How to cope when you miss your child’s event (and why sometimes it’s a good thing)

I have a fab post for you today by working mums’ coach Elinor Wilde. One of the big reasons that mums start up in business is to give us the flexibility to go to events like school sports days. But what happens if, despite your best efforts, you still can’t go? Over to you, Elinor…

Running a business when you have children can mean some pretty tough choices. At the end of recent call, a client of mine dropped into the conversation that she had been really looking forward to going to a friend’s 40th birthday party. It had been in the calendar for months but she wasn’t going because her daughter had just been invited to perform at a dance concert. Now this mum has seen her daughter perform at many concerts, this wasn’t the first and it wasn’t a competition, but she wouldn’t allow herself to miss it even though she admitted she was gutted to be missing the 40th.

When you decide to run your own business you hope you will have more flexibility to be with your children and attend their events more easily than if you were working 9-5, but you will still have conflicting choices to make whether they are to do with business or social arrangements. Obviously you want to attend your kids’ events to support them and share in their pleasure, but here’s the thing – you don’t have to be there EVERY time and feeling guilty about it can be a sign of the perfectionist trap we mums can fall into. Here’s how to cope:

If, like my client, you feel consumed by guilt at the thought of missing a child’s event, consider why.

• Are you worried what other mums will think? Remember you’ve got nothing to prove to them. This is your life and your family.

• Are you mind-reading and making assumptions? Are you scared your child will be upset if you are not there? This is really down to how you handle things. Be factual, don’t over explain or over-dramatise and above all don’t ask for permission! Explain that you already have something organised and can’t go, describe whose mother will be there instead and that you are really looking forward to hearing how much they enjoy themselves. Don’t get drawn into a long conversation about it or over-explain. It’s this that can make your child anxious.

Are you worried what other mums will think? Remember you’ve got nothing to prove to them. This is your life and your family.

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