Wednesday, March 17, 2010

mother's guilt

Mother's guilt has swept over me this evening. Tomorrow it will have passed (I'm hoping). 2010 is the first year both my boys are at school. Both boys came home this afternoon with their 'parent helper' notice for term 2. Here is my issue. A small one at that but significant to the point it has bothered me this evening.

I'm one of those mums who likes to contribute to the school community. While they attended kindergarten for four years I had my stint on the parent committee. Personally I feel I get alot out of my involvement in contributing to the kindergarten and school communities, my assistance in some small way contributes to the bigger picture. The boys love mum being there to help.

Since starting uni again only 3 weeks ago, I've quickly realised and accepted the fact I can't be a yes person to everything these days, that is if I want to study, do well and pass. Already life is busy, family commitments, work commitments, writing commitments and now study. The time has come in my life where I need to think before I say yes. In the past I willingly said yes to plenty and along the way caused myself and the family unnecessary stress. Had I considered more thoughtfully what I was saying yes to, life at times could have been less stressful for us all I'm sure.

I've allowed myself to accept that from now on I will on occasion say no to a coffee with friends, no to a night out and no to some of the requests for parent help at the school. I've said yes to cutting fruit for the preps morning tea. I've said yes to contributing and assisting with the compiling of the school yearbook. I can't say yes to being a parent helper in both the boys grades. Even if it is only once a week, once a fortnight or once a month. Time moves fast these days, the week moves fast, the term is over before we know it.

Tonight I've made the somewhat hard call of saying no to helping in my big boy's grade 2 class for term 2. I'm feeling uncomfortable with my decision. I feel I am letting him down. But I realise I can't do it. I feel it is fair that I offer to assist with my younger boy's class, this is his first year at school. I did the same for my oldest when he was in prep. I always feel such a need to treat them equally, this decision is a first for me. An occasion where I am giving to one and not the other. I know I'll be asked why aren't I helping in the grade 2 class. This mum isn't superwoman and can't say yes to everything these days, I am sure left feeling guilty with my decision.


  1. I can so relate. I am torn between my three children and the expectation to volunteer for all of them. Superwomen feel guilty, it goes with the superpower.

  2. Yeah I can stick my hand up for this one too. I only have one 'day off' where I could help out but there are so many things to get down and it's my only day where I can truely focus on my business, so I just can't justify it. I am hoping once they are all in school I will be able to help in some way. Mother's guilt indeed.

  3. Isn't the guilt factor such a struggle? I feel guilty over so many things, especially saying no to people or taking time out for myself. But the bottom line is, I need to, or else I become no use to myself or my family. I think that maintaining our sense of self and our sanity is the priority and if we do that we end up being better individuals, mothers, partners, friends etc. Now, all I have to do is keep reminding myself of this......! X Bel

  4. Ladies, I seek alot of comfort in knowing many of us struggle with the same feelings x.

  5. My youngest started school this year, so I now have three children at school (NSW kindergarten, yr 3 and yr 5). I have also started back at uni this year and am trying to get a freelance writing career up and running. So many demands, so little time.

    I am helping with each of my children's classes once a week and trying to get to special extra days where possible, especially with the youngest. I am not getting involved in any other long term or regular school commitments though. I'm choosing to keep it simple. Class commitments take up 30 min three times each week, but there is no other time commitments outside of that - no meetings, preparation work etc.

    I used to feel guilty that I wasn't able to get involved in more things, but a wake-up call health wise last year helped me to put things in perspective. I do what I can, and I leave the rest.

    Choose what works best for you. If not going to reading groups means you can get your other work done and be less stressed when your kids are home from school then you are making the right choice.


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