I experienced a huge “mom-guilt trip” the other day. Our 7yo (Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism Spectrum) (J) and 5yo(A) both had a field trip to a community theater production. At the same time. On the same day. Hubs couldn’t chaperone, but I could, so I did. And I went A’s Kindergarten class, instead of our son’s first grade class(even though he sometimes needs some “extra supervision” and his class needed more chaperones). Awful, I know.
So, to complicate matters, we didn’t tell either child that I was going. I was trying to be “sneaky” since their classrooms are right next door to each other (again, awful, I know). Since half of the school was going on this trip, I was 85% sure that my presence would be undetected by J. And then it came time to stand in line for the bus.
As fate would have it, A’s class was right behind J’s class. Talk about stealth. When A spotted her brother, her overly-excited self attempted to get his attention. I shushed her, and tried to explain that my presence was “hush-hush”. I was so focused on my “secret plan” that I even contemplated ducking down (behind Kindergarteners… that’s how low I was willing to sink that day); but I also believe in honesty, so I figured that if he saw me, he saw me. He was going to find out I was there after he came home from school anyway.
We stood there waiting for a few minutes, and I watched J turn around. He saw me, but he didn’t recognize me. Phew! I was thankful, but puzzled (this kid’s memory is amazing…and so is his attention to detail…but, we were in a crowd…) until he turned around again and did another sweep. He saw me this time. Shame-faced and all. When I told A that he had spotted me, she said, “Well Mommy you should have hid behind me!” Great minds, right??
An enormous wave of guilt washed over me then. Here I was, on a field trip with a child who I knew would listen and behave. One that wouldn’t need to be shushed multiple times, one who wouldn’t scream for no reason. And here was J, so excited to see me on his class’s field trip. Of course, we ended up on the same bus together, so I had to explain to him that I was there with A’s class, for her, and that meant that I couldn’t sit with him. Mom of the year, right here. Gradually trying to let down one kid so that I could spend time with another kid.
The entire performance I was nervous. Worried. J’s teacher had already expressed concern about his potential negative behavior on the trip, which kind of made me think that I should have just stayed home with him. After an hour, the show was over and we returned to our buses and eventually the school. And you know what? J had been fine the entire time. As close to “well-behaved” as a 7yo with special needs on a field trip could be. And a few weeks later, I eventually forgave myself… because being a mom to any child isn’t easy.
What’s your Mom Guilt Moment?