I Don't Want to be THAT Mom, But...
It’s the last week of school for us and there is so much that has happened over the last couple of months to lead us into summer— Mazzy’s performance in Willy Wonka, Harlow’s dance recitals, class breakfasts, teacher gifts, final projects, packing for camp… It’s so much stuff that I’m having trouble picking what I want to write about today. Plus, I think many of you got your year end subscription renewal for Apparently, so I’d kinda like to call attention to my one year anniversary. Can you believe it’s officially been a year?? I hope you guys continue to stick around!
After some thought, I think I want to set aside all the end of the year craziness to talk about something that happened yesterday that took me by surprise. I’ll start by saying, we have had a good year but not the easiest year, and due to many different factors, I started seriously questioning my ability to parent my kids effectively. It’s like I’ve made a living out of saying, it’s okay to be a “remarkably average parent,” but as the kids get older and some of that averageness has real world consequences (like the fact that I don’t know if I have it in me to plan a Bat Mitzvah and help Mazzy apply to high schools at the same time), I started losing sleep over it. Like, maybe I’ve had it wrong and being average is obviously not good enough when it comes to raising the little people you love most in the world? But then, yesterday something had me questioning the fact that was questioning myself…
Harlow won an award.
It was kind of a big deal.
Her school has something they call their “five core values,” which are kindness, integrity, responsibility, perseverance and respect. At the end of the year, they pick five students who they feel exemplify each of the core values, one for each value.
Harlow won the “responsibility” award.
When she came home and showed me, it was clear how proud she was of this accomplishment. She told me that when they called the name of the winner, she was applauding for whoever it was and it took her a second to realize that it was her name that was called. I was proud too, but part of me wondered what she had done in class exactly that had earned her this special recognition.
I attempted to explain to her why it made sense for her to win the “responsibility” award. I said, “maybe because you are always so good about getting all your homework done.” She said, “No, mom, everyone gets their homework done.” Then I tried, “Well maybe it’s because you feel like it’s your responsibility to be nice and inclusive to all of your classmates.” To which she replied, “No, mom. That’s kindness.” Then she kinda rolled her eyes at me and left the room. I figured I would email her teacher and ask for some more information.
As I was mid-email, it hit me.
Harlow, who sets her alarm for 6am, gets herself dressed with the clothes she lays out the night before, and makes her own breakfast, so that when I wake up at 6:15am, she is already sitting at the table eating, pretty much ready to go.
Harlow, who wakes her dad up every morning to make sure he has enough time to shower before they leave the house to go to school.
Harlow, who helped me set the table for Passover to make sure it was “special enough for such an important holiday” and made me take her to the store to get plastic eggs and candy before they sold out of all the Easter stuff, so that we could make an egg hunt for her little cousins.
Harlow, who voluntarily puts together snack plates every time we have company over.
Harlow, who sometimes makes Mazzy breakfast when I am running around and short on time.
Harlow, who reminds everyone of each other’s birthdays so that we have ample time to get cards and presents.
Harlow, who makes sure we have all the ingredients for pancakes a few days before so that she can wake up extra early to make Mike and I breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Harlow, who always answers “yes” when I ask her if she has the right shoes in her bag for her various after school activities.
Harlow, who always volunteers to use her own money when buying gifts for her friends.
Harlow, who when she didn’t have enough on her Target gift card to buy a gift for her friend, pulled a second Target gift card from her wallet.
Harlow, who sat there labeling her camp clothes while she waited to leave for school this morning.
Harlow who reminds me when she needs money for the book fair, paper towel holders for school projects, a hair tie for gymnastics, and every other little thing that might normally slip off my radar.
Holy crap, is Harlow responsible.
So responsible, that we often get annoyed with her that she is rushing us in the morning when we have more than enough time to get her to school before it starts. So responsible, that Mazzy often gets mad because she thinks her little sister is trying to make her look bad. So responsible, that one reason I took her to see a therapist is because I felt like she didn’t trust me to do what I was supposed to do as her mother on my own.
Here I was thinking this was a problem when actually Harlow is showing a level of responsibility and conscientiousness that is getting her recognized at school.
And she’s kinda right not to trust me. I have messed up and forgotten things plenty of times. I would be about the last person to win a “responsibility” award. Maybe I should be thanking her for helping me keep on top of things rather than getting annoyed that she thinks I need her assistance? Isn’t that like parenting 101? Teaching your kids to know that it’s okay to ask for help?
When I mentioned on my Instagram story that Harlow had an entire month of theme days leading up to the last day of school, everyone left me direct messages saying things like— “Wow. That sounds like a lot of unnecessary work for the parents!”
To which I said, “it’s actually no work at all. Harlow taped a calendar on her wall with all the days listed and she plans out all her outfits ahead of time, on her own, so it’s really no work for me whatsoever.”
HOW DID I SOMEHOW MISS THAT THIS WAS REMARKABLY ABOVE AVERAGE????
Yep, I got super lucky with having such a responsible kid. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize it sooner. That’s probably because she didn’t get it from me!
Take a moment to acknowledge something special about your kids. If your school was handing out core value awards (could be the ones I listed or any other value), which one would your kids get?
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