(I was looking through Evangeline’s special needs adoption blog today and stumbled upon the post “You’re doing it wrong.” Evie’s been home for almost three years.)
But there are still days that I feel like I’m doing this whole special needs adoption thing wrong. I struggle with mom guilt.
This post is from Evangeline’s special needs adoption blog archives: September, 2009 just after we brought Evangeline home from Ukraine.
Evangeline’s three sisters; Elaina, Zoya and Polly started school yesterday (thank God, finally!).
My husband and I split up in the morning to get the kids where they needed to go; three different classrooms, two different schools. Evie went along with Sergei as he walked Elaina and Zoya and Polly and I hopped in our silver boring minivan that as it happens, I actually rather love, and drove a few miles to her school.
Last year I rarely took Polly to school. Sergei did the drop off before heading to work and I was on pick-up. So yesterday I took Polly where I would usually pick her up, the back door of the cafeteria. We stood at the locked door and knocked for a few moments. Then I peeked through the window and got someone’s attention from the cafeteria. As the woman opened the door she told me that we need to drop off through the front door of the school. OK, makes sense.
I made a mental check in my head.
Polly was stoked to be back in her classroom with her teacher, ‘Miss Ba Ba.’ After a little while I found myself generally uninvited in her school area and took advantage of my good fortune to exit. Walking out the front door there was a different lady passing out forms to students.
“Can I get a form?” I asked.
“These are for kids.”
“I know, I just dropped my daughter off in preschool.”
“Oh, I didn’t see you come in…” she said, now sizing me up and down.
“We came through the back door,” I said shyly, kicking a rock with my foot.
“You did it wrong.”
I KNOW!! I DID IT WRONG…
“OK, I’ll drop her off in front tomorrow. May I have the forms?”
The important paper lady passed me a couple sheets of paper. I turned and walked down the sidewalk towards my car.
You’re doing it wrong.
Remember that movie, ‘Mr. Mom’? It was school drop off and Michael Keaton drove into the exit to drop off his kid in the rain and like five people stopped him to let him know he was doing it wrong.
Well, that’s how I felt yesterday.
And more importantly, that’s how I’ve felt ever since Evangeline’s adoption. The mom guilt is heavy.
You’re doing it wrong.
I have this sinking feeling in my stomach that I am not doing all I can for Evie or that what I am doing is wrong. Maybe I am not strong enough to handle a special needs adoption?
The good news is I know with time my maternal instincts for her are bound to take over, that I’ll be able to tell if she’s hungry or sad or tired or if I should hold her tight when she tries to move away or let her go.
Until then, I’ll continue to do different things and as I pull into exits with Evie, I am prepared to back out and try again.
Some thoughts today:
Do you struggle with mom guilt?
Don’t we as moms feel like most of the time we are doing it wrong?
This may not be a popular statement but here goes: There probably are things you are doing wrong.
There are things I’m doing wrong when it comes to my kids. My mom guilt shows up in various areas: with my children with Down syndrome, with the adoption, with my older girls, my cooking (or lack thereof ), laundry, one on one time, you name it, I’ve probably experienced mom guilt over it.
I propose we attempt to take a step back and gauge what exactly we think we are doing wrong and then work to work on it.
Let’s be honest.
There probably are things we all could improve on when it comes to our kids.
There are things we are doing really well, and we need to acknowledge and celebrate them. And the things we are not doing wrong, but plague us with guilt anyway, well, let’s attempt to preserve our energy and brain space for other things.