In Family Life/ Lindsay

Mom Guilt, gut instincts and the joy of moisturizing

Processed with VSCO with s2 presetI’m writting this post from the cafe at my gym – my hair is blown dry, my face is moisturized having just had a steam in the steam room and I slathered it with creams.  I sit here, relishing in this moment of feeling like a normal human being – (slightly) put together and decent. I come here not necessarily to work out – although I do – working out is a way to zone out for a bit, burn off some steam, and then I enjoy the luxury of the time of being able to shower, steam and blow dry my hair after dropping Oscar off at school in the morning.

Mornings are different these days. I’m gently coaxing Oscar out the door (ok, sometimes dragging him as he’s not a morning person) about an hour earlier while the sun is still rising and my hair is thrown up in a messy top knot and my eyes still blurry from the night. I’m not a morning person either. This year the mornings have started earlier, as we’ve switched Oscar to a new school.

I’ve eluded to the new school, but haven’t really explained it. There really isn’t a huge story, but basically last year my instincts were telling me something wasn’t working at our local school. The class sizes were huge. He didn’t want to go every. single. morning.  For 1.5 years it wasn’t clear what was going on. Should I be doing “tough love” and pushing him into class, which seemed to upset him and make it worse? It didn’t feel right. Every morning the teacher would pull him into the door. As time went on, it dawned on me that it wasn’t Oscar that should be changing, we should be changing schools.  The school wasn’t good for Oscar. So, we researched schools, found one we loved, and enrolled Oscar. Oscar has become a different kid when it comes to school. He tells me about “best friends”, he learns cool stuff, he’s confident in telling me about his day and plus, his teacher is AMAZING. Oscar is a totally happy kid now. So it goes to show you – sometimes your kid just needs a different environment to thrive. Schools aren’t one size fits all, which unfortunately is the way that it’s designed.

Being a Mom, you try to absorb all the stresses and anxieties that your little ones have, to rid them of that feeling – you want to be the rock, the stable one, so that they know you have their back and that they can run wild and you’re there in the background if they should need you. I try to do that for Oscar, especially in the mornings for the last few months, in order for him to feel happy and calm going into class. But a few weeks ago Aubrey got a ticket on the way to school (ugh), so we were running late, I was thrown off my game and I snapped at Oscar as we were getting out of the car and he was tearful getting into class. I broke my calm-cool-demeanor and got angry when he didn’t deserve it. I got him into class, but I burst into tears in the car after. I try to be super on-my-game for everything and then when you deviate from that patient Mom, you instantly feel like a failure. Which I know I’m not. But man, oh man. Mom guilt. And I realized the switch in schools was likely more stressful for ME than it was for him, because I was trying to prepare for every single situation that could go wrong (but didn’t) and I was metaphorically clenching my fists each and every day, trying to prepare for a potential distraught child. But it hasn’t happened – other than a few tearful mornings. But I now know it’s something that is just Oscar, and he’ll grow out of it in his own time. So I’m learning to relax.

Although I know the world will throw new stuff at us as parents as we move along – hopefully we’ll continue to listen to our gut feelings and make good decisions. I know there will be tearful nights as we debate if you’re doing the right thing for your child, and family. But then you do, it’s a success and you move on.

Ah, so I’ve rambled. Back to the original style of blogging – yes? And so I sit, taking a deep breath feeling at peace for the first time in awhile. My child is happy. He’s thriving. Everyone is happy, healthy and I managed to blow dry my hair and moisturize this morning. xo

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  • Reply
    October 28, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    This really struck a chord as we are struggling with something similar, we need to change our little one’s environment. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      Lindsay Stephenson
      October 29, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Listen to your instincts and trust that it will all work out! Sending positive vibes your way. Also share your feelings with friends + family. I was so reluctant to voice my concerns because when all your friends are at the same school you do worry that you’re saying the school is bad – but in our case it was just not a fit for OUR kid. I was surprised by how supportive my girlfriends were and knew how stressful the years had been, so do open up as many of them may know solutions or, can at least be some support.

  • Reply
    Christine C
    October 28, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    I really liked this post and kinda miss these kind of posts from you! Sometimes it’s important to remember that you are your child’s advocate and you need to go with your instincts. What’s best for your kid is important, but so is the overall health of your family. As for mom guilt – aren’t we all going through it at some point during the day. It’s always nice to know that you aren’t alone.

    • Reply
      Lindsay Stephenson
      October 29, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      Thank you for the lovely comment. I think because so much was up in the air for almost two years, it was hard to put “pen to paper” and articulate anything. It was only sitting in the restaurant that morning after working out and I happened to have brought my laptop to do work- that I had an opportunity to reflect. Thank you truly for your nice comment, it’s nice to just hear the “voices” of other Mom’s when you need it. xo

  • Reply
    Lesley P.
    October 28, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    We did the same for our little guy in July. The preschool that worked for our daughter wasn’t at all a good fit for him. I ignored my guy instinct for months, and when we finally made the switch… Our boy was back and thriving too. I’m so happy to hear that Oscar is doing great. Happy new school!

    • Reply
      Lindsay Stephenson
      October 29, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      Funny how I just assumed schools, preschools etc. were all somewhat the same and then you have a kid and realize BAM! they are each unique little beings. 😉 Three cheers for figuring out solutions. xo to you .

  • Reply
    Barbara Matson
    November 4, 2016 at 9:49 am

    As a teacher myself, it goes to show how large class sizes just don’t work! Argh, if only the powers that be could see that. When you have a large class, the teacher just can’t address and meet the needs of each student. But even despite that, as a mom, sometimes if you just feel things aren’t right, it is best to just follow your gut. But you also can’t always try to make sure nothing goes wrong and avoid tears, kids need to learn how to fall and pick themselves up for a strong EQ. I find as a teacher so many parents try bulldoze and make things easy for their children that they aren’t able to deal with failure and to learn how to pick themselves up and try again. But you seem to have a wonderful relationship with Oscar and a loving and nurturing home that is so important to his academic and schooling success!

    • Reply
      Lindsay Stephenson
      November 4, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      I love hearing your input because you are in the thick of it. These large classes are SO HARD on so many people. It drives me bananas. I was terribly sympathetic to the teacher because I saw how many kids (30!) she had to deal with in the class and I knew that there was no way, absolutely no way, I could ask of her of what I knew Oscar needed. At the same time, as I reflect, the public school system could totally implement some helpful measures to help everyone out. I’m pretty hands off when it comes to it all, Oscar has to respect the decisions and rules of the teacher, he has to make an effort in school (a non-negotiable) but what was missing in his last school was any feeling of trust between him and the staff, so I couldn’t say – “they have your back, don’t worry” because they didn’t have time to have his back. And not that he NEEDED anyone to have his back, but it was the sense of security that helps kids flourish. I don’t have a solution, obviously smaller class sizes would be the best case scenario for everyone involved because thirty kids in a class is no good. For the teacher, for the kids. Thanks Barb for throwing your input in. I don’t know how you teachers do it with so many kids (and parents that come along for the ride!) LOL!

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