I caused my son to miss his preschool field trips

I am notorious for becoming so stressed out that I miss key events. It’s happened all my life. My own stuff - birthday parties, banquets, school dances, prom, high school graduation, etc and other people’s stuff - showers, weddings, shows, etc.

The pattern continues. I am a horrible mama. I would become so nervous and freak out that I didn’t get my son to school on special days or field trip days. His teacher gave him an end of year book full of class pictures, and he’s not in most of them. He was so sad. I tried making it up to him by doing something special on our own, but it doesn’t help.

Any suggestions on how to change?


You are not a horrible mama! When my kids were young I’d forget things and beat myself up about it. They are young adults and teenagers and they don’t remember the things they missed. And now they know that they have to remember their own things. Love conquers all. Go easy on yourself mama.


Thanks @FatMama!


There’s nothing bad in you, @FlyingPurplePeopleMeeter, nothing at all, and while I do think that beating yourself up over this is unhealthy and counterproductive, you must understand that not all guilt is misplaced. Its primary purpose is to serve as an alarm that goes off as soon as any potential transgression is detected.

You know that you have a history of missing things due to your anxiety, and you knew it before you allowed your son to get excited about these trips. You knew that he may not have gotten to go on all these class tripe and instead of sitting down with the child and explaining the situation, you chose to just not take him to school and allow his excitement to turn into pain.

When I was in 5th grade, our class was going on a camping trip near the end of the year (we got the information sometime during the 1st few weeks of school. I told my parents, and they signed my permission slip and everything. Sure, it cost money, but they had that all taken care of. I got more and more excited as the trip drew nearer; packed my bag and everything. Then, the night before the trip, my parents called me into the living room and said that I wouldn’t be able to attend because my dad had “forgotten” about the payments. So, yeah, I didn’t get to go. I was pissed then, and honestly, I’m pissed now. I know that it’s been a literal decade, but I was so fu cking excited and my dad just didn’t care. He never even apologized.

My point is that your son very well may remember this if the memory is attached to any sort of pain. Do what you can to work on this behavior, but don’t try to hide it from your child, if for no reason other than the fact that it’s insulting. Children above a certain age really do understand that their parents aren’t perfect. Just be honest. I’m sure he’ll understand.

I wish you all the best!

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I’m sorry you missed your camping trip! I’ll take this to heart. Thank you!

Hey @FlyingPurplePeopleMeeter. You aren’t a terrible mother. Those of us with kids have messed up, too. But we love our kids and let them know that, and it makes up for it. You don’t have to feel guilty; you are just the victim of a disease. It’s something you can’t help anymore than you can help cancer or migraines or any other issue. You just have to take your meds as directed and trudge through. I’ve read your posts on this board, and you seem to be a very sweet person who gives good advice and cares about others. Your son is bound to see that in you, and that is what he’ll learn- not that he missed a field trip.

I, too, have done things like this. My son had a project in 4th grade that required him to find different kinds of seeds and glue the to this piece of paper. His teacher contacted me because she said she couldn’t display his work because he only had one seed, which he had found on his own. He had mentioned the project to me, and I didn’t do anything to help him. I still feel awful about that. Yesterday, I started crying because I had thrown out poinsettias in 2017 after their leaves fell off. My husband kept a third one (with no leaves) and nursed it back to health. It is thriving, and we’ve even had to change its pot because it got so big. But I threw away those other plants, and I started thinking that maybe they could have thrived, too. I let a living thing die. I also frequently think about all of the awful things I did when I was younger as well as the awful things I do now.

I can’t fix all the mistakes I’ve made, even though I’d like to. I sometimes think that guilt is inherent in people with sz/sza because we all know we are different, and we all struggle. From your posts, it sounds like you are feeling awful about a lot of things. Would you happen to have sza? I’m asking because I start to feel guilty during depressive episodes. I want to make sure you are okay.

Please don’t think of yourself as a bad mom. Kids remember the cool things better than the bad.

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Thank you for these words! I’m sorry about your son’s fourth grade project and the poinsettias!

I do have schizoaffective, and I am thinking a lot about the awful things I’ve done. I’m also thinking a lot about the awful things others have done to me. Maybe I am in a depressive state. I’m spending a lot of time on the couch.

@FlyingPurplePeopleMeeter it sounds like you’re spending a lot of time today stuck on things from your past that you can’t change. In therapy, I’m working on letting go of past guilt by just saying, “it happened, nothing I do will change that now, and I will try to do better in the future.”

Luckily, at preschool age, memories are still spotty for kids. He likely wouldn’t have remembered much about these field trips anyways. But now you know it’s a goal you want to work on in the future. Getting him to more of his class trips in kindergarten is a reasonable goal. What will you need to accomplish this? Probably some therapy targeted on anxiety. Maybe an anxiety medication. Maybe a family member or friend who can take him to school for his trip if you can’t. You have all summer to work on this, so don’t fret.

Guilt is only useful when it motivates us to make positive changes. Otherwise, it just turns to shame, which paralyzes us and makes us hate ourselves. Nobody can improve their life when they’re stuck hating themselves.

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Hi there…is there nothing you can do to help you get less nervous?Supplement,SSRI?

Thank you @Ninjastar

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I haven’t tried a supplement. My doctor won’t prescribe ssri because he’s afraid I’ll go manic. It’s happened before.

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