I sent my kid to school yesterday with a giant hole in his pants. I didn’t realize it until we were loading into the car and when I started to make him head back into the house I realized, A)we were going to be late and B)he had no more clean pants anyway as laundry was still in the washroom.
So off he went with holey pants and his typical messed up hair.
I know I’m not perfect, far from it actually, but days like yesterday I wonder if I seem even worse to the outside world than I really am. I mean, I take care of my kids. They are mostly clean and dressed and have all their shi** together most days. But that boy’s hair is always a wreck and I just don’t have the fight in me in the morning to fully wet it down and tame it into submission like his father will do on weekends. And he dresses himself so I don’t always notice stains or holes until it’s too late.
As for the girl-she is a free spirit who dressed like Punky Brewster even before she discovered who Punky Brewster was. I don’t mind it. But I wonder if other people think I have no control because she looks a little like a hobo some days.
I’m usually alright withstanding the judging, except when I think it has to do with how well my children are cared for. That I couldn’t take. Because, of late, my life’s work has been caring for these kids and I’d hate to think people thought I was phoning that in.
Yesterday’s incident made me sorry for all the parents I’d judged when I was a teacher. And oh how I judged. (I was a much better parent before I had children and I wasn’t afraid to project my disdain on anyone I thought was doing it wrong.) Why couldn’t they get their kids to school on time? Why weren’t these children bathed more regularly? Didn’t the mom realize there was a whole in that boy’s pants? Geez, how hard is it to remember to send in field trip money?
These were all the things I thought and I have now failed at each one of them as a parent. Turns out it’s not so easy to always remember to have cash for field trips or wrangle your kids into the shower every night or get them all out the door on time every morning.
Oh well, if I’m judged it seems appropriate. Turn around is fair play right? I hope at least that my kids’ teachers know these babies are well loved. Even if they aren’t the best dressed or most finely kempt crew in the school.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.
I once apologized for my kids’ self inflicted unseasonable outfits until one teacher whispered, “It’s the ones who look perfectly put together we worry about.”
Never forgot that.
Laura Dennis says
My 4-yr old caused scandals (!) here in Belgrade during the winter when she wore a (long-sleeve) leotard and tights EVERY day to school. All the girls’ and their mothers’ (I learned much later) were completely dismayed that I would let her wear such a thing and risk cold, illness, infertility and potentially even death. Children in Serbia are dressed in no less than three layers on top and two layers on bottom (including tights under jeans–even for boys).
By spring time, the moms did comment that my daughter hardly gets sick and so I thought maybe I’m teaching them that there’s more than one way to do it. More likely I’m just providing more fodder to talk about me, the silly American Mom!
Oh my gosh I can’t even imagine the eye-rolling if I were parenting in another country! Good on ya!!
Meagan @ The Happiest Mom says
Love it. I always wonder if teachers are judging me when I can’t seem to get my kids’ hair to stay flat, or when I discover those holey jeans too late! I will say the teachers I suspect are judging are usually the younger ones, with either no children or very young kids. I trust that with time, they will “get it” and realize that sending a kindergartener home with a big project that requires supplies and an hour of work isn’t so much an educational opportunity as parent punishment! Older teachers have always seemed a lot more relaxed and accepting to me.
It’s true-I was young and childless when I was most judgy.;) There’s something that I love about how kids have humbled me. If only I could stop worrying about it so much!
Field trip money is the worst. :-/ Also, I am very sure the teachers know how much your kids are loved. That pours out of them, even if it is right out of the hole in his jeans.
That’s the greatest way to phrase it! Thanks Crystal.