Last week my daughter started Kindergarten, and I had written out a 3 page to-do list. I had planned out my schedule of all the things I was going to do, from learning German, to cleaning my house, making dinner every day and writing 3 more books. However I was so nervous about this new beginning I hadn’t got very far on my list.
This morning after dropping my daughter off, I finally felt like I could relax. This was the 7th day she had gone to Kindergarten, happy and excited. I finally trusted that she was safe there, and enjoying herself. And I went onto my balcony and curled up with Listen, the book about Hand in Hand Parenting by Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore. And I wondered why I was feeling guilty.
My head was full of shoulds. I should tidy up the house before my daughter’s birthday party this weekend. I should prepare everything before we go out to the parent’s evening tonight. But instead I was reading this wonderful book, listening to the wind rustling in the trees, and looking at the sunshine. I felt guilty, but then I became aware of my body. I noticed how nervous and tense my muscles were. I remembered how last week, I’d relied on caffeine to get through the day and manage the strong emotions that I had about my daughter starting Kindergarten, even though it makes me feel even more nervous and edgy.
I thought of all the play I’d done every evening, all of the special times, and all of the tantrums my daughter’s had as she processes learning a new language, and being in a new environment every single day. I realised that being the parent of a school child is no less intense than being the parent of a child you are with all the time, because that child brings all their feelings home to you in concentrated form!
And I realised that the most important thing right then was to stop ‘doing’ parenting and simply ‘be’ a parent. I know that if I rush around the place that’s when I’m more likely to get stressed and shout. I knew that resting my body for an hour or so, would mean I’d be in much better shape to connect with my daughter when she got home. And so I took a guilt free rest, knowing it was the best thing I could do for my family.
In this world of doing, fuelled by the demands that our busy modern, capitalist society puts on us, we need to make a conscious choice to return to being, without guilt or apologies. You are doing a wonderful job, putting your heart and soul into caring for your little ones, and you deserve a rest!