Tuesday, September 22, 2009

just call me the meanest mom in the world...

We've been working on structure and organization in our house.
It's part of getting into the rhythm of the school year, but also to get the kids into taking responsibility for getting ready in the mornings and getting their things together.

And for B and me, too, this has been an undertaking. Making sure keys, wallets, and communication is in the right spot, grocery lists are filled out, and that lunches are made.

In my unemployed state, I've gone completely OCD.

I've put a significant amount of time into this project. I talked with Sam's teacher and that unlike last year, this year I would not be driving forgotten schoolwork or books to school. I sat with the kids and made checklists for the mornings and evenings, and together we even decorated them with their fave characters.

We go over the reasons why it's important for them to take charge of their own things, and to take care of their schoolwork and belongings.

But week three of school has been our undoing.

Yesterday, Sam forgot his glasses at home and called me from the office at school.

"Mom, can you bring me my glasses?" He asks nonchalantly.

"Seriously, Samuel," I start. "Haven't we gone over and over you getting your stuff together?"

"Mom, I can't see."

Fine. I bring him his glasses. The kid can't see. And when I get to his school, his teacher confirms the fact that yes, he really needs his glasses.

This morning, I double efforts.
"Everybody sure their backpacks are ready?" I ask. Tali nods seriously. Sam hmmms and continues drawing pictures of baseball players.

And then not five minutes after their carpool takes off, I get the phonecall.

"Mom, I left my book on the table."

I see it, sitting right next to his drawing of Ichiro.

"That's not so good," I tell him.

"But the good thing is school hasn't started yet," he tells me. "You could bring it over now."

And I tell him no. He gets upset and angry with me. He tells me he's going to be in trouble. And when I repeat that I cannot bring it to him, he gets quiet. I know there will be consequences for forgetting his book again.

I know I'm doing the right thing. I know I'm teaching him something. I know I'm not supposed to be his best friend.

Too bad the right thing feels completely crappy...


Juliet Grossman said...

I'm a "mean mom" too (Love & Logic - you've probably heard about it or even read the book, and if you haven't, I highly recommend it!)

Don't be surprised if you find that teachers and other grownups jump in and save your kids in a misguided attempt to help. Last year I wanted Eva to feel the consequences of not doing her homework, which (technically) is being "benched" from recess and doing it during that time. She forgot, she was worried and upset, and I thought, "Great! She'll learn an important lesson." (She'd forgotten to bring the assignment home from school the previous day so she wasn't able to do her homework.)

But no....the teacher didn't "bench" her and I learned that they really never do it. So no consequence, and she was happy she "got away with" something. Grr. I wish she'd been benched! Better to miss recess once in first grade and learn an important lesson about responsibility at that age than to flunk out of college or get fired from a job later on.

Julie T. said...

Great post, Amy. I struggle with this sort of thing, too. My daughter is a high-strung Type A who would NEVER forget something at home, lives to be organized (she's destined to be a bureaucrat) but the boy...sigh. The boy is too dreamy: forgets to put his shoes on half the time. He tries to be organized, I try to help him...alas. Fortunately at his school, they do bench. I agree it sucks to be the heavy, but it really is for their own good.
I can't believe I just wrote that. I sound like my mom...

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Ilia said...

WOW..we're going through the same thing. Was told by another parent (with a boy) that boys often do poorly in English class because of their inability to organize. Harder for them to write essays and put their thoughts on paper in a sequential manner. She thought boys should be graded differently than girls because of this flaw (?) in their genetic makeup. She did say, however, that most of the boys did better in math. Are there more female or male bloggers??

Daisy said...

At least you didn't blame the teacher for the forgotten glasses. Don't laugh; I was blamed for a kid not wearing his glasses in my class, even though he'd left them (as usual) at his dad's house. Grrrr.