I know, I know. Parenting is fraught with insecurities. FRAUGHT. How can what is best for my child not be the best for every child? My schedule/routine-loving mind can't handle the gray. If I say it enough, will I believe it? I don't know.
My oldest is in kindergarten. She is enrolled at a charter school and is having the time of her life. She's only in half-day, although this class is small enough where they combine the half day and full day kids, and the half day kids go home when the full day kids go to lunch. Since school started four weeks ago I've already heard about three times "I wish I could be a full day kid." For some reason she thinks it's amazing that they get to take naps.
"You take a nap at home every day."
"But they get to sleep on comfy MATS!"
"YOU get to sleep on a comfy bed."
"But they get to bring a blanket!"
"YOU get to have more than one blanket!"
She's not convinced.
Anyway, yesterday was our very first parent/teacher conference and it went swimmingly. The first thing the teacher said was how sweet and kind she is. It's pretty much the first thing we hear from any adult who has her on their own. And it fills my bucket. Which brings me to why I think I might be a bad parent:
I like sending her off on her own.
My oldest (and my other two, but this is not about them right now) fills my heart with joy. She is funny and inquisitive and social and conversational and friendly and observant. And I love being around her. And I also love sending her into situations where she is not with us, so that others can enjoy her. I get almost as much enjoyment out of hearing a good report from someone as I do out of just being around her. I've never ever heard another parent say that. I've heard how they're so sad to send their kids somewhere for an hour or two or even a whole school day. Or I've heard the ungracious parents say how they are so glad they can get their kids out of their hair for an hour or two or a whole day (I've been there too on occasion, so I get that.) But when I send her to class, it makes me so happy to know that someone else gets to experience this little person that came from my household. My Momma Pride meter just about explodes.
I once read an article that was making a case for homeschooling in which the author stated something along the lines of, "the school day is my child's best time of day. Why would I send my child away to have their best time of day when I could keep them at home and experience it myself?" This argument has always stuck with me, and is the reason that I think that I might be a bad parent. Because I enjoy sending my child off to give their best to someone else. She does NOT come home completely spent and awful. Yes, she might be tired, but you know what? She fights with her sister and argues with me even on the days when she stays home all day. So it's not like she has a "perfect" time of day, and I miss it by sending her off to school. She has her good moments and bad moments sprinkled throughout the day, and I get to see my share of each of them. On the first day of school, when we sent our little girl into her classroom and left her there, my husband remarked how our parenting style can be labelled "A Journey to Independence." We want our children to be able to act independently from us, in age-appropriate increments of course. And it makes me happy to see her thrive apart from us.
And I might be a bad parent, because I cannot for the life of me muster any sadness about this. Believe me, I've tried for the last month to feel sad that she is no longer with me 24/7. But I can't. I'm enjoying too much seeing her smile at her friends each morning, seeing her happy to see me when I pick her up after school, hearing about the songs her teacher sings her to learn how to write numbers and about the fun things they get to do when they go to PE.
I love my girls. And I love when they enjoy time away from me. So I might be a bad parent.