How NOT to be THAT Mom
I think most of the nations kids are now officially back to school. My facebook, which shows friends from across the country, have all featured their First Day of School picture, so I think this is time to have a talk with all of you. Maybe some of you are sending your first little one off into the world. Maybe you’re an old pro at this back to school thing, but there’s one thing you don’t want to be.
You don’t want to be THAT Mom. We all know her. We all have seen her at the school or posting on facebook and generally NOT being a partner with her school community. I want to help you have a great school year with your child and you do that by not being THAT Mom.
1)Realize your child isn’t perfect
This is hard, ladies and gents, but our little angels aren’t always. Acknowledging to yourself that your sweet little person can also be bossy, rude or a PITA will go along way in communication with the school if there’s an incident. You know what your kid is like, be honest about that when you need to be. For instance, we have had to tell Baby Bee’s teachers that we know she can be difficult sometimes. Why? Because we don’t do her or us or her teacher any favors by pretending she can’t be extremely inflexible at times. If we want the teacher to be able to teach her to the best of their ability we need to be at least a little bit honest about her shortcomings. Because…
2) Your child’s teacher is your partner
There will always be someone who has a “bad teacher” story. Mine was in sixth grade. She was a former nun and she was a nightmare. It was the worst year of school I ever had. She was impatient and mean. But, for most teachers in most situations, they want to partner with you to help your child. Be that partner. Reinforce, to the best of your ability. You won’t always agree, but just how you sometimes may not agree with your life partner (husband, wife, baby daddy, whatever) you still need to be supportive of their authority to the best of your ability. If your teacher asks for something to be done a specific way or for a specific time, try your best to do it. Teacher’s don’t need you to be perfect, but effort matters. And on that note…
3) Make sure your child does his/her homework
Homework has gotten super controversial these days with some school districts even “banning” homework. I think that’s silly. While I’m not advocating “too much” homework, some isn’t a bad thing. It’s important for some of these lessons to be practiced at home and it’s important for parents to take an active role in their child’s education. Limited homework accomplishes that. And you know what? When children aren’t worked with at home via their homework, it is obvious. You aren’t pulling one over on anyone by shunning limited amounts of reasonable homework. If you think your child is receiving too much homework (a good rule of thumb is 10 minutes per grade) it’s time to talk with your teacher. Which leads me to…
4) Talk to your kids teacher first.
Problems arise. We all know they do, but your teacher will spend nearly as much time with your child over the course of the school week that you will. Instead of getting irritated and running to social media, reach out to your child’s teacher and give them an opportunity to explain what has happened. This goes back to point one, but even if your child isn’t lying sometimes children don’t accurately interpret things correctly. Again, not calling kids liars (though some kids are), but kids don’t always grasp the full situation. Talk to your kids’ teachers before you get mad, or rant on social media about something silly. Don’t be afraid to take that up the chain if you don’t get the answers or response you need, but for the love of mike, start with your child’s teacher!
5) For the love of God respect the drop off line process
This is not really a problem at my kids school, but I have not fond memories of drop off line at the Princess’s Catholic school. There was one parent who, essentially, would get out of her car and groom her children before sending them off to school while ten cars waited behind her to be able to drop their kids off at the designated spot. It was infuriating (and I had very non-charitable thoughts about her, which was very un-Catholic of me). If your child is incapable of undoing his/her seat restraints and opening and closing his/her own door, park your damn car. I know, that takes longer. It really does, but we are all in a rush in the morning. We’re all running on a tight margin and if you can’t follow drop off/pick up procedure quit inconveniencing others and park your car.
6) Volunteer as much as you can
I know that most families need to parents to work these days to make ends meet and that can make regular volunteering as the school very difficult. But, there is typically a lot of need and you might be able to slot into to something that doesn’t require you to be on campus during work hours. Can you bake cupcakes? Provide coffee for teacher appreciation? Maybe your child’s teacher needs help cutting things out for the bulletin board or another project and that can be sent home with your child. Perhaps you can chaperone an evening dance? There is always a lot of need and not always enough willing hands. Since our book fair has a community shopping time, there is always help needed for that evening. Reach out to people. Write a letter to your kids teachers. Drop an e-mail to the PTO. Invest where and how you can. It’s worth it.