When I started back to work last January, I spent the first few months thinking I had everything amazingly under control. Really. Work…two kids…this was doable. What’s all that complaining I hear about how hard it is to manage and juggle everything? This was going to work out just fine!
Then one day – I think it was this fall when Ian started kindergarten – I had some random minor breakdown in the car or something when I realized….okay, maybe this is not as “fine” as I thought it was and in fact, it is, kind of hard.
Of course the next thing you always hear is how kids #2, #3, #4, etc. etc. get increasingly less attention than the first one did. Of course – not me! Both of my kids were going to always get equal attention. Well, if that were true then perhaps I would not currently feel like the most negligent. parent. EVER. I mean, I’ve so had three strikes with poor Elena that I’m surprised St. Andrews hasn’t called CPS on us yet. And, all within the month of November.
The first offense was on November 1 when I dropped her off at daycare post-Halloween. Jeff usually takes her but he was out of town so I was on double duty. As is typical, I was already late and running down the hall debating whether I could take the time to help her wash her hands like I was supposed to. No sooner did I pass the first classroom and see the poster clearly advertising “School Picture Day: November 1!” than I quickly glanced around and also noticed that many little ones had on their best duds. Ugh. Now, no doubt Elena has some best duds, but was she wearing them that day? No, she most definitely was not. Not to mention that she still had a peanut butter souvenir stuck to the side of her mouth. After doing the “ah, crap” thing underneath my breath, my second thought is that it’s just daycare and we never did much with Ian’s pictures anyway when he was there. But still, it’s like a recording of her time there…(“Ah, crap” came to mind again.) My next thought was how this was not like me to lose track of something like this…followed by my very next thought which was that it was mostly Jeff’s fault since he has more contact there than I do these days and he should have reminded me. My justifications still didn’t make me feel like I hadn’t totally dropped the ball on this one. Strike One.
A few days later there was a sign-up sheet outside Elena’s room for parent/teacher conferences. I signed us up for first thing November 9, even though in the back of my mind I was thinking, “What are we going to talk about? How she’s doing in finger painting?” Quite different from the four-page list of questions I would have gone in there with for Ian… Still, I was anxious to get some face time with Teacher Jeremy and demonstrate that we/I was an involved parent/mother! Fast forward to the morning before our movers were showing up. Jeff returns home from dropping off the kids and Maria and I were already knee-deep in boxes and paper. He says, “Guess what we were scheduled for at 9 a.m. this morning?” Immediately, I knew. “Oh geez…Elena’s conference.” Ugh. We totally suck! Jeff tries to reassure me that all is fine by telling me that he explained to Jeremy that we weren’t going to be able to make it because we had this “sudden” move come up, at which point he kindly acts like it’s no big deal and offers to reschedule with us sometime. (In the back of his mind no doubt he’s making a mental note to look up the CPS phone number, just in case….) Strike Two.
So, fast forward to tonight when I’m driving in the dark, pouring rain to retrieve Elena after work when suddenly I remember about the pumpkin pie social that St. Andrews always holds the day before Thanksgiving for parents to come in the afternoon and share pie with their kids in the classroom. I’m thinking that I can probably scoot out from work a bit early tomorrow and make this event, so I say to myself, “Finally! My chance to show up for something and redeem myself!” As I’m helping Elena get her shoes on, I ask the teacher who watches Elena after 5pm, “The pumpkin social is tomorrow, right? What time does it start?” “Um no, actually it was today…” Ahhhh! Not again!! Now feeling like a completely inadequate loser and remembering back to a point in time not too long ago when I just would never have engaged in behavior like this – much less multiple times – I can think of nothing else to do except start apologizing for what a completely crummy parent I am. Then, I run across the assistant director who was just trying to bid Elena and I a good night and I start profusely apologizing to her, too. I think she was a bit confused and just thought I was weird. Not the first time, I’m sure. Anyway – Strike Three.
Oh, and there was kind of a fourth time the other day when I got an email from the director because we had forgotten to pay for Elena’s make-a-plate project we signed her up for.
Seriously, could I be any more disorganized? So much for having everything under control. After we pulled out of the parking lot I decided that it’s going to be my 2012 New Year’s resolution to pull myself together…and maybe keep a better calendar.
PS – The kids at St. Andrews recently got their pictures back…of course we just received a sheet in Elena’s folder that said,”no order.” But of course being the enterprising small business people they are, luckily there was an option to place a post-picture order. So now we’ll have a few pictures of Elena that can go in the memory box with Ian’s.
awww Melinda this is a sweet post! And knowing you I can imagine how this eats you up inside. But take it from a second child. At this age we don’t remember, we don’t know any different. Our lives growing up is normal to us rather than comparative. BUT – the comparison does start to show when you get older so by then I am confident you will be rock start of the year which you are already anyway!!!!
In the end, it’s the love that counts. But thanks for relating your parenting woes and making all the rest of us feel pretty good, too. We’ve all been there, and somehow they turn out ok!
It’s not like you had anything extra on your plate during November! I can assure you that Elena is none the worse for wear — in fact, she is thriving. I’m sure she feels no lack of love or parental care in her life. It will never be easy for either you or Jeff to have full time careers while helping your two kids grow into happy, responsible adults; but it will surely help to have all the crises related to the sale/rental and purchase of houses behind you!