My baby started school on Thursday. And I kind of felt like I'd been hit by a truck. It's hard to let them grow up. And yes, when she's starting high school or college and I remember how gutted I felt when she left for JK I'm sure I'll laugh at my folly, but for now, it's HARD.
Change is HARD. That's the word that keeps presenting itself to me as I live this. It's HARD. And I feel guilty about that because I know that there are other things out there that are harder. I've lived things that are harder. And I'm proud of her too. But I'm also worried. And the fact that I'm finding this hard? Well, I'm feeling pretty guilty about that.
Maybe I'm supposed to feel guilty? Is parenthood designed to make you feel guilty?
Don't answer that. There is no right answer. Just slide a coffee under the door and back away.
One of the reasons I'm finding my reaction to this interesting is because when Lenny was a pre-schooler I had no guilt in doing a lot of the things that new moms are told to feel guilty about. Formula feeding? Check. Screen time? Check. Leaving her behind so I could take a trip alone when she was 4 months old? Check. I knew that I was doing what was right for us and I knew that she was happy. Who cares what anyone else thinks? I'm feeling the guilt now, I think, in part because so much of this is out of my control. Maybe? I'm not sure. AND EVEN THAT IS MAKING ME FEEL GUILTY.
Other things making me feel guilty in no particular order:
- The consumption or non consumption of her breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- The amount and quality of her sleep.
- The state of her hair. Is it too messy? Will she be able to focus if it's in her eyes?
- Did I use my time while she was away wisely? (Cue a secondary list of guilty feelings around my work life here).
- Not enjoying every moment with her when she is home. Suddenly, it's like I can't find her annoying, even if she's legit annoying because she's away for 5 hours a day? That makes no sense, MAN!
- Why is my house so messy? Why won't she put her toys away? How many ways have I failed her because she isn't motivated to put her toys away?
- ...and the number one thing making me feel guilty right now...MY GUILT. Hashtag stupid mom guilt is stupid.
Now would be the appropriate time for me to write some manifesto about how I'm not going to let the mom guilt get me down. About how I'm invested in my work life and my friendships and how important "me time" is. The thing is, I'm not in that place yet. I'm still trying to navigate this new phase. I'm now a WAHM with a kid in full time school and the most important thing is making sure that she's secure and thriving.
And by the way, it's only day 3. I'm going to try and let go of the guilt for now and just ride the wave of change. I mean, I'm not going to, but I'm going to try and at least that's a start.