I spend my days watching minutes. If I don’t leave the house by a certain benchmark my dreaded commute will take longer than normal. If I’m not in the Starbucks drive-through by a certain point I will be at the office later than I want – throwing my whole day off. Add in juggling three pumping sessions a day, multiple meetings, and a To’Do list that is never quite done – and I feel like my day is nothing more than small timing hurdles and lots of rushing around. And all of these logistics lead up to the most important challenge of my day – trying to arrive at my daughter’s school before at least one other parent so my kid isn’t the last one sitting in her class.
I’m not sure why the thought of being the last to pick up bothers me so much. It’s not like I’m so late that they’re turning the lights off and packing it up – I’m usually there a full half hour (or more) from closing time. At only 9 months old it’s not like my daughter is there watching the other kids going home and wondering where we are – she’s just dancing to the music in class and enjoying having the entire toy collection to herself.
But for whatever reason it just bothers me. Another sliver of guilt that chips away at my working mommy heart. Another reason to race around like crazy watching the minutes slip away and stressing myself out. Another thing I’m not good enough at. On the days my husband picks her up I have two questions: “Did she poop?” and “Was she the last one there?”
This week something has happened – something I dreaded. Her class at school has shifted kids and the ones with parents later than me are gone. Yup, every day this week I’ve been the last one to pick up. And you know what? I’m starting to be OK with it. When the other kids go home mine gets some one on one time with her sweet teachers. When I pick her up and the room is quiet her teachers have more time to talk to me about what she did that day, even sharing cute stories. In the game of daycare pickup – I’m in last place this week….and I’m finally at peace with it.
So there, I said it, I’m letting go of the guilt I’ve created for myself and will focus less on getting there before someone else – and focus more on just getting there to see my favorite face in the world.
What about you? What self-imposed stress do you place on yourself? What are the little things that are keeping you in the guilt game? What can you give up to give yourself a break?