Note: This post was written for and posted on my profile at Working Mother
Just this week, my daughter brought home a piece of paper from preschool. It was a note written to the parents, asking to bring a snack to share with the class on Thursday morning. The snack should be something from our culture and we were asked to write down the name of the snack and what was in it so the kids could discuss it in class. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I got the note Tuesday evening right after I got home from the grocery store.
Immediately, I felt pressure to come up with a healthy, wholesome snack that my daughter could share with her class. One that represented our culture (um, ok) and would be served in a classroom were re-heating was probably not an option.
How do I even define our family's culture? I'm from WV and, if pressed, could guess that my descendants were French-Canadian. My husband is from Louisiana, which is Cajun country, but my children have never lived in that state so Cajun cooking is not something they experience often.
On Wednesday evening, I asked my daughter what she wanted me to make for snack the next day. Her request was strawberry cupcakes with "red on the bottom and strawberries on top." I vetoed her suggestion, However I liked the idea of a mini cupcake sized snack so I started to brainstorm. Mini bread puddings, bite size mac-n-cheese, tiny egg frittatas... Unfortunately, I could not figure out how any of these represented our culture.
When I checked out the activity calendar that the school sends home each month, I saw that the next day was labeled "Foods from Around the World." Ok, since I could not come up with anything to represent my WV culture maybe I could expose these kids to some food from around the world. I quickly justified that the mini egg frittatas could be considered Spanish and vowed to make them once the kids were in bed.
Since my husband had a prior commitment, I was single parenting that night. After cooking dinner, feeding the kids, attempting to potty train my two year old and trying to keep the dog from eating play-doh off the kitchen table, I finally got the kids in bed about half an hour later than their usual bedtime. I pulled a muscle in my back earlier that week, and the pain not going away so I decided to sit down and rest. Knowing that mini-frittatas would not take long to make, I decided to bake them the next morning before school so they would still be warm.
Then for the first time in almost three years, I overslept for work. The sound of my son singing from his crib work me at 7:15 AM the next morning and I leaped out of bed to get dressed and out the door. By the time I sat down at my desk about an hour later, I suddenly realized that my daughter did not have a snack to take to preschool. Guilt, disappointment and dread settled in.
I immediately texted my husband and asked him to please apologize to her teachers and explain why we did not bring a snack. He assured me it was not big deal and not to worry. My response to him?
"You don't understand, I am a Working Mommy. That means there is more pressure on me to participate in her at-home projects, because I am not able to volunteer or attend most of her school activities! I feel so bad!"
My husband gently replied that I was the only one putting pressure on myself. He reminded me that its only pre-school and our daughter did not even notice that she didn't have a snack to share. He also said that the teachers understood and not everyone participates in classroom activities and we usually ALWAYS do.
By the end of the morning, I had let go of my guilt and disappointment and when I got home that evening, my daughter ran up to me and gave me a big hug. Then she ran right back to her dolls and started playing again but I felt forgiven.
Do you put unnecessary pressure or guilt on yourself because you are a Working Mother? Have you ever forgot about a project or snack for your child's school? Do your kids even notice?