Missed My Sons Awards at School

Updated on May 23, 2016
D.E. asks from Grovetown, GA
18 answers

I work full time job and I missed my son's awards at school. He said it didn't bother him but ex said it does. Now when I ask he said it bothers him some. I feel like a horrible mother : '(

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answers from Anchorage on

My parents did not attend any of my school functions. It didn't scar me for life. I work full time also and I attend as many school functions as I can. I'm lucky that my husband has a job that gives him a ton of vacation time, so he is able to attend 90% of school functions and he chaperones almost every field trip. This makes up for me not being there. Sometimes working parents just can't go. Yes it's disappointing for the kids, but that's life. They need to learn that being disappointed isn't the end of the world. You're still a good mom.

And Gamma, no, not everyone takes off work for every little thing the school does. A lot of jobs don't allow for that. In fact, some jobs will fire an employee for constantly taking off work.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Kids have to learn to understand that disappointment is part of life. It is okay for him to feel what he is feeling as long as he understands that there was nothing you could do about missing it, you have bills to pay to keep a roof over his head and food in his belly, that is more important then school awards.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Norfolk on

You need to have some perspective on this.
You're earning a living to support him.
By working you can afford to help put a roof over his head, put food in his belly and clothes on his back.
Where's YOUR award and who cheers for you for all that you do?
Stop feeling horrible!

Gamma - I don't know where or when you last worked - but there's many an employer who resents their employees having any sort of personal life.
No, not everyone can take off for a few hours - and you often have to pick and choose when you can be off - you have to save your hours for Thanksgiving or Christmas break.
It's like if you're going to die you had better give 6 weeks notice and train your replacement before you kick the bucket.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I'm not sure what you're asking either (same as Julie).

You didn't intend to hurt your kid's feelings. That's how I approach it - some things you just have to let go. Take him out for a congratulatory meal? Day? Something he would enjoy.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

It is perfectly healthy for children to be disappointed sometimes - it is ok if it bothers your son and he shouldn't feel guilty about that. My son knows that we try to make sure one of us can attend functions but sometimes it is not possible. He knows we take care of sick dogs and cats and would rather a sick dog not have to wait another day so he has two parents at a ceremony that lasts 3 minutes.

WOW - Gamma - everyone takes off for during school hours awards ceremonies? I think not. We don't even know what sort of ceremony this is (first grade spelling award vs. National Honor Society induction). Many people commute an hour plus to work - taking time off for a mid day ceremony would mean missing the entire day of work. Many of us do not have a ton of 'extra' days to take off - we are already using them when our kids get sick and can't go to school. Are you suggesting that poster have called in sick for the day and attended the ceremony. That is virtually guaranteed to backfire.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Did you explain to your son before the event that you couldn't take off of work? Kids will be disappointed with many things in life but if you explain the reasoning behind it your son should understand and quickly get over his disappointment.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

That's sad for both of you. Was it an oversight, or did you have to work? Either way, try to make these occasions when you can, and when you can't, make sure at least your ex is there. As long as one parent is there, it will be fine.

It's obvious you are a loving mother. Just tell your son you feel sad that you weren't able to be there. You are there for him in many other ways.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

It's important to know that these types of events mean a lot to kids, even if the adults don't think it's that big of a deal. So whenever possible, you should make these events a priority and go.

On the other hand, you're only one person and can only do s much. Go to as many events as you can and make sure your child knows that he is loved and that you would go to everything if you could. We fon't get everything we want in life, so help your child to learn how to deal with disappointment.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Tell him you're disappointed, too, so you understand how he feels. You couldn't go because of work and there's nothing you can do about that. Tell him you're incredibly proud of him, not just for getting an award, but for the way he's handling his disappointment. That anytime you miss an event, you're thinking about him and he is in your heart all the time. Tell him that you will most likely miss more events in the future and, again, you are as disappointed about that as he is. But you don't need to see him get awards to KNOW that he worked hard for them and deserves them. Tell him how proud he should be of himself. Tell him how proud YOU are of YOURSELF for having and keeping a job, which provides for the both of you. You're a team, and you missing his events is a sacrifice you both have to make sometimes. He'll understand.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I just try to make sure that my kids have at least one person in attendance at these kinds of events. Mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle or special family friend. They realize that we have to work and that everyone can't make it to every event. Just make sure that you make an effort to attend some of the events. When we can't make an event we make sure that the person who is attending takes some pictures or video. It doesn't hurt for kids to learn that they are not the center of the universe.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

And your question is?

By the way, this doesn't make sense. "3 boys I lost physical custody to. Ex is a control freak we have joint custody. Constantly told I am a bad mother. Work full time to pay child support."

