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Friday, May 8, 2009

Earning an F

The other day Chris wrote at Notes from the Trenches about little ways she fails her kids. This morning, I'm really feeling like I'm failing mine -- Charlie especially -- in big ways.

I got an e-mail from Charlie's teacher yesterday that he'd had missing assignments two days in a row. I wasn't aware there was homework he didn't do because I didn't check his assignment notebook. I asked him if he finished his homework. He said yes.

Now, I knew in my mind that I needed to double check. To have him show me the work. But I took him at his word because I was too tired (read: lazy) to check. When I looked at his assignment notebook this morning (yes, about 12 hours too late), I saw that he has two tests today. I asked if he studied for them at after care yesterday. I got a blank stare in return.

He didn't even bring his reading book home, so he's on his own for that test. We went over the spelling words several times. As we were doing so, I realized this was the first time that I've seen the list all week.

I reached into his backpack and came up with handfuls of old crumpled papers. His desk at school is the same way. And why wouldn't they be? That's the way I am. Every time a teacher writes in a report card that one of my children needs to be more organized, it's a personal conviction against my character because they are not learning organization at home.

I feel like I'm failing him because I haven't been able to make him see that school is his most important job, probably because by my inattention, I'm giving him the message that it's not.

It goes beyond school. He wanted a short-sleeve shirt to wear today, but I haven't washed them. He's gone for two weeks without his medication because I lost the Rx. (See above re: organization. Found the Rx last night.) He and Robbie are taking their lunches wrapped in enough foil to tune in the TV on the international space station because I'm out of Ziploc bags. And the contents of their lunch are lean because our pantry and fridge are void of most things beside condiments.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, I just realized that he is singing in the choir at church this morning -- Mass started 20 minutes ago -- and I'm not there. If I wasn't trying to keep this a rated PG blog, I'd spew a string of expletives right here.

This is definitely one of those mornings where I'm ready to move to a hillside in Kentucky.


Eternal Lizdom said...

OK- I was going to try and tell you that you are an awesome mom and all that.

But... if it were me... I'd be feeling really shitty, too. And having people tell me how great I am wouldn't help me any.

So here is what I would want/need to hear...

You know what the problem is. You've identified what is lacking. And now you have the power and ability to choose to make it different.

And it sounds like maybe Charlie could use a little one on one time. And maybe the rest of the kids could, too. Maybe you can celebrate Mother's Day by celebrating your relationships with your kids. Have a date with each child for the next few meals. Dinner, breakfast, lunch, whatever. Heck- out for ice cream in the afternoon. Just to spend some one on one time. Reconnect a little. For your sake as well as theirs.

I said I wouldn't say it but dangit... you are a great mom and I learn a lot from you when you share your parenting stories. Keep it real here and then use that ability to see what's wrong to make different choices going forward.

Joanie said...

Oh Lord, Amy! I swear we're the same person. I agree with what Liz is telling you. I'm going to add to that.

If you are like me, then you're exhibiting signs of depression. My depression manifests itself in "I don't care".

Make an appointment with your doctor. It can't hurt to talk to someone about it. It might even help to start taking an anti-depressant.

Momza said...

Consequences. Sometimes they just bite.
The best thing about consequences is that we can determine them by our choices.

You are a super fun mom with alot on her plate...don't beat yourself up, just put your ingenuity to work and come up with something that works for you both.

And by the way, my 2nd grader cried when it was time to come in and do her homework last she will miss recess to do it. I think natural consequences work too.