My husband does a lot around here. As I’ve written (and published), he works hard at work. He comes home and works hard at home. He’s a great husband and Dad. As I type, he’s on a business trip in Austin, providing for our family.
I want to make that clear so that what I say next doesn’t get misinterpreted.
I am, without a doubt, the “school parent” in this household.
It makes sense. I used to be a classroom teacher and I still teach part-time. I stay home full-time with the kids and my teaching is done from home. I get the kids to and from school, I do the conferences, I do the projects, the permission slips, the “draw-your-self-portrait-and-decorate-it-creatively” activities, etc. etc. etc.
Enter: The Weekly “Communicator” (i.e. the school folder, i.e. the Messenger of Doom).
Do you have this in your district?
This is the folder that comes home every single week (on Wednesdays, for us). It contains important stuff, cool stuff, and garbage advertisements no one cares about. The parent signs it and it goes back to school. Repeat weekly until you die.
Our oldest is in his second year of elementary school. On October 31, when the folder was sitting on the counter, my darling husband said to me, “What is that?”
In disbelief, I stared at him. I blinked awkwardly, confused, like a deer in the headlights. I waited for him to say, “Just kidding!” or “No, not THAT folder, I’m talking about the OTHER thing on the counter.” He said none of those things. He was, in fact, asking about the folder.
Oct. 31st marked (approximately) the 47th time this blessed folder had come home for “our” review.
I laughed. And laughed and laughed. I laughed so hard that I did that thing where you start to look like a crazy person because tears are coming down, you can’t breathe, and what happened isn’t actually that funny (This happens to me a lot. What can I say? Apparently, I am very easy to amuse.).
For all the moms (or dads) who are the “school parent” in your household—fist bump! If you’re wondering why it’s so hard to keep all the activities and commitments straight, I empathize completely. Our brains are no longer in school-mode – we graduated elementary school decades ago, and we left some of our brain cells behind. I don’t know why remembering to sign a folder each week is so challenging, but it is. We are doing the best we can – and sometimes that best doesn’t look so hot.
To the teachers, we apologize. We’re trying. We really are. That half-@$$ed “disguised” turkey project really isn’t half-@$$ed. It was our best effort. Plus, we are trying to raise kids who are responsible for their own stuff, so we smiled and nodded while our kid cut and scribbled and insisted that the turkey “looks like” a police officer. We made sure no one died at the hands of those scissors, and that actually took a lot of work.
As we push on with No-School November, and then move into Even-Less-School December, I just want to say: School Parents, I salute you.
And school teachers? I absolutely adore you.
For more honest talk about parenthood, follow The Wild, Wild West.