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Why one working mom is OK with missing her son's field trip

Jennie Dede spent the day wondering if she had made the right decision. When she got home, the answer became crystal clear.
/ Source: Today

Jennie Dede knows she is a better parent because she works. But mom guilt reared its ugly head when Dede couldn’t attend her 9-year-old son Nathan’s end-of-the-year field trip in Chicago.

“All day I had these pangs of ‘Did I make the right choice?’” Dede, who is a director of customer success at LinkedIn, told TODAY Parents. “Nate was so excited and I felt bad I couldn’t be there to experience it with him.”

Nathan Dede posed for a photo with his dad, Chris, during his third grade field trip.Courtesy of Jennie Dede

Next time, Dede, 40, won’t be so hard on herself. Upon returning home, Dede’s husband, Chris, greeted her with photos of Nate laughing and smiling with his third grade buddies during the sightseeing excursion. "I was like, 'Wait a minute. Everyone was fine except for me," Dede told TODAY Parents. She then sat down and shared her epiphany on LinkedIn.

“Today I had to be in NYC and I missed a field trip,” Dede wrote. “I was a little bummed all day but instead of feeling guilt, I’m choosing to feel grateful. Grateful that I have a wonderful husband who could join in the fun. Grateful I have a job I love, where I spent the day building out future vision strategies. Grateful that my son had the opportunity to spend the day with his friends and enjoy our city.”

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Dede illustrated the post with pictures of Nate with his dad and classmates. “By looking at the smiles below, today was much harder for me than my son,” she noted. “Another reason to be grateful.”

Jennie Dede with her sons Nathan and Nicholas and her husband, Chris.Stephanie Hurst Photography

The message was met with applause. As one woman wrote: “I love this. Good to turn around the feelings of guilt and reflect on being grateful.”

Though Dede knows there will be hard days, she has found it helps to think about decisions on three different time frames: How will I feel about it five minutes from now? How about five months from now? How about five years from now?

“You can’t do everything, so pick what matters most to you and your child,” Dede told TODAY Parents. “I find it important to prioritize the non-negotiable of what I can and can’t miss. Once you have that true north, the rest of the decisions fall into place.”