Thursday, August 30, 2012

7 (More) Ways I'm a Terrible Mother

I found a link on a friend's Facebook page to this article called "7 Ways to Get Back into the School Routine." I usually skip pieces like this because of a reading disability I have that causes the words to rearrange themselves into snarky commentary on my ongoing deficiencies as a mother.

Kind of like this.

But I thought I'd check it out. Precocious Daughter did start school this week, and I think we've all felt a bit of pain transitioning from summer vacation time to boring old education time. Most of my pain involves the school zones being back in effect, a driving hazard that generally baffles other drivers until mid-September or so. Many of them seem to feel that the 20 mph speed limit includes a margin of error of 15 mph on either side and that the proper time to begin deceleration is when they are within six feet of the rear bumper of the car in front of them that has already slowed down.

Yes, even if you're Batman.
Unfortunately, this article didn't cover School Zones for Dummies. Too bad; I could use some fresh ideas for cursing out idiot moron drivers. Be that as it may, the seven tips offered up had more to do with time management, organization, and other topics that sadly don't address the crucial back-to-school questions of which lunchboxes are considered dorky this year and why exactly does the school supply list include separate entries for blue notebooks, red notebooks, and green notebooks, and then add a line item for "assorted color" notebooks.

Anyway. The "seven ways to get back into the school routine" made me laugh, which I'm not sure was the puprpose of the article. But I'll take a good laugh where I can get it, because I'm the mother of a 7th grader and every time I laugh I have to prove I'm not laughing at her. So here's the proof in the form of helpful tips for parents and students.

1. Hopefully two to three weeks before school started, you started moving back to the school-year bedtime by half-hour increments.
OK, telling me to get in my time machine and do something three weeks ago is not an auspicious start. I don't need some damn list to tell me my sins of omission. Besides, I let PDaughter stay up as late as she wanted all summer long, because the later she stayed up the later she slept in, and the later she slept in the less time she had to whine about being bored. Also, to help her get going in the morning, she has an alarm clock and I have a limitless supply of ice water.

2. Make a conscious effort to re-establish regular mealtimes and talk about their day.
"Make a conscious effort"? But...but this is something I actually do. Are you telling me there are slacker parents out there who get full points for attempting to spend quality time with their kids? What kind of "Cat's in the Cradle" bullshit is that?  Oh no, if I actually feed my child and pry conversation out of her on a regular schedule, then I demand extra credit.

As soon as you're big enough to get yourself down from there,
we'll grab a pizza.
3. Teach your children how to plan and pack a healthy lunch so they (and you) can be more independent.
Look, list, don't mess with the deeply symbiotic relationship between PDaughter and me. Neither of us wants the other to be too independent. Soon enough a day will come when she wants nothing to do with me. My mission is to delay that day as long as possible, and the threat of starvation is one of the weapons in my arsenal.

4. Take them grocery shopping so they can pick out healthy foods for their lunch.
If you're going to insist that my child develop independence, let's start with her staying the hell home when I go to the supermarket. Grocery shopping is Mommy's Special Time. It is spouse- and child-free, it gets me out of the house, and it's shopping, which is always therapeutic whether I'm trying on shoes or testing peaches for ripeness. In fact, if Super Target had a bar instead of a Starbucks, I'd go grocery shopping every day. Sheesh. I'm beginning to detect a certain anti-mom bias in these tips, and frankly it's a little disturbing. Was this written by a Republican?

5. Teach children how to plan their schedules so things go smoother before, during and after school.
According to the article, this includes planning "when they will do their homework, play, eat, and do other activities." Do you know who else meticulously plans out what they do all day long? That's right: Communists. Also, listen to this: "The goal is to complete responsibilities while maintaining balance, using good time management skills. Sound familiar? That’s what you have to do at work!" Yeah, well, PDaughter has seen me at work. She'll spot the hypocrisy in this right off the bat. I may not have much going for me as a parent, but a hypocrite I'm not. If she really wants to learn time management, she can talk to someone who does it better than me, by which I mean every other parent in the world.

6. Encourage them to organize their backpack and folders.
Does "Were you born in a goddamn barn?" count as encouragement?

7. Have children choose no more than two after-school activities per season, so they don’t overdo themselves.
Again, I do this. I help her out by gently explaining that we can sign her up for multiple activities, each with its own fees and equipment/supply costs, or we can eat. Then I let her choose. So far she's always made the right choice.

Which tells me I'm an awesome parent.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.