Dear June: First Day Jitters

I can’t tell you how much I love this wild bunch of paper animals from mibostudio. I plan to make them with my son!

Dear June

As you know, school is right around the corner. I am a single mom who will be sending one of my children to first grade while one stays home. During the school year I find it much harder to do things around the house because of homework and sports. But I have friends who seem to manage it all just fine. How can I stop beating myself up constantly for falling short of my friends? I read your blog every day.

M. Taylor

Dear M. Taylor,

First of all, congratulations on the start of a new semester. Even though I haven’t been a formal student in 8 years, I get excited about each new school year. Such anticipation of good things to learn and do–new beginnings are gifts.

As I’ve said to many of the writers who have sent letters to this Dear June column, priorities change at various points in our lives. It is understandable–especially for someone who must juggle all of the responsibilities that come with being a single parent–that the load can get heavy. And–though our homes are wonderful havens–keeping the nest spotless isn’t as important as caring for the needs of the children (i.e., food and education and spiritual growth).

Let me challenge you with this. You said that your friends “seem to manage it all just fine.” And perhaps they do. But keep in mind that little word, “seem.” You don’t live in their homes. You don’t observe the day-to-day struggles that happen on their watches. You don’t see how fast and furiously they might shove those toys in a closet as you are knocking on their front door.

Perception and reality are not one and the same.

The measuring stick for our accomplishments cannot be the accomplishments of other people. What we are capable or incapable of is as unique to us as our own genetic pattern.

The most important grade on your “home management” report card is the one that is given in the area of “effort.”

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