A school project derails The Guilt Train
Cath Jenkin discovers a refreshing way to chase away guilt over running out of time.
(Diane Cassells)
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As parents, we’ve all lain awake at night, wondering if we’ve made the right choices when it comes to our children. We’ve tossed and turned, pondering over our choices, half-convinced that we have made the wrong ones, and possibly irreparably damaging our children’s egos or failed them in some way.

The Choo Choo checks in

I’ve had one of those weeks, no, months, where the guilt train has choo-chooed right on in through our house. I missed watching my child sing on stage in her school assembly because I had a deadline and an important vet visit for the dog that couldn’t be missed. I’ve failed at concocting nutritious evening meals at least three times a week, purely because I needed the extra time to tackle a work project or I actually just could not summon up the creative energy to craft some sort of fantastic dinner at the end of the day. I have, truly cornered myself into feeling like the guilt train can just ride me over because I’ve failed, big time.

Derailing the Guilt Train

There have been tears (all mine) and there have been days where I’ve absolutely convinced myself, despite my best efforts, that I am screwing up. Heck, I even posted on Facebook about it. I have let the guilt train choo-choo the hell right through all my positive affirmations and commitments. It’s choo-chooed and chewed me right up. But, some time in the last week, my child has derailed it.

A school project

As part of this term’s project demands, my daughter had to complete a set of question-centred items, whereby she’d assess and analyse things. One of them was an item she found at home, another was a photograph or picture and the third one was an interview. Those three mini-projects have taught me more about my life than I think she or her teacher realises.

The interview

She had to choose someone to interview but the criteria set were simple – it had to be someone she admired, or considered a role model. Earlier on in the term, she’d chosen to talk about my mother as her role model but for this interview she needed someone she could chat to. I immediately scrolled through my phone book, trying to think of someone she could call and talk to over the phone that afternoon, and who she would feel comfortable with as a role model. Which is when she stopped me and said:

“I want to interview you.”

That opened the floodgates for me, as I sobbed and told her I was a terrible role model right now, especially since I was also eyeballing a take out menu and needed to get back to my computer to conquer a work task.

 But that guilt train got derailed, completely when she told me this:

“I don’t care if we have pizza three times a week and you can’t come to watch me sing. I know you are busy. But you teach me how I can do all the things I like one day too, and you kiss me goodnight, every night. I want to have three different jobs one day, and I can see how you do it. Of course I want to interview you and talk about you - you’re interesting!”

Goodbye, Guilt Train. You can choo-choo your way outta here.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Do you ever feel guilty as a parent? What are the things that get to you?

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