It only takes few a minutes.
That’s how long it took for Pam and I to get back into the parenting groove after a weekend away.
Thanks to a wonderful grandmother, who watched the kids for the weekend, we were able to get away for two nights to Philadelphia for a concert and some great meals. It’s not something we do often so we were looking forward to it and enjoyed our time away.
Beckett had a soccer game in Georgetown Sunday afternoon so we met my mom at a fast food restaurant on Route 113. She had another event to attend for her granddaughter so we strategically met to allow her enough time to get to her event. That gave us about an hour with the kids before we needed to be at the game.
When I opened my mom’s car door to greet the kids, there were no looks of elation. There were actually no greetings whatsoever. Carson was enthralled in a game of chess on his iPad, while Beckett was remarking how it was unfair his iPad’s battery was only at 35 percent.
It was as if I had just gotten out of the vehicle to use the restroom and returned. I had to remind the boys that mom and dad hadn’t seen them in a couple days and we wanted to hear how their weekend went.
Carson gave us the thumbs up, while Beckett rattled off on that he had done. As Beckett was talking, Carson was looking at him with a funny look on his face. He then signed that his big brother was crazy and went back to his chess game.
Yes, all was back right in our world and just how we had left them. We wouldn’t have it any other way, but it had only been five minutes.
It was standardized testing week for Beckett.
To him, that meant it was a light week because the results don’t impact his report card. Therefore, all week we were fielding requests to stay up later at night and to get weekend privileges.
Each time the answer remained the same. I reminded him one night when he was pressing the matter we see the results of these tests each summer and it matters how well he does on them.
He responded, “Oh yeah that’s when you see that my math skills are at an eighth grade level and my spelling is high school level, right?”
Knowing that wasn’t accurate, I simply responded, “yes it’s something like that” because it seemed to do the trick as far as getting him focused and taking them seriously.
What he was referring to was how the individual tests were scored and scaled to the grade equivalent of the result. For example, a math score would be a certain score, such as 46.5, which means little because it’s abstract, and then it would say a grade equivalent, 5.5, meaning the performance on the test is similar to students who are half way through the fifth grade.
The scores always come with a reminder to not take the grade ranking too seriously. While his parents understand that, Beckett, on the other hand, still quotes his impressive grade equivalents 10 months later.
Since that fact did get him to take the tests seriously, I just let him go with it.
Guilt is something that eats me up.
It’s a personal flaw. Ever since my kids were born, I have been driven by this desire to never have any regrets. Of course, that’s impossible I think in life. However, my sense of guilt comes with parenting and wanting to make the right decisions and do the right things by our kids.
For example, if I’m in a period of time when I have a lot on my plate at work and miss kids’ activities, games or field trips, I feel guilty because I don’t want to let them down. I think to myself I’m not going to recall whatever it is I’m working on 10 years from now, but I will remember this or that special event my kid participated in.
Pam often reminds me I have no reason to ever feel guilty when it comes to our children, but I still do at times. I think many parents have this same preoccupation, but maybe I’m wrong. It’s not like I go around asking parents if they ever feel guilty.
Although she writes from a mom’s perspective, there’s an online writer, Kristina Kuzmik, who goes by the name Truth Bomb Mom on Facebook, that often discusses this exact thing.
“Parents, you know what we are really good at it – guilt. I give you permission not to give in to other people’s expectations,” she said. “Whether it be your mom, or dad, or your in-laws, or that fellow mom on her high horse, or the media. Ignore the expectations and you do you. I give you permission not to be perfect, not to win at parenting every single day. I mean some days, you’re gonna be the most amazing parent ever, and some days you’ll just be eh… OK. And that’s good enough.”
She added, “I give you permission to take time out for yourself. This doesn’t make you selfish. It makes you smart because you know taking time to recharge makes you a less stressed out parent.”