Dear Teacher

Dear Teacher,

Now that the first weeks of school have shifted from excited anxiety to routine, I wanted to take a moment to welcome you back. You may be happy to be back at work, or you may not, and I get that. Nobody wants their holiday to end, and I don’t expect you to be different from the rest of the workforce in that regard.

Yet, I have high expectations of you while you are at work. You see, the most precious part of my life is now in your care again, for seven hours each day, five days a week, for the next ten months. She’s with you now more than she’s with me. That’s a big responsibility, multiplied by more than 20 kids.

Oh, I have such respect for you, dear teacher, because I know I couldn’t do what you do. I barely have the patience for my one child sometimes, never mind a full class of them! I can only imagine how hard your job must be at times, and I just want you to know that I understand if you get frustrated occasionally. I hope at those times, you have some personal coping mechanism that works for you, like taking deep breaths and counting to ten (ten times, if necessary) that doesn’t hurt a little person’s feelings or discourage her in any way.

Now, this next part may sound a little odd, but stay with me. As you begin this new year with a new class of fresh young minds to stimulate, I wish for you blindness. Yeah, I knew that would sound bad, but what I mean is — I wish for you to stay blind to my child’s gender and race. I don’t know you and as I do every year with a new teacher, I’m hoping you are the kind of person that doesn’t treat boys in the “boys will be boys” fashion, nor treat girls as less intelligent in math and science. I’m hoping you are the kind of teacher who isn’t colour-blind to my child’s race or any other child’s race but instead is fully aware of diversity in a good, positive way. I hope you notice my child is Black and are aware that sometimes other children who aren’t may use that to hurt her feelings and make her feel like she’s not as valuable as someone with lighter-coloured skin. If that happens, I hope you treat the situation with the seriousness it warrants. I hope you ensure that all children are treated with equality, dignity and respect. I’m not accusing you of doing anything differently, because I don’t know you , but I’m aware of what sometimes goes on in classrooms and on the playground. I hope you are too and you strive to do better.

I’m going to contradict myself now, as I often do, and also wish for you a special kind of vision. The kind that notices children in need. Some need a little extra attention, while some just need a hug. I hope you are a hugging teacher even though the craziness of society has deemed that as questionable behavior. Some unfortunate children may need you to keep a box of crackers and some apples in your desk so they have something to eat each day, and I hope you are the kind of teacher who notices such things and does so. Some need a little extra help with their learning, and some need a little encouragement or push to challenge themselves because they are bright but bored. I don’t deny that with so many busy little ones around you all day, every day, it may be hard to see what each of them needs individually, but I’m asking that you please try. You probably know this already, but those small people in your class? They adore you, most of the time. You have a very big influence over them, and I know you’ll want to use that in the best possible way.

In today’s age of adults without kindness or manners, I also wish for you a strict but fair sense of discipline. I am not unsympathetic to the fact that your power to teach children right from wrong is diminishing every year, but I am strict at home and I don’t let the adorable precociousness of my daughter sway me when an opportunity presents itself for me to teach her proper interpersonal skills or moral lessons. I hope you are the same, dear teacher.

In fact, I know this is a fairly unreasonable request, but I’m going to make it anyway: I hope you are the same as me, but better. I am here for you whenever you need my support and I hope you will consider me a part of your team. I know you can’t be perfect, but those little souls sitting in front of you every day? They deserve the best you can give them. So thank-you in advance for doing exactly that.

The End of Lunch for Summer?

If I had a dollar for every time in the past week I’ve seen someone post on social media “Only X more days of making school lunches!” I’d be able to afford a caterer to make those lunches.

It seems that there is an epidemic of parents who really loathe making school lunches.

Here is what I have to say about that:

Is making a lunch each day such a big price to pay for six hours of free babysitting?

I think not.

And I’m not apologizing for that.

My first problem with this widespread whining about lunches is that the majority of school-aged children are fully capable of making their own lunches, people!

Yes – even my six year old daughter can slap some meat on bread, place a yogurt, apple, some carrot sticks and a drink in her lunch box – it’s not rocket science. If she needs help, we are usually in the same house as her to provide assistance or supervision.

