Family, Health and wellbeing, Melbourne, Opinion, Parenting, Relationship and marriage, Writing

Parent guilt

Yesterday morning was one of those crazy moments in parenting.

I had two netball games to coach, at the same venue, one time-slot in the fixture apart (equivalent to about thirty-five minutes). T1’s soccer game was earlier but in a suburb twenty minutes away, and T2 had his regular tutoring appointment at our local library, at the same time as the second netball match.

In the days leading up to Saturday, I’d looked at the problem from every angle. And, due to my awesome project management skills (incidentally, feedback I received from one of my recent job rejections stated that I didn’t have the PM skills necessary to succeed in the role. What mother doesn’t project manage, each and every day?), I had it all sorted.

Hubster would take T1 to soccer; following the match they’d both return to the library to pick up T2. I would take Our Girl and T2 to netball, and, in the time between Our Girl’s game and the second one, I would whizz T2 to the library, leave him with his tutor, and race back to the stadium, just a teensy bit late to guide the team through their warm-up, prior to the match.

My part in this delicately planned routine was anxiety-provoking. I do not like to be late, I do not like to be rushed, and I do not like to shirk commitments—either as a parent or a volunteer coach. But I just had to suck it up.

I conveyed the likelihood of my tardiness for the warm-up in my weekly communications to the netball parent cohort, and asked if someone could put the girls through star jumps and toss a ball around until I arrived.

Before the first netball game commenced, however, an angel appeared. A netball mum from Our Girl’s team asked if she could help by taking T2 to the library for me.

Cue bright lights and other-worldly music.

Cue grateful gushing from me.

Then guilt, seeping like pus from a wound.

Because by adhering to my commitments to the team as their coach, I felt I was evading my commitment to T2 as his parent.

Gosh, what a bind I was in.

T2, good kid that he is, took it all in his stride, despite probably not wanting to be ushered to the library by people he barely knew (they are parents in our school community, but their daughter is in a different year level). I dabbed at the guilt pus weeping from my soul and tried not to drown in it.

And the outcome of the day? T1 kicked a goal at soccer. His team won. Our girl shot 4 goals. Her team drew. My second team won. T2 worked hard with his tutor, and had a few wins of his own.

Me? I locked the guilt in a compartment labelled ‘Times I failed my children’ and hope that I raise them well enough so they can afford to pay for their own therapy in adulthood.

That’s life!



8 thoughts on “Parent guilt”

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