I dropped my son off for his first day of any time away from me after nearly two years of spending nearly every moment with him.
But, I didn’t cry. And I sort of felt like I should be.
I saw my social media feeds flooded with posts from women tearfully seeing their children off to school and some of that mom guilt came on me. “These women weren’t happy to see their children go…. and their kids are older than yours! You only spent 2 years with him every day. You haven’t put in your time yet. What are you even doing with him in Mother’s Day Out…” Y’all. Those thoughts really breezed through my mind on a Monday morning. The truth is that when we finally got to the day that my son was starting his 1/2 day program this summer- I was READY for it. I needed that time away from him to love him better when we are together.
I carried him in my body, birthed him, nursed him for 16 months, and spent most of my waking hours (even the ones I didn’t want to be awake) with him. And suddenly another human was going to be responsible for his well being and care for a few hours every day?! I can completely understand how that could bring someone to tears. But for me, while somewhat overwhelming to consider, it is like a wonderful treat someone was handing me.
There are dreams God has put in my heart to work towards that I need time to put my hands to. There are things he will learn being around others that are different from the people in our home and family. We are having another baby that I want to have time with like I was given time with Elias when he was a newborn. He gets to play soccer, learn music, play with kids, and go skating every single week.
A group of my friends was texting about seeing kids off and it being okay to cry on that first day. And while I respect that SO much, I also felt the need to chime in and say “it’s okay if you don’t cry too”. If you aren’t the mom crying in the car pool line, it doesn’t mean you love your child any less. If you are excited for the time apart from the little human you adore- you aren’t a bad mom.
I am learning how differently we are each wired with different strengths and capacities. Some of us are baby people. From the time you are young you want to hold the babies, smell the babies, ohh and ahh and coo. Some people rock that toddler stage like a boss with every developmental game and activity. Laughing at all the quirks and handling meltdowns like a boss. Others thrive in those years of childhood when they are in school- rocking the extracurricular schedule like a boss and being room mom. Still others live for high school and having your kid's friends gather at your house and smell it up, squishing cheetos in the crevices of the sofa that will live there for eternity. Then there are parents who are the best at relationship with adult children. Seeing them off, marrying them off, being a grandparent. (This is my goal because this is what they are for most of their life). We all have a different niche. And that is good.
I finally know that I was meant to be a mother, and a good one at that in every stage. Patrick + I were given Elias as a gift from God who knew we were the right duo for the job of raising this little human. This little person we believe has unique skills, passions + purpose to make this big old world a better place. We are the right people to raise him, love him + help him discover those things.
The more confident I become in this, the more okay I am being the last mom to pick him up as I get each and every penny’s worth of time out the day. No idea when the other parents come, but when I get there 5-10 minutes before the school day ends and no other kids are left, I am will not compare myself to the women who, in my head, surely love their children more than me because they got there earlier. So to you other moms rolling in to pick your kids up last, remember that even if we don’t cry- we are exactly who our kids need us to be. And that is enough. And then give them a cookie.