Saturday, October 24, 2015

I'm not one of "Those" mothers...

Thank goodness I'm not one of 'those' mothers...

But...I use to be.

I use to care if my kid started kindergarten fully expressing algebraic expressions, finding x's and divided 'y's, easily reading a Harry Potter book in an afternoon and well, the alphabet?  Ya they had learned that years before Kindergarten was on their little radars.

Okay...so maybe not.  I wished for kids like that.  I had high hopes for them, fully intending that someday, they would be all that and in the AP honor classes, ready to start college in 9th grade.

I use to get frustrated when they came home with B's and not A's.  I use to care that while my friend's kids were busy going over flash cards, monitored activities to learn new skills, dance class, little league, karate, basketball, gymnastics and playing a 5th of Beethoven; we were not doing that, exactly.  We were nursing fevers, checking out a new room at the hospital, doctor hopping...but boy did I try to be 'that' mother.  That perfect mother we all secretly hate because we feel so inadequate.

So, I began thinking that I was just some lousy mother.  I was a perfectionist. At least I tried.  We acted perfect, we looked perfect, everything was suppose to be perfect.

Then...I got divorced and there went perfect. And then the kids got sicker and sicker and there went perfect.

There went the supervised homework sessions, the extra-curricular activities, and I could have cared less if they practiced the piano so eventually I said, "Let's not play the piano anymore...whatdoyasay?"  In that moment, I got a Mother of the Year award from them!

My less than perfect mothering skills have always bothered me some.  But today, was parent teacher conference.  For the first time, as I stood there waiting in line and watching parents chew out their poor kid for a lousy 'B', I thought...thank goodness I didn't get what I wished for!

When our reality became chronic and the future of my kid's life, uncertain, I discovered what was important.  It's not school.  It's not a grade.  It's not how well they can write a paper on the 2nd Amendment or explain the workings of Islam.  It's not about starting kindergarten with a working knowledge of the English language or a head start on chapter books.  Life really has nothing to do with school at all.

Life has everything to do with learning though...learning to love, learning to live, learning to be, learning to explore, learning to be kind, helpful, resourceful, learning what matters most, never to stop learning.  That's different than A's and B's and algebra, and government and science and teachers who demand everything be handwritten so the kid can't "copy and paste and plagiarize from the Internet." (her exact quote from parent teacher conference today.)

Life is better since I started giving up my quest for perfection; when less than perfect is really quite satisfying because instead of drilling my kids with sums of numbers, I've learned to drill into their minds that they are loved and their worth is so much more than the letters in the alphabet the government requires to be meted out.

I always wanted to be one of those kinds of mothers...I might get there yet.

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