I am one of the most lucky moms when it comes to having help. W goes to school a little early every day and that allows me to get to my classes on time. He goes to an after school program and that allows me to work on my freelance projects and my homework. And when there are events or meetings that I need to attend in the evening my mom always makes herself available to help. That is 100% childcare coverage – that is amazing!
This month there are a lot of little this and that things where my schedule is not typical. There are meetings, extra classes, programs at my college happening in the evening, more meetings, events a train ride away… And I am managing all of it, with the help of all of these in place helpers.
But I worry that I lean too much on my mom – especially for things in the evening.
This week I decided to see if W (and I) could handle him coming with me to one of my meetings. If we did ok then I would bring him to the evening college program happening later in the week.
I am very familiar with this kind of life because this is how I grew up. My mother went back to school when I was in the 2nd grade and I actually attended several of her classes in the evening with her. I know it wasn’t ideal for my mom, but it’s what we had to do to make it through.
I remember feeling proud. I was around grownups and they didn’t talk down to me. I felt special. I think being in those unique situations helped make me more poised and confident in talking to adults.
Last night I packed up a huge bag of snacks for W and then picked him up from after care. On the drive to my meeting, a board meeting for a local social media organization, I explained my expectations. I needed him to be able to entertain himself. Quietly. If he needed me he could come get me or one of the designated grown ups, but if he could solve something himself he should try.
I felt a few flutters of mom guilt, but oddly those evaporated quickly. Those feelings were replaced by a sort of empowered sensation. I have so many great people I can lean on for help if I need it, but I needed to find out if I could swing things on my own.
Thankfully everyone else at my meeting was fantastically accommodating to W being in attendance. I’d like to think this was in large part to W’s great behavior. But I also think it’s because good people are understanding people. And they get that sometimes a single mom may need to quietly have her son at a board meeting.
When the meeting was over W and I were both elated and proud. We did it! I had parked next to a pizza place which seemed like a fated place for us to celebrate with a slice. I didn’t have childcare and I survived.
On the drive home W asked me questions about my meeting, about people in the meeting, about social media. It was a new level of connection.