Sure, if you want to heat up leftovers or cook something fresh, then perhaps six might be a bit young for that, but these are not lunch menus that happen every day in our home at least, so there’s no reason why children can’t at least help with their own lunch preparation regularly, if not make the entire lunch themselves.

Responsibility is good. The only way a child learns responsibility is to actually have it assigned to them.

Now, let’s talk about the bigger problem here:  all of you parents celebrating the end of lunchbox-filling – what exactly do you think your children will be eating throughout the summer between the meals of breakfast and dinner? Do you have some kind of special lunch-free summer arrangement with your child’s body? I ask this because my children actually eat lunch all summer long, not just during the school year. Sure, those lunches don’t have to go in a lunchbox that is currently so disgusting-looking that I would lose my appetite if I had to take food out of it to eat, but I signed up for the parenting plan that stipulated THREE meals a day. So I’m perplexed about this anticipation of school ending to have a break from making lunches. Do you parents in this category have a special summer lunch-maker service? Do your kids simply not eat lunch in the summers, their hunger under contractual agreement to make your life marginally easier for two months?

I am genuinely confused by this impending joy for a life without lunch-making. Do you people understand that when school is done for the summer, and you apparently don’t have to make lunches for two months – your children are at home with you ALL DAY for two months???

I love my kids, I really do, and I enjoy spending time with them, but if the only thing I have to do to have some time alone is make a lunch, or simply supervise or assist the making of a lunch – I’ll take the lunch prep with a smile on my face.

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The Summer of My Discontent

558293_10151131613270185_511373883_n[1]I am a terrible mother.  No, no – stop.  Don’t try to contradict me!  I am.  Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE the bones of my kids.  I do almost everything and anything I can for them.  But I’m still a bad mom.  I have an awful secret…

I’m dreading their summer vacation from school.

There.  I’ve said it.  Judge me as you see fit.

I love my kids.  All the time.  Does that mean I want to SPEND all the time with them?  Nope.

See?  Told you.  I’m a horrible mother.

I see tweets and Facebook statuses from super-moms who are actually EXCITED by the prospect of having their kids in their hair, I mean, at home, ALL summer.  I would like to have what they’re having.  I am envious of their motherly joy and anticipation of more time with their children.

I discussed this recently with a friend, who claimed she “can’t wait” for summer holidays.  When I asked her why, she had 2 reasons:  she wouldn’t have to get up early and get her 4 kidlets out the door for school every morning (FOUR! Lordy, Lordy, how DOES she do it??), and she felt a sense of relief that they were more safe under her watchful eye than when they were at school, where she worries about them.

The not-having-to-get-up part I get, although I will categorically state that this chick who loves sleep will GLADLY get up at 6:30am if it means a full day of free babysitting at the local JK classroom.  The safety part I’d never even considered.  I hope they are just as safe at school as they are at home.

I’m not the Martha Stewart of mothering, I confess.  I do not have all kinds of fun crafts and activities planned for my kids to do over the summer.  I’ve planned swimming lessons, dance camp and nature camps.  But not for them, for me.  For MY benefit.  I’ve strategically registered them for camp or activities every other week so that I have some sort of break after spending a full week WITH them.

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Told ya so.  Bad mama.

And my kidlets are not even BAD kids.  They are easily entertained with the TV, iPad, LeapPad, laptop, colouring or X-Box.  Note the lack of adult involvement required for these activities.  I have it good, I know.  Yet somehow having to give up my 2 or 3 days a week of silence is what I’m crying over (Captain Sassypants only goes to school every other day for this past year).  My kids are TALKERS.  Non-stop talkers.  Constant talkers.  And sadly, not the kind that talks to themselves.  They expect verbal interaction.  With me.  Sometimes about the most incredibly boring topics you could never wish to imagine.

Or they squabble and whine.  OH, the squabbling and whining.  Did I mention the backtalk?

My kids are GOOD kids, lest you think they are little monsters based on how I’m whining here myself.  They really are, everyone tells me so.

It’s not about them.  It’s me.  I’m a rotten mom, like I said.

I have exactly FOUR more days of freedom..uhh, school left for Baby Girl.  Four.  Then will begin the summer of my discontent…

Please somebody tell me I’m not the only mom who feels this way – give my misery some company.

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