Of all the days, Tuesdays may just be my favorite. Why? Because Tuesdays are my kindergarten days. At least they were this year. In this season.
Every Tuesday morning holds the same routine. I drop the kids off at their respective schools. I head back to Mary Grace’s class. I sit criss-cross-applesauce on the floor of her bright, sunshiney kindergarteny classroom, and I listen. I listen to one enthusiastic new reader after another. I help them sound out, decode, retell, and chunk. Chunking is a thing these days. I’m pretty sure I never chunked a single word in kindergarten.
I listen to rambling stories about new baby sisters and trips to the beach and mommy’s job that makes her work all night long.
I marvel at the magical way a kindergarten teacher can maintain control over a classroom of twentysome five and six year olds while I feel a small bit guilty that I can hardly gain control over my own three children. Teachers, y’all.
This season of my life has afforded me some newfound leeway in my schedule and margin in my life. Without a baby on my hip, a toddler running amuck, and a job demanding my presence, I’m simply available to help in a way that has never before been feasible.
The truth is that this has been a hefty source of guilt for me in years past. I saw other moms at school reading, volunteering, and doing all the things moms do at schools, and I saw myself as a failure. I had a white-knuckle grip on my idolized version of motherhood- of this image of a supermom who did it all without breaking a sweat, and the thought of surrender felt like an epic loss.
Maybe you’re in that boat. Maybe you’re feeling the mom guilt creep in, and you’re believing the lies that you’re not “mom enough.” You see those bake sale sign-ups, but there is just. no. time. Or another field trip comes and goes without you as a chaperone. Or it’s Tuesday, and you feel that twinge of guilt when your child casually mentions, “So, Mary Grace’s mom read with me today.”
If that’s you, listen. Sure, I’m helping your sweet kid sound out words. But you? You’re filling MY kid’s prescriptions. You’re writing MY kid’s books. You’re preparing MY kid’s Happy Meals. Stocking the shelves at Target so that MY kids are clothed. And fed. And entertained. For life.
Or maybe you’re not doing one single thing that benefits my child. Maybe you’re plugging away at a thankless job to put food on your children’s table. Maybe you’re knee-deep in the Two Year Olds Gone Wild stage, and you’re just barely surviving. Maybe you adore your job, and you’re working there out of a deep sense of calling and purpose. That’s awesome. Keep plugging.
Because you know what? I was just at school, and the kids are okay. Really. And you know what I have learned over the past few years? It takes a village. An army. And when I head back to work someday soon, I’m sure as heck going to need that army.
So, this is me, waving the white flag. Because I’m done. Done with the mom guilt. Done with that whole “I’m such a failure” nonsense. I’m over it.
Rather, I’m choosing to be happy that there are people in seasons and with schedules that allow them to be in my kids’ classrooms when I cannot. That there are people who are SO VERY EXCITED about running the PTA, when I am SO VERY CERTAIN that I just need to stay in my lane. And that PTA leadership is on the whole other side of the track. I am going to take joy in seeing parents doing their thing with excellence and joy, whatever that thing is.
Parents, let’s be kind to one another. Let’s drop the judgey attitudes and just realize that everyone’s reality looks different. Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt and trust that we’re all just doing the best we can. Let’s pick up where the other parent left off because, quite honestly, we’re all just in this together.
Finally, let’s be kind to ourselves, recognizing that the whole “supermom” deal is a straight-up myth. Let’s recognize that life happens in seasons and that every season will look different. There may be years of kindergarten Tuesdays, and there may be years of head-down, get ‘er done office work. And both are good.
Perhaps, the very best gift we can give our kids is helping them understand that we can’t be everything to them and for them after all. And then, from there, pointing them to the only One who can.