The guilt... THE GUILT!
OK, today I feel like the worst mommy in the world. M had her first big school project due today and we TOTALLY FORGOT! After all the reminders from the teacher to plan out the steps to completion, and not leave the whole thing until the last minute, Madeline was up until 9:30 last night (2 hours past regular bedtime) trying to get it done.
I have many excuses as to why this happened. Last year's teacher never assigned any homework on the weekends, bless her heart, so we are totally out of practice in even thinking about schoolwork after Friday. I was out of town last weekend, and Clark was out of town the weekend before, and we really just needed a quiet couple of days at home. She was so panicked about the whole thing and scheduling that when we did sit down with her planner, she would only plan out the rough draft stages. And on, and on... Bottom line is, I suck.
The project was to create a cereal box based on the book they read for their report. They had to make up the cereal brand, create a game for the back of the box, describe the characters on one side of the box (ingredients), give a summary on the other side, and create a 2 minute commercial advertising their product. Cute idea, and I was excited that it was something she could show her creativity on. So, I was in the cereal aisle in the grocery store yesterday afternoon, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. By the time I got home, it was less than 3 hours until bedtime, hadn't had dinner yet, and hadn't started the final project AT ALL.
I wasn't completely panicked yet, as she had done the rough drafts, and we had a pretty detailed instruction sheet to help us along, so I asked her to get out her folder so we could see where we were at. See where this is going? Yep, the folder was in her desk... at school. So now, not only are we trying to do this at the last possible minute, we don't have the rough drafts or the instructions. This was the point at which I felt like throwing up or crying or maybe both. Of course, as the parent, you can't show your child these emotions, you have to maintain control, reassure her that she can do it, and get the damn thing done already.
She did a pretty good job getting through the creation of the box, after I talked her down from her own guilt and panic at not having remembered about all this either, although I have to confess I helped with the cutting and pasting probably more than I should have. Then we moved on to the commercial. This was the part I absolutely didn't remember the instructions, but she assured me she knew what to do, and that it needed to be 1 to 1 & 1/2 minutes long, although she didn't tell me until 9:00 that it was supposed to be completely memorized. At this point, she was so exhausted, and just over it, we worked on memorization for about 30 minutes before we had to give up.
I got her up early today to work on the memorization again for awhile, and she did seem to have most of it down. I drove her to school and went down to her classroom to check the instructions and make sure there wasn't anything glaring that we had missed. What we would have done at that point if there had been, I don't know, but the only thing we were really off on was that the commercial was supposed to be 2 minutes. Well... we were happy that we had made it to a minute, so I guess she'll just have to take the grade cut on that.
I gotta say, I haven't had a parenting failure of this magnitude in awhile. It was certainly an eye opener, and a wake up call. I've been going through some real insecurities about parenting an older child, and have been unfairly judgmental of my husband, and myself I guess, about expecting perfect parenting. This has undoubtedly yanked me down off my high horse, and I am feeling humbled and sorry about that.
The more my big girl is growing up and becoming more and more complex and independent, my fears just keep growing with her. I want so badly to do everything I can to set her up for success in the world, and at the same time I am realizing that so much is out of my control. I crave the days when she was little, and even though it was a lot of work, it was my work and I was in control of what happened in her world. It is just excruciatingly difficult to let go of that control. I fear the ways in which my imperfections and inadequacies will affect her and her continued development. I know everyone at some point blames their mother for something, and I am trying to surrender to the fact that that is inevitable, but even thinking about that happening in the future feels like a knife in the heart.
All those people who say it gets easier when your kids get older don't know shit.