Every day on twitter, facebook, pinterest, in magazines, on television, the radio, there is some guilt-producing mass message about HOW WE ARE FAILING OUR CHILDREN! How the internet and iPhones and our instant access to other adults has taken us away from where our time should be spent - down on the floor in eye-to-eye contact with the pieces of our heart that walk around outside of our bodies - the children we adore.
We can't win. If we dedicate ourselves too much, we're told to develop a fulfilling interest and get a life. If we decide to go get that life, we're told to get back down on that rug and play that ninth round of Candy Land.
I know, that in my life, I take contrived comfort from lists, quizzes, checklists, how-tos; that tell me - well, how to strike that balance and be a parent with a life as well as a parent who is in their child's life. But some of the quizzes I've taken either leave me feeling I'm about as life-achieving as a sloth in its seventh year, or as detached of a parent as Miranda Priestly.
It's times like these that I take matters into my own hands and design my own reality. What else is there to do? When research studies show that involved parents have healthier parent-child relationships and that their kids do better in school and in life, I gotta come up with a quiz that assures me that all is well on the homefront. So, I have come up with this, for me, and for you:
My Quiz To Tell You You Iz Doing A Good Job at Home:
--You support your child's learning by allowing him to do his homework at home. *give yourself 100 points
--You wonder if it's too late to become involved and worry about this. *give yourself 100 points for caring
--You ask your child how school is going. *give yourself 100 points for being involved in your child's life
--You tell your child "good job!" when he brings home good grades. *give yourself 100 points for being supportive
--You volunteer in some sort of capacity that involves your child, like lunchroom duty or Career Day: What a SAHM Does. *give yourself 100 points for selflessly giving of potential internet time
--You read aloud to your child, book-magazine-newspaper, doesn't matter. *give yourself 100 points for parent/child bonding
--You let your child know that effort counts more than anything else. *give yourself 100 points for being the cheerleader that everyone needs in their life
--You talk about disappointments and setbacks and the less than stellar moments in your life. Sure, being called Olive Oyl hurt way back when, when I was thirteen-years-old and 5 foot 6, 102 lbs., but I got over it. *give yourself 100 points for showing you're human and haven't always been the perfect that they see you as
--You pay attention to your children's facebook friends, the texts they send out, what they do on the computer with who, and who they walk home with from school. *give yourself 500 points for secret spy ninja abilities and keeping them safe
--When your child makes a mistake, you listen with open arms and a shut mouth, never asking, "What were you thinking??" *give yourself 8,000 superstar points (the very best kind of points)
--You let your children know, that - just as they try to do their best - you, also try to do your best. So, if you're on the computer or your phone a little longer than usual some days, it's what's in your heart that counts. Make some strawberry shortcake, extra cream, and make it all better. For everyone. *give yourself 1,000 points for a rousing "we're all in this together."
"One hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much I had in my bank account, or what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child."