I’ve talked before of The Mommy Guilt, and it hits me at the weirdest times. So instead of allowing it to take me under, as it usually does, I’ve started creating a mental list of things that I “should” be doing for my kid. And then I try to do them, under circumstances that work for me.
We live a mere two miles away from Tony’s school. Across from Tony’s (preschool) is a neighborhood elementary school. I see parents walking their kids to school on a daily basis – or walking home from school – and it makes me hurt. After all, my kid is at preschool from 7:45 to 5:00 most days. THAT SUCKS. I hate that.
So some days, I walk to pick him up.
The weather is kind of awesome around our town now, and although the pollen is still insane, it’s a bit cooler and the rain is a bit more frequent. And I’ve been trying to exercise more, so this works out well.
It’s a fifteen minute walk TO the school. And usually about a forty-five minute walk home.
The first day I walked to school, the kids were playing outside. As I approached, I heard Tony say, “It IS! It IS my Momma! Momma! MOMMA! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
We’re walking home today, I told him through the fence. It’s an ADVENTURE.
I turned to head inside and I heard him tell his friends, “I’m goin’ on an ADVENTURE. YESSSSS!”
When I came onto the playground to round him up, the teacher laughed. “Tony told me you lost your car again.”
.. I .. wait, what? Lost my car?
So every day now, when I pick him up, he always looks to see if I’ve got shorts and running shoes on or heels and a skirt. He knows that the former means we’ve got an adventure in front of us. We spend our walk home chatting. Sometimes he pretends he’s a Power Ranger with a found stick/sword. Sometimes we recite traffic safety rules. Sometimes we make up songs.
And it’s such a powerful reminder for me to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N. I am an efficiency-minded person. I move quickly, all the time. I walk briskly. He .. doesn’t. He lollygags behind, stopping to explore some moss or blow out a dandelion or examine the eleventy billionth rock we’ve passed. And it reminds me that it’s okay to stop and look around. Because, you know, sometimes it saves you from being run over by a car. And sometimes it sends a Power Ranger your way to defeat the evil Low Hanging Branch Monsters.
Even though it’s an hour I could spend cleaning or doing laundry or getting dinner ready, somehow it’s an hour that I never ever find myself regretting.