Mommy Guilt and the First Day of School

  Five years ago I posted about my mackerdoodle’s 2 week postpartum checkup as if it was the most important thing in the world, because at that point in my life it was the most important thing in my world. I also posted this one about not wanting to let the baby out of my sight. She rocked my entire world, this amazing girl, and I genuinely did not want to let her slip from my fingers.

Five years doesn’t make that much difference on things like that. As I walked her into the gym to sit with her classmates and wait to be escorted to her classroom, I knew that this was the best thing for her.  I knew that we had evaluated and studied and thought through and prayed through all of our options for her. I knew that the Lord had provided for this year of school in amazing ways.

But when I dropped her off in that gym, sitting there, with her big eyed, overwhelmed, “I’m not going to cry, because I’m a big girl” look on her face, everything that I knew was being kicked in the stomach by what I felt. I gave her a big hug, reminded her that I would see her at 11:30, and then walked through those heavy, double doors while my feelings screamed at the top of their lungs that I was ABANDONING her.

Tuesday night was new Parent Orientation, and the Head of School spoke about the school’s philosophy of education and some of the key theological tenets that inform how they do things (eg: children are image bearers of Christ, not machines). I was prepared to tune it out, because we had done our homework, and we’ve been committed to Christian education for a long time, and I didn’t think I would hear anything new. I was wrong.

“We know that you are the primary educators of your children, and every parent chooses to delegate portions of that responsibility. We thank you for choosing to delegate some of the education of your children to us. Understand that we will never undermine you as your child’s primary educator.” It was exactly what I needed to hear. I needed to have all of the things I had known to be true affirmed in a way that also silenced all those crazy guilt feelings about abandoning my daughter.

She did fine.

Her big complaint about school is that she has to come home before lunch and she’s sure she must be missing out on something. All of the things we knew to be true have been proven so, and all of my irrational fears have been squashed. I have sent her to school for the first of many, many years, but I have not ceased to be her mother.


About Coralie

After 11 years of infertility, I am now a mother to three, a wife of a Presbyterian (ARP) preacher and a struggling homemaker. Welcome to my little corner of the net. Kick off your shoes, put your feet up and join the conversation. View all posts by Coralie

3 responses to “Mommy Guilt and the First Day of School

  • Andrea

    We accompanied Andy to Covenant College over the weekend. Coming home to his empty room, and shifting seats at the dinner table to adjust for his place, were some of the toughest things that we’ve encountered as parents! However, we are SO impressed with Covenant, and thankful for the miracle that made it possible for Andy to attend! BTW saw a pic of Jonathan on FB (?) wearing a CC t-shirt! 🙂

  • Carole Bristow

    What a wonderful photo of our girl, and memory laden post.
    We know that life will change from now on..but we also know who is in charge

  • Tera Montgomery

    It is so important to know that a school won’t undermine us as primary teachers of our children, regardless of whether it is “religion” or science or history or “home ec” 🙂
    I have come to terms with letting others help to teach my children but I know that without the essential teaching, re-teaching and reinforcing that they are getting at home, their “going to school” means nothing.
    This has never been clearer than when I have to watch what Julia goes through…with a parent who gives up ALL of the responsibility to the school…and therefore the poor child fails in so many ways.
    I am so glad that Mackerdoodle’s first day went so well for everyone!!!

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