Showing up for your kids is important, but sometimes we just can’t make it. Our daughter recently had her first field trip to go caroling. She was super excited, and I had kind of figured that it was a non-parent field trip because they were going on a bus. But then we got an email right before the trip that parents could attend. Except we couldn’t.
No matter what your role, there are going to be many activities, plays, swim meets, recitals (the list goes on) and sometimes you can show up, cheering them along. And sometimes you can’t.
When our kiddo saw other parents out in the crowd at her caroling event and didn’t see us there, she started crying. Hard. We only found out later what had happened, and our hearts broke. We never want to disappoint our kid, but sometimes we just can’t show up. I had no choice but to forgive myself. And if you miss something (or many things) here are some ideas to get through.
There will another time
It’s a bummer to miss something, but we can’t clone ourselves. If you can’t show up, remember that you’ll have many wonderful moments to see your children shine. Start planning for the next time and try to make it happen.
Lean on your village
If you’re lucky enough to have grandparents or relatives who live nearby, ask them to attend when you can’t. We don’t have family close by, but that’s where other parents and friends come in. We try to show up for our friends’ kids, and they do for ours.
When I know I can’t make a special event or I’m going to be late for something, I try to set expectations—at least as much as I can with a five-year-old. Sometimes she gets it and sometimes she doesn’t. But it’s important for me to get into the habit of communicating with her because we just can’t make it all the time.
Showing up for your kid feels good, and when I can’t I tend to beat myself up. But as long as I’m a “mostly there, cheering from the front row” or even “running in at the last possible moment and snagging a seat in the back” kind of mama, I know I’m doing the best I can.