We’ve all seen it or heard it – the “horror” of a parent who was late picking up the kids.
“How could she possibly forget her kids?”
“That is horribly irresponsible!”
“She must not love her children very much.”
And my favorite of all… “I would NEVER do that!”
Well, I did…
Shortly after returning to work, I left work early on a Friday afternoon because I was not feeling well. It was right after lunch so I didn’t think to set an alarm. I figured there was no way I would sleep longer than an hour and would have plenty of time to get the kids.
Well, 5 hours later, I woke up to a series of frantic phone calls from school, day care, and all of my emergency contacts. Obviously, I vastly underestimated the amount of sleep I needed.
As I drove to pick up my children, I was going back and forth between being incredibly angry at myself and absolutely bawling because my babies would think I forgot them. It was hard enough to leave them each day for work, but now I didn’t even pick them up. There was plenty of messy crying going on in that drive.
When I arrived, I was so concerned about reassuring my children that I almost (almost) missed the condescending looks staff were giving me. In hind sight, I probably should have apologized much more profusely, but I was busy seeing to my children first. I could apologize later – I needed to hug my children NOW.
For weeks, I felt continued pangs of guilt. Especially when my young children asked, “Will you pick us up tonight?” This was at least five years ago, and I still feel awful every time I think about it.
Fast forward, and my children are just fine. They barely remember the incident and it certainly has not scarred them for life.
Two days after this occurred, a Facebook friend launched a rant about someone who had “forgotten” their child at day care. (Thankfully, she lived in a different town so it was not me.) This poor parent was obviously “neglectful” and “couldn’t love her child.” They “deserved to be turned into social services.”
Three days before this, I would have chimed in to agree. Now, I knew better.
At the time, I couldn’t bring myself to comment on this. I was still stunned by my own actions and couldn’t bring myself to admit this to anyone.
There may very well be some comments made about this situation now that I have admitted it. This time, however, I can speak up.
Because I am a mom who does my very best every day. I juggle all the pieces of my life so that my children get what they need and maybe even a little bit of what they want. My life is not perfect and I will never be the perfect parent. I may even “forget” my children somewhere again.
But this time, I will know, without a single doubt, that my children know that I love them. Despite my mistakes, despite my shortcomings, despite my scolding… I love them.
So, moms, if you “forget” to pick up the kids, or are late, or don’t turn the field trip paper in on time, or whatever the latest parenting fail is, know that I WILL speak up for you on Facebook (or wherever else.) I will support you and the daily struggle we all have to be the very best parent we can be.
Now, I need to go pick up my kids… 🙂