We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
Let’s chat about two words, that if you are a parent, you have experienced at one point or another in your life – Mom (or Dad) Guilt. I never knew what guilt really was until I had kids. I often walk around feeling like damned if you do and damned if you don’t when it comes to making decisions for the kids. It can be tough to not only make decisions about their lives, but to also know you 100% made the right decision.
From the time a woman is pregnant, she is faced with many decisions she has to make for her unborn child(ren) and thus, begins the cycle of Mom Guilt. I was working full-time when I got pregnant with the twins and when we started telling others the good news, I started to experience my first round of Mom Guilt. I was asked sooo many questions when we announced the awesome news. Was I going to work during my pregnancy? Was I sure that was safe for my delicate situation, you know, since it was twins? What about after the kids were born, would I breastfeed? Would I go back to work? Who would watch the twins? Cloth or disposable? Sleep train, cry it out, co-sleep….? The questions we faced were unending. Depending on who I spoke to, some of our answers were the “right” ones and others would lead me down a path of guilt and questioning if what I really thought was right was actually right for us. I never truly learned to question my judgement and feel guilty about choices I had or had not made until I became a parent.
I felt guilty when I couldn’t keep my prenatal vitamins in and questioned were the kids getting enough nutrition? I felt guilty when the kids came so early and questioned myself was there something else I could have done? I felt guilty they needed formula when my body gave up producing milk. I felt guilty every moment that I was not at the NICU and I felt the most guilty when we were able to take Zane home and Ella was not yet ready. I felt guilty when I went back to work three months after they came home. The list goes on and on as I am sure most parents who want the best life for their kids can attest to.
Sometime last year when the kids were four we realized we were behind the eight ball and did not have the kids on any waiting lists for Kindergarten. We did not know that Kindergarten and schools are not the same as when we grew up in our little hometowns in Iowa and Michigan. Some kids had been on lists since they were born and kids no longer just automatically attend their neighborhood schools. What in the world?! So crazy to me. We also learned that Kindergarten is not required in Colorado and the age cut-off is all over the board and different at each district or school. Mom Guilt set in and I asked myself how did I not know this was a thing? Why did I not put them on lists when they were just conceived and called Baby A and Baby B?! I hear ya, the sane part of my brain hears ya, too. However, Mom Guilt does crazy things to one’s logical and rational thinking.
We had two big decisions to make: Were they were ready for Kindergarten and where should they go if they were ready?
We agonized over this decision for a long time, but in the meantime decided we better start wait listing it up!
One option was the Montessori school they were going to, but they only had one classroom and for our twins that would not have worked. They need to be in separate classrooms for them to thrive. Zane will talk for Ella and she will be his little mother, if we let them. We put them on sooo many different lists in our city and then researched each and every one of them best we could. We spoke to any parent or educator we could along the way and agonized over was this the right call for our kids? Was one ready and the other not? Were they ready academically? Socially? Were we ready? What was the best school to send them to?
This process was tough and we desperately wanted to make the right decision for the kids. As any parent knows, there is not a handbook to help you make decisions about your kid’s lives and often the answer is not clear cut. Ultimately, we decided that the best decision for them was to send them to Kindergarten and we chose a school. I wish I could tell you that is where the Mom Guilt ended, but dear parent, you know that is not the case.
Going to Meet the Teacher Night, first day of school, Back to School Night…. I felt guilty for one reason or another at the events. I still wondered if we were still making the right choice. Were they too young, too small, not ready??! Argh. Seriously Mom Guilt, back off!
I have to remind myself that we made the best, educated decision we could with their best interests in mind. What is right for one child and family may not be right for us and that is okay. My little preemies are strong and have thrived every day of their lives thanks to the support system we have built around them. No matter what they need on their new journey in school, it will all be okay. So back off, Mom Guilt, I got this one.