oh…that dreaded bus. What if she had a meltdown at school and they had to call me to pick her up? Well, let me tell you she was fine. She was more than fine. She was proud, she was confident, she was excited and most of all, she was happy….all of the things I’ve ever wanted for her.
Now, I’m not saying that if I had been a “stay at home mom”, that day wouldn’t have played out exactly the same way. Some may say that I am making excuses to make myself feel better. Both may be true, but I know my child well and there is no better feeling than looking into her eyes and knowing that she is happy, excited and ready to leap into the next phase of her life. While I know my husband and I have helped her along the way, I now know that the lessons that she learned at day care about interacting and socializing with other children and adults have been invaluable.
As I watched her step up onto the bus beaming at her crazy parents with both video and still cameras, for a few minutes, that horrible mother’s guilt was lifted. It was a great feeling while it lasted. So when that pang hits you as you leave the day care, know that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.