Chasing Contentment

Wednesday, February 22

I'm sure now... church committee work is not for me. We are trying to become more involved in church, and I was asked to chair the preschool committee, and it seemed like a good way for me to be involved. I'm relatively sure I was wrong.

In our first committee meeting this evening, there were five of us... three older women with grown children, one young woman without children yet, and me. And it went well for a while. And then, it didn't.

Our church operates a dayschool for little ones, and the dayschool director was at the meeting. Our parish recently began offering pre-K, and the dayschool numbers are down as a result. The director began speaking passionately about the reasons she believes church dayschools are better for children than public pre-K programs or daycares. The younger woman - a pre-K teacher herself - agreed.

And discussion continued... with talk of why children should be home with their mothers and why parents shouldn't choose public pre-K just because it's free... and on and on. And there I sat... the working mother whose children have always been in daycare. And I was angry that there wasn't any consideration that there might be other options or that children might turn out positively wonderful despite daycare or pre-K.

The dayschool director talked about how the parents of the dayschool children sacrificed so the mothers could be home with their children. And while I respect families who can do that, I also think there should be some acknowledgement that there are lots of families who simply aren't able to do that, even if they made all the sacrifices possible.

After the meeting, I stopped the staff preschool director and suggested that maybe I am not the person to lead this committee as I am not in agreement with the sentiments expressed. And because I was angry, I cried. And now I feel like an idiot.

The preschool director was sweet and kind, and then she told me not to wonder if I was a bad mother, and I was shocked. I don't wonder that. I am a good mother to my kids. I am not like any other mother. I am the mother I am. And that is good enough. In fact, it's just nearly perfect for my kids. We are meant to be together. And we are good enough.

And so now, not only do I feel like the odd girl out on this committee that I'm supposed to lead but I also am embarrassed that I acted unprofessionally and cried in front of this woman. And I am angry with myself that I gave her the impression with my tears that I doubt my abilities as a mother.

Not so much my evening.

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, February 22, 2006  ]


If Mandy reads this, don't be surprised if a certain preschool director goes missing. She knows people. ; )

By Blogger Joshua, at 11:06 AM  

It really was one of those unfortunate situations in which no one meant any harm, but my feelings were hurt, mostly because I was taken off guard.

I'm accustomed to being around other working mothers, and so I was taken by surprise by the topic itself.

By Blogger Chel, at 11:33 AM  

I know, but honestly there is no way I can ever understand. So, I thought I'd offer my support with humor.

By Blogger Joshua, at 11:47 AM  

Oh, and I did laugh! :) I've had several friends email and tell me not to worry and to reassure me both that I am a good mom and that my kids are fine where they are. I've been very encouraged.

By Blogger Chel, at 11:50 AM  

good to hear. you deserve it. from where I stand, your kids are pretty dang perfect, and they couldn't be that way without amazing parents.

By Blogger Joshua, at 11:56 AM  

Chel - So sorry you had this experience. Sometimes I think people need to see tears to understand how we really feel, deep down inside.

Though I do not work outside the home like you, I am familiar with the insensitivities sometimes expressed by others. I love what you wrote: "I am the mother I am. And that is good enough." Amen sister. I'm trying to convince myself of that very thing.

By Blogger Jana, at 12:53 PM  

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