May 30, 2009

Parental guilt, I think it follows you around no matter where you live. For a while there my parental guilt went into overdrive when we chose to pull Little Roo out of her comfortable Sydney existence and subject her to a new expat lifestyle. Now she is at the point of such happiness and contentment living in the US that I will feel guilty when we eventually yank her out of her blissful state and drag her back home.

From the many conversations I have had with the parents of Little Roo’s friends, be it in Australia or the US, be they local or expats, the parental guilt they feel is universal. So it is always nice to find examples of how parents help each other and relieve one another’s guilt instead of compounding it. Alas I have not been able to find such an example but instead the exact opposite.

The below post is from Little Roo's school list serve. The list serve normally plays host to the rants and ravings of the high achieving in your face successful parents. There is the occasional useful school related message posted on the list serve but mainly it serves as a platform for the parents to vent or congratulate each other on the fabulous volunteer projects they undertook for the school.

"There are some of us parents that witness behavior that is appalling to us and just have to say something. On the way home from school today, a van pulled up beside me at the corner. There was a boy in the front seat with no seat belt on playing with a yo-yo out the window. I can't believe that the adult lady driving the van didn't love that child enough to tell him to get into the backseat and put his seat belt on. Please, let’s all be more consciences in bettering ourselves as parents."

I do not condone children sitting in the front seat and certainly wearing a seat belt is a very serious matter. My little issue with the post is the sentence that I highlighted in bold. OUCH!

I just imagine at the height of all my anxieties about moving from Sydney to Washington DC, if some mother at Little Roo’s daycare said to me, “Don’t you love Little Roo enough to stay in Australia and keep her close to friends and family”. That would have stung a lot.