I was always perfectly behaved, as in when my friends were cutting class, I was taking calculus. I never went to the principal's office. Like Never.Recently, one of my kids started acting up in camp. And after a few quick chats at drop off, the principal kindly invited me and my husband to come in for a meeting. Nothing major, but it's a great camp so they are on top of things. I had that walk of shame that I can only imagine a timid nervous little kid feels when s/he's on the way to the office. We sat awkwardly and listened to the list of things my son did, while I let this mantra run through my head: "Kids are cuter with personality, a little mischief is normal"
But these deep bad thoughts kept popping up. I wanted to take the blame. "I know why he's acting like that, I'm not there for pick up". Or "he's acting out because I'm working more" or "he misses me and I need to be there for him right after camp to talk about his day, it can't wait until he gets home".
I like watching TV, it's my time to zone out. I get super involved in what I'm watching. And sometimes, I notice that the topics they are featuring coincide with my life. I was watching house of cards (trashy, I know...) and the chief-of-staff was blaming herself for her son being rejected from Stamford because she worked so much and was never home to help him. I felt guilty and nervous that I was doing the same.
I remember talking to a full-time working mom. She said she was home just in time to read a book and put her kids to bed. She was proud of her time with her kids because it was rich with love and emotion. There were no distractions and her daughter loved their time. The time she had with her kids, in a way is much more than 2 hours of time spent half-way "present".
As moms, we all know it's about quality and not quantity. So as I struggle with these "bad thoughts", I know that they are not real. My son isn't acting out because he needs more of my time. He will be proud of me and know he can be or do whatever he wants because he sees me doing that. And my love for my kids is not any less, and I know how to fully focus on my kids when I come home because I am fulfilled and content after a day's work.
(Photo by Me & My Camera ~ Chaya Rockford)