Today is the first Friday of the month – not my favorite day.

It has nothing to do with it being a Friday – I LOVE Fridays…they are followed by my two favorite days of the week, Saturday and Sunday. And I love flipping the calendar over to a new page. Every month presents something new to look forward to, another birthday to celebrate, or one month closer to summer vacation (yippee!).

I dislike first Friday of the month for one reason – First Friday Family Read. First Friday Family Read is a program at my son’s elementary school. Every first Friday of the month, from 10:00-10:30am, the student’s families are invited to come into the school and read with their children. The program was created to promote literacy and provide a forum for families to read together. It’s a great idea, right? Not for some of us.

While I think that conceptually the program is fantastic, it presents a real dilemma for working moms and dads – having to choose between work and your child – and the subsequent guilt that follows whatever you decide.

Today will be the third time in a row that I’ve missed the First Friday Family Read – in December I had a pile of work that reached to the ceiling after missing so much due to Super Storm Sandy and the Thanksgiving break, in January I missed it again due to a staff meeting. This month we are in the final stages of testing our new website and I’m part of the testing team. So when my son asks if I’m coming to FFFR, I have to say no (again) and the guilt is terrible.

As I sit at my desk, my imagination runs wild. While the other families can take their kids outside to read on the grassy areas of the playground or to a cozy nook in the library, I imagine my son sitting alone in his classroom staring blankly at a book. I picture his little forlorn face (sob). In my mind, I hear all the other families joyfully reading and discussing the books, gleefully uncovering the secrets of the universe in an astronomy book or laughing together at the Wimpy Kid’s latest antics.

My son assures me this is not the case – “Mom, it’s just a half hour. I know you’re busy at work. I just hang out on the carpet with my friends and we’re all reading the Warriors series, so we talk about it together.” I think he minds less than I do.

He’s probably right – it’s not a big deal. As a working mom, I think you just have to accept that you can’t be there for every event and let it go. Parenting and being there for your kids isn’t about being at FFFR or every class party, it’s being present and available for them on a regular basis. If they know that they can count on you to be there when they need you, then being at every single event really just doesn’t matter.

Anyway, there’s always next month…


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