It Happened…I Missed School Drop Off & Pick Up
My oldest son started Kindergarten. Actually, that’s not what created the pit in my stomach and the weepy eyes three days into the new school year. It was something else, and it was something that I’ve been dreading for a while. I knew it was bound to happen because I work full time, and the reality is that as a working Mom, you just can’t be or do everything regardless of whether or not you want to. The inevitable happened: I wasn’t able to pick up my sweet boy from his 3rd day of school. Why was I so upset? For starters, I was working off a vision I had created since I was young around the type of Mom I was going to be. That vision included me dropping off and picking up my children every day from school. It included me being there to hear the initial play-by-play from the school day as well as the lows. Through the pre-school days, I had always managed to work my schedule around, so that I could pick up my son. However, Kinder is everyday, so I knew that it just wouldn’t be possible for me to do pick up everyday. I also didn’t know if the anticipation of missing the first pick up was worse than actually missing it. When I dropped him off that morning, I had a knot in my stomach, the same kind I get when I experience situations where I know I’m not honoring myself; my truth. I left school, collected myself, drove to my meeting, and tried not to think about the anticipation of possibly missing school pick up.
Then it happened: I missed Kinder pick up. I was sitting in a meeting, and my mind was thinking about my big boy getting out of school racing into the arms of my nanny, who we adore, but…it wasn’t me. There was that knot again. What did it mean? It’s easy to say as Working Moms that everything backs into feeling guilty and, while there’s probably some truth to that, I knew there was more to it. I wasn’t just feeling guilty, I was feeling something else. I was questioning the type of Mom I was. Why? Because I had created a vision years ago that supported a rule that in order to have an intimate and close relationship with my son, I need to be super Mom and drop him off and pick him up from school every day as well as work 40+ hours a week. However, reality wasn’t allowing me to do that, so in my mind, I must not be able to have as close relationship with my son as I would like.
Have you ever come across a situation as a ‘Working Mom’ where you judged yourself for not being the type of Mom you THOUGHT you were going to be? I have ONE tip for you — and it’s a simple, powerful one — it’s called reframing. If you can hone this skill, I guarantee you, those knots and weepy eyes we all can feel from self judgment will fall to the wayside quicker then you can possibly imagine.
For me, the opportunity was around reframing how I define having a close a relationship with my oldest son, Levi. I took some time to examine what I was making it mean by not doing every drop off and pick up from school. More importantly, what the qualities were behind the actions of drop off and pick up? To me, dropping off and picking up my son represented the action of security, support, love and dependability. After identifying the qualities, the question becomes how can I incorporate them into my relationship with Levi in other ways since dropping him off and picking him up everyday isn’t always an option. Simultaneously, I had the choice to reframe how I define building a close relationship with Levi and what the qualities and actions are that support me in doing so. Instead of feeling like ‘I’m not there for him as much as I should be, or, I’m not as reliable as I should be,’ I can choose to reside in the fact that I’m doing the very best I can. I love him to bits and pieces, and it’s clear to me that he feels it. I concluded there’s really no reason for me to think otherwise. I decided it was time for me to update my vision of how I view building an intimate relationship with my son and to stop defining it by single actions like being at every drop off and pick up.
Moving forward, it looks more like this: ”I tell my son everyday I love him, I snuggle him throughout the day, I’m there to help him rebuild his lego buildings when his little brothers knock them down, I help him cook his favorite meals, I show interest in him everyday by asking him questions and making eye contact with him when he speaks, I comfort him when he’s angry, sad or frustrated, I listen to his ideas and share mine, I allow him to be messy and support his creativity and passions for art, and I take responsibility when I get frustrated at him and remind him I always love him.” Through reframing my initial thoughts around how to build a close relationship with my son, I was able to recognize that I indeed already have an extremely intimate connection and there’s no reason to feel guilty for missing drop off or pick up. As a result, I feel a lot more at peace with my role as a Mama and accepting of who I truly am. Phew!
Cheers to us amazing Mamas,
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