I consider myself to be a pretty involved mom. I read with my kids. We bake cookies. We go to the park. We make pictures and write journals. We snuggle a lot. However, because of my work schedule there are certain things I do not do. I rarely drop my kids off or pick them up from school. I don’t volunteer in their classrooms or chaperone field trips. To the other parents at school and to my kids’ teachers I may as well be an absentee mom, but that all changes at the end of the year. It’s public parenting season, folks!
I have all these pieces of time blocked off on my calendar: my daughter’s gymnastics show, my son’s concert, an end of school picnic. For a few days I will be making celebrity appearances as my kids’ mom. Cue the gawkers! Alert the paparazzi!
My daughter’s teacher called to encourage me to go to their picnic. She emphasized how much it would mean to my daughter if I came. I already told my boss I’d be off that morning, but how would the teacher know that I would do that? She’s only met me a handful of times.
At these events there will be the awkwardness of having other parents, who I may have only met once or twice before if at all, regaling me with stories about my own children. They know my kids from class or field trips or after school playground time. These parents will introduce (or re-introduce) themselves by stating whose mom or dad they are. Perhaps I will recognize the child’s name from something on of my kids has said. Perhaps not.
I do sometimes wish I were able to be more involved at my kids’ school. That’s just not my life right now. I am grateful though that I have the flexibility to attend these few chosen events.
I go to these (and there have been a few others during the year) because despite my general lack of presence I do like to support my kids at school and see what they do there. I am a sucker for kindergartners singing out of tune (as long as one is my kindergartner). I love to watch preschoolers do relay races (as long as one is my preschooler).
Do other parents wonder about me? Do they judge me for not being at school more? Maybe. I don’t really care. The only people who I care if they think I’m a good mom are my kids and my husband. Based on all the love notes and pictures I have around my desk at work I think I’m doing okay, even if I’m mostly doing it on evenings and weekends.
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