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Challenge: Parent Fails

Don’t You Write A Blog About This Stuff?

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Last week my 6th grade daughter got her report card, got her standardized test scores back, and registered for next year’s classes. Last week one of us had a stellar week – it wasn’t me. I knew I had completely lost it when my daughter looked at me and said “don’t you write a blog about this stuff?” and then my husband accused me of raising his blood pressure.

I should have trusted.

She had a B in a class that I thought was going to be an A, and I might not have handled it the best way possible. When I asked her what happened she looked completely perplexed, and said “I don’t know.” I immediately knew that answer meant she was hiding some assignments with bad grades. I accused her of not telling me everything that happened in that class. I made her go through her backpack, and I went through the list of posted assignments on her class page. My husband calmly emailed the teacher in the morning, and by the end of the day the error was found and the grade was fixed. Sometimes computers do screw up and husbands do not.

I should have relaxed.

The night before my daughter began 3 days of standardized testing she broke her glasses. If I was the kind of mom who was on top of these things, she would have had an up to date eye prescription and we could have had new glasses in an afternoon. I’m not actually that kind of mom. I implored her to wear the broken glasses during the test. She kept reminding me that she was near-sighted which meant she could see up close just fine and since her ERB test booklet was up close not across the room, and it will be fine mom…don’t worry. I did worry. In fact, I convinced myself that my daughter had bombed her ERBs and that her academic future was over. That was the night my husband accused me of raising his blood pressure.

Her ERBs came back great. Yes, I had lost all perspective.

I should have been nicer.

My daughter came home with next year’s course selection sheet full of ideas and opinions. She thought she needed a study hall. I thought she needed to take a class. I might have employed sarcasm. She might have employed eye rolling. My husband might have employed a martini. In the end, I won because I reminded her that study hall is silent, and I know she can’t go 50 minutes without talking.

Lessons Learned

First, trust your child. I knew my daughter had an A in that class, and I should have calmly said that something didn’t look right, and we will check with the teacher tomorrow. That would have been a much more pleasant way of spending the evening.

Second, near-sighted does mean you can see stuff up close just fine.

Third, sometimes mother does know best, but I could have been a little nicer about it. My daughter is an extrovert and for her a break is being able to talk with her friends and have fun together. Chorus, acting, and girls engineering all fit that bill much more than a silent study hall. When we calmly discussed it, she agreed. We were both finally happy and my husband could finally watch basketball in peace.

Last week was the kind of week I wish I had done better. I wish I had listened to my calmer self and done everything right, but I didn’t. Fortunately, my daughter sees my freak outs as a rite of passage in our house. Mom freaking out about your grades and your future means you are growing up which means college which means fun, fun, fun – according to her big brothers, but that’s another story.

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