I am wholly unprepared to be a parent.
And yes, I'm pretty sure I might be thinking about adopting that as my mothering motto.
It’s not an uncommon feeling for a lot of parents, I know.
It’s something that you might expect to hear from someone about to have their first baby, maybe. But not someone who's already a parent, right?!
Let alone the somewhat seasoned parent of a 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.
You’d think I’d at least have some parts of this parenting gig down pat by now.
But if I thought I was a less-than-adequate mom before, then things are about to get really interesting, really fast.
My daughter is heading to high school in the fall. And I just spent the morning in High School 101 Hell.
When the other moms started texting about the merits of having their kids tested to determine whether or not they can place into a higher level of science, my response was, “Slacker mom over here didn’t even know that was an option. Ugh.”
And I truly didn’t! My daughter took an entrance exam for her school and they also have her state testing scores, so I simply assumed that they would place her in the most appropriate class, right? It seriously wasn’t even on my radar to think otherwise.
Until I got the text from all the other moms who know what the hell they’re doing. Which---if I were 100% honest---is how I learn about most things these days.
(This is when I digress to humbly apologize to the person who invented texting---for cursing them out All The Times my daughter decides to make plans for herself, and then it falls to me to figure out the details with the other moms. Because I really and truly hate that part of texting---the part where it’s used to plan my daughter’s social calendar, and mine looks pathetic in comparison. But THIS?! This is a useful reason to have texting! To learn things that have probably been emailed to me by the high school, but that I clearly couldn’t be bothered with until my mom friends filled me in. Thank you, Texting Gods.)
It also wasn’t until I received a Sign-Up Genius email a few weeks ago from my daughter’s dance team moms that I learned the moms usually arrange ahead of time to all bring lunch to the dance competitions. That way, the girls are well-fed in between dances and don’t have to go anywhere to find food and then get back to the competition.
By the time I got that particular email, I had no time for a grocery or Costco run, and had to rely on a dear friend to donate food for my family as well as hers. She also booked the hotel rooms for us. And brought the wine. For the love. (And yes, she is my favorite person ever.)
And the baseball mom stuff? It hasn’t even hit me yet---only because we’ve had to divide and conquer every weekend…the boys going to baseball and the girls going to dance. But I can feel it coming...
The same slacker status that I have everywhere else. Only this time it will be baseball moms, instead of dance moms, high school moms, or swim team moms.
Not to mention volunteering at my kids’ school. Every year, all parents commit to volunteering 40 hours per family at the school in various functions: library, carpool, lunch/recess, special events, etc.
But this year, I couldn't make it happen. I didn’t have a single spare hour in my schedule every week to donate to the school. And now it’s the end of the school year and I am scrambling.
What. The. Hell. Happened?!
Why have I been able to keep this commitment in the past and not this year? I’m not sure exactly when this all happened.
I used to be on top of things! I used to be a high-performer---at least in the work world. So, what the heck happened to cause my status to sink to Slacker Mom in all these areas?
I can only assume it’s been caused by two things: my kids are getting a whole lot busier---and I am getting a whole lot worse at multi-tasking.
Between the uptick in extracurricular time commitments, my work. and an added apprenticeship, I have lost all control. (And I kind of like having control.)
Now please understand, my kids are not over-scheduled. In fact, they are probably less active in extracurricular activities than the majority of their friends. But it seems like time commitments for even one activity increase at their ages.
Where my son used to play basketball once a week---a 45-minute practice before a 45-minute game---now he practices baseball Friday night and then has games on both Saturday and Sunday, with a quick hour of practice before each 2-hour game. And he’s in the lowest level of the competitive league.
And my daughter---who started dancing only a year ago---is now dancing three nights a week---and only has five performances/competitions a year. Again, this is a beginner we’re talking about.
So clearly, it’s time.
Time for me to step up my parenting game.
Time for me to level up beyond this Beginner Parent status of mine and take frickin’ charge.
Because all those other parents whose coattails I’ve been riding? I’m pretty sure they’re going to get tired of it, sooner rather than later. They’ve done more than their fair share, and certainly don’t need to be holding my hand all the way through my daughter’s high school years.
And if I can’t figure out now how and why the math and science classes my daughter has been assigned are related to each other---and the rest of her high school career---what hope do I have for teaching her how to manage the same during her college career?
Maybe if I can show my kids how it’s done, they can take over.
They’d definitely do a better job than me, anyway.