Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's Never Too Late To Get Involved



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.

Can't win.

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."


43 comments:

  1. Fine points. I refuse to beat myself up anymore. When so much of my life is devoted to the happiness and well-being of others, I just can't be bothered with how imperfect my efforts are. I suck at this, but I try. Every day. With love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Marianne. That's what made me sit down and post this. I had had it with the last magazine headline on how we don't do enough.

      Really? Because I don't fall asleep at night, I pass of from the fatigue of "not doing enough."

      Delete
  2. love this list. didn't think i did too well today, but i'll do better tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I needed to read this. Thank you, my friend. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay for friends that get it, right, sweet A?

      xo

      Delete
  4. I was one of those that sacrificed my life for my kids. I was there 24/7, 365, everything was for them. When they grew up and moved away, I had no idea who I was, if I wasn't mothering them. I still have no idea! Not only that, to hear them talk, I was too involved, too protective and smothered them. Ungrateful turds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would LOVE to read a post on this, what you've learned. So many of us in the trenches have magazines and news reports shouting at us GIVE MORE! GIVE MORE!

      Delete
  5. Oops... sorry about that! (above) I may have had a moment of clarity and now I shall go back to my fuzzy moments of thinking I was supermom.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post I needed today. I spent two great hours with my daughter this AM and then later came down on her for something that was, really, a bad move that needed a consequence. I felt like I had "ruined" our earlier time together, and then remembered I'm a human. And so is she. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think THEY love seeing we're human.

      That's what I tell myself.

      xo

      Delete
  7. key thing...be involved....show them you care...and thta def does not mean give them everything....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes.

      That's how I feel, b/c life will come along and I'd for their first lesson to be when they're on their own, and oh so far away.

      Delete
  8. I have a simple theory for raising capable, independent and socially responsible children who care for themselves and others.

    Love them more, but sometimes *care* a little bit less.

    I don't mean forgo medical appointments, or dinner 5 nights oout of seven. I mean let them handle disappointment and provide assistance from a distance.

    Good list, A.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right?

      back of a little and let them be.

      xo

      Delete
  9. I'm not a parent but I can say that I am able to be friends with my parents now that I'm an adult because they always made it known that I wasn't alone and could come to them for anything, they always came through when I asked them to but they were never pushy and never had a "superior" attitude toward me. I opened up to them about my life because they made it fun, they were approachable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, young thing: for still being so close to that fire that you remind us what it's like to be what we need to be.

      I pray I will always be approachable, and that my children feel safe with me FOR ANYTHING.

      ANYTHING.
      xo

      Delete
  10. I love this quiz! I am going to print it out and stick it up in my kitchen to remind myself that I may not be perfect, but I'm not so bad either ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unless we're drinking Jim Beam straight out of the bottle and flicking ashes in our child's faces while blasting 50 cent, we're not that bad, are we?

      Delete
    2. Yeah, but...um...which one of those three is the worst? Asking for a friend.

      Delete
  11. You know, I don't think my mother worried so much about whether she was doing it "right." She made sure we were clean and healthy, and that we did our homework and that she kissed us goodnight, and she figured that was enough, and you know what? It was. I think Mommy Guilt has plagued our generation of mothers long enough.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you so much for this. I really need it. It is hard to be one of the only non-SAHMs in my kids' classes because the other mothers have so much more time than I do to volunteer in the classroom, etc. But I never skip reading to them at night, or the little conversations-after-lights-out that are so dear at tuck-in time. And I volunteer once a month to be an "art mom" in each class. And I try really hard to let them be in on the conversations about how we all have to do this together (whether that's housework, or apologizing when we make mistakes, or whatever it is). It's nice to have a reminder that being a purposeful parent is what really counts. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw... I feel like we didn't get enough time to talk. Email me??

      Delete
  13. It really is quite, simple, no? Well said, Alexandra. xo

    ReplyDelete
  14. This quiz is so much better than the Cosmo ones I used to take.

    Plus I am giving myself an extra 100 points for finally realizing that my 13 year old has no desire to listen to my advice on how to perform an overhand volleyball serve and that it's OKAY, I can let her screw it up (come to think of it, I will add another 50 points for not saying 'I told you so').

    ReplyDelete
  15. Finally, a realistic quiz and one that can make us proud as mothers, even though we're not always so-called perfect. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Once again, your timing is superb, as I had just convinced myself yesterday that I was in fact doing a terrible job as a mother...not as a mom, but as a mother. I see here that I have racked up enough points to sleep tonight. (But I am still an awful wife)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yes! I love this!

    A zillion points to you, btw.

    XOXO

    A.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for this. I love it. How to feel comfortable in your mom skin in the age of the information superhighway? Get off at the next exit and take this quiz. That's how. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh, I needed this! These days, it does seem like you're either a helicopter parent or one of those shameless failures who can't keep their kids quiet on an airplane. (The horrors!) You're right, you just can't win.

    But at least you can laugh about it! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Woohoo! 2,300 points. I kicked my hubby's behind! LOL! I don't beat myself up. The only thing that I even consider beating myself up on is not going out and enjoying "nature" more. We stay home a lot. Otherwise, to those who judge, who cares...

    ReplyDelete
  21. hell to the yes on this post. and to the commenter who mentioned her mother - my mom looks at those of us who have decided that "parent" is a verb, not a noun, and she sort of laughs & winces at the same time. We are raising people, not orchids, and nothing grows very well in the long shadow of something else. We should all stop shadowing our kids & let them be in their own air. Well done, Empress. (as usual)

    ReplyDelete
  22. My daughter knew the down and dirty of my epic parenting failures. It brought us closer as she got older. I may have been negative in points, but she turned out amazing. Maybe, I get points for that? Love the quote at the end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely sooooperstar points for that:: being human.

      Delete
  23. I think I am a superduperstar mom now!

    ReplyDelete
  24. So if I can learn to shut my mouth more I can keep pretending our school doesn't give grades?

    My mom's a "what were you thinking" gal and my new goal is to never think, let alone say that. So now I can do the Jim Beam thing, right?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hear hear. I subscribe to a Huffington Post parenting Facebook page and more than once I've been tempted to unsubscribe, since there is always one thing or another in there about how we are doing it all wrong, and a lot of it is just sensationalized to get a reaction. I'm tired of all the labels too - Helicopter Parents, Tiger Mom, Lawn Mower Parents, etc.

    I like your quiz, because I think I did well!

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails