I became THAT parent a while ago. I can’t believe I did this and waited to post because I had to be sure I wanted to go public with my actions.
Well, here goes:
M1 called from school, “Mom. I forgot (my project) at home. Can you bring it to school for me?”
Deer in the headlights.
Here’s what ran through my head as I froze on the other end of the phone: He’d worked on the project last night. I’d offered constructive criticism and forced him to work a little harder. He did the project all on his own. He did a good job and he was proud of himself. I’d patted myself on the back for not assisting him at all in the process. (I’m not THAT kind of mom. You can spot those projects a mile away.) I was exactly the kind of parent I wanted to be…last night.
Today’s another day.
Here’s where I got stuck: He was working with another student on this project. Others were counting on him for their grade.
“You know I shouldn’t do this, but I will.”
Commence kicking myself for the next three hours. Last night I wasn’t THAT parent. Today I became THAT parent.
I took the project to school with a note attached reading “For the irresponsible student, M1.” I walked into the office proclaiming, “I’m here to drop this off for my son and I promise to all of you sitting here I will NEVER do this again.” The folks sitting there gave me a look like they’d heard that one before.
I proceeded to the Student Services desk -the area set aside in the office for these sorts of things. The school employee working behind the desk read the note attached to the project and asked, “You want this attached when he picks this up?” She looked surprised and also a bit appalled at my parenting tactics. (I recognize this look, unfortunately.)
I left the project behind and walked out. Kicking myself all the way to the car.
I realized I should have added this to the bottom of the note: “From his Enabling Mother”.
Shaming my son into changing his behavior is absolutely counter-productive. I needed to own my part in this process. I said yes, when I should have said no.
We discussed this entire situation when M1 got home. And I wrote my addition down at the bottom of the note. (He brought the note home with him because he thought it was funny and wanted to put it up on our Brag Wall. I love that kid.)
He also told me what happened when he picked up his project. The woman behind the Student Services counter told him something like, “Your mom is grumpy!” He defended me to her saying, “No she’s not. I shouldn’t have called her.” RIGHT ON! M1 stuck up for me and owned his actions. THAT’S MY BOY!
He knows I won’t help him like this again. He’ll need to figure out a way to fix his problem on his own next time. It’s not about me being mean, or grumpy or shaming him. It’s about him learning responsibility.
For me, this presented one more chance for me to walk a mile in THOSE parent’s shoes. After walking in them, I realized (once again) they hurt when they kick me in the a** and I don’t like wearing them. But we all do it and I won’t judge the folks who do wear them. We’re all just doing the best we can with the tools we have available to us at the time.
Be warned, M2 and M3. Your brother and I are figuring this out and I’m learning right along with him how to navigate this road.