Yeah, it doesn't make sense because joint physical is the same as joint custody and no court gives the mom full physical custody especially when, as you have updated your profile to say, your ex has the favor of the court because he is a cop.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

As long as one person is there, then it's all good. I don't think my husband has been to any of the school awards, and my eldest just graduated this weekend, and our youngest is a rising sophomore in high school. Youngest has been in almost every awards ceremony ever put on by any school she's attended... Including this year as a freshman (Honor Roll Breakfast during the morning in the cafeteria, and also Honor Awards Night in the auditorium). One was by recommendation by her Algebra teacher, and one was for A Honor Roll all year.

I've been to almost all of them. (I did miss one, once, I think.) But she's never had grandparents or extended family at them, either, though some kids do. We don't have family that lives nearby (5 hours away)... so it's always just been me. And me alone. Dad was at work.
Gamma says she doesn't know many careers where you can't take 2 hours off to attend... well, I do. Lots of them. Including my husband's. Not to mention his commute from where the school is, is over 30 minutes one way, even if he *could* take 2 hours leave. It would be simpler for him to call in sick for the whole day, but that's a terrible example to set for your child... to lie in order to get out of work, to do something else b/c you'd rather be there.
What matters is that you (or Dad, in our case) remembers that the event happened at all, and asks questions about it. Show interest in it. High five them, or do something else in celebration to recognize the accomplishment. Usually at an awards ceremony, the kids come away with a Certificate of some sort. Get it framed. (buy a frame in advance maybe) And put it someplace prominent. Or just make a point to put it in a "safe" place.

My daughter is not bothered in the least that Dad isn't able to come to these sorts of things. And she never has been. He texts her these days and asks her about it, or tells her congrats while we are in the car on the way (depending on what time he gets to take a break at work). Or meets us to eat dinner after.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Don't beat yourself up. Just add it to the list of things you've felt like a horrible mother about. At this point there's nothing you can do so how about doing a celebration of his accomplishment by baking a cake and making a special celebration meal for his awards.

The take away on this is to plan on attending school events and if you can't ask someone else to snap some pictures or video for you. I couldn't attend a lot of stuff during the day for my kids because I worked full time a hour away plus with 4 kids there was something small going on almost every month at unrealistic times of the day. If it was first thing in the morning I'd attend and work late. If it was late in the school day I would leave work early and make up time the following day. When I couldn't be there my parents were retired and they attended.

So at this point stop beating yourself up over something you can't change and stop asking your son about how he felt without you there. Just tell him how sorry you are and let him know how proud he makes you all the time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Everyone takes off work to go to something this special unless they work in a job where they absolutely cannot. I can't imagine any career where a person can't leave for an hour or two. Seriously, what would have happened if you'd have been sick that day?

He doesn't want to hurt your feelings because he knows how hurt feelings feel. Promise him that next time you'll take off work and be there. Ask him to forgive you and then you guys go do something HE wants to do and celebrate his award.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I feel the question is implied...

Although other mamas adamantly disagree, I agree with Gamma. Every job gives some amount of sick time. Use the sick time to attend such event and then go make a visit to a quick care doctor (about that little rash on your elbow, that watery eye in the morning, that corn on your little toe) to get an excused note.

Now if you are often sick (I was not) or if the job is very strict--do not take the day---but I would find a new job as that would not be the job for me.

While the job will go on, these events make for long memories. Years from now, which will be more important? (Again only IF you can take the sick time).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I tell my kids I can only go to x number of events. Here is the list of events help me choose the ones you'd like me to attend and I'll do my best.

Second - you are not a horrible mother. I know it feels like all the SAHMs go to every single event. There is plenty of working moms that only go to a few events a year.



answers from Pittsburgh on

1) Explain to him how important honest communication is. No one can read his mind. If he wants something, he needs to find a way to express it (as a side note, that doesn't mean that you always get what you want. But if no one knows what you want, you surely won't get it.) This is a fantastic lifelong lesson - I wish someone had taught me this when I was young, since it took me a long time to figure this out.

2) Also talk about your work, and why it's important. Yes, the awards would have been nice. But awards wouldn't mean much if you weren't considered reliable at work, and lost your job, and couldn't pay your mortgage/rent.


answers from Washington DC on

I have always been fortunate to work places that support me being a mom first...I have missed one award ceremony because of my amazing companies/bosses. But there are a LOT of kids who don't have someone there for them. My husband didn't make MANY because he worked so far away for so long. Now he works from home, but sometimes he can't make it still.

Explain to him that you are sorry, but work is important in being able to provide for him. You will do your best to be there for him always, but sometimes it isn't doable. They normally understand.

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