I got the call from my youngest son last night, “are you coming to conferences?” I sigh and reply that I am not because I had totally forgot. I ask how he is doing in school. He said good, his lowest grade is a 86%. Great I think to myself, crisis averted.
I have an excuse, he is my third child. Seriously, I was never like that with my other two kids. But I am tired and working more, I am full of excuses. The helicopter mom I use to be has taken flight. Her tour of duty is over. Rumors of the youngest child being able to get away with anything are true.
When he calls and asks what time he should be home, I just look at my husband and shrug my shoulders. Does it matter what time he is home as I will be asleep by 10:00 on a Friday night? No more waiting up and making sure my child walks through the door at the right time. Now I wake up in the morning, nudge my husband and ask him to check the garage for the car to see if the youngest has made it home.
For me this is how parenting has gone:
First child: volunteer for everything and attend everything and arrive early.
Second child: volunteer for something and attend everything and arrive on time.
Third child: volunteer for nothing and forget to attend everything.
For that first child I was the PTA President, twice, and room mom every year. It was like an insult to my motherhood if I wasn’t at that school helping in some way. I ran those Fall Festivals like they were my own party. I volunteered, and I volunteered my husband. We have coached t-ball together and he has been assigned the PTA tasks that nobody wants. But what happened was I wasn’t present. I was too busy volunteering that I never enjoyed attending the events with my child. As he was ending his high school years, his activities conflicted with his youngest brothers. He was always so wise when he told me to go to his youngest brothers events as it will mean more to him.
Next up is the second child. I was more selective with what I volunteered for. I still volunteered but I didn’t jump at the chance. I waited to see if there was another eager parent to jump up first. I looked at that eager parent and thought to myself, this is your oldest child, I just know it. I still showed up and was happy to help, but thrilled that I was no longer running the show. Even though this middle child is in college I still find myself volunteering. I said yes to 30 of his fraternity brothers spending the night at our house last spring. I cooked for them as well. Yes they slept at our house, not sure where they all found room as our house is small! But it was the thing memories are made of so it was worth it.
Then comes that youngest child. I tried volunteering with vigor like I did with the oldest. I still joke with his first grade teacher that volunteering for puppy math every Friday morning was exhausting. Those kids would suck the life out of me and I would need to go home at 9:30am for a nap. Now as he approaches his final two years of high school I am even more selective of what I say yes to. I no longer go to meetings where I might volunteer for. Now my husband is the one that goes. However, I still find myself saying yes to some crazy things like throwing a party for 70 theater kids at 11:00pm.
But last night after the missed conferences debacle, we were sitting at the dinner table and my son casually mentioned that he was MC for Homecoming coronation last week while I was out of town. My head jerks to my husband and he looks at me with surprise as he didn’t know about it either. He said the one thing that he could say; wondering why he wasn’t told so he could at least have video taped it for me. Placing the blame on the youngest child where it belongs! I am losing this battle fast!
So if you are just starting out on this parenting journey, just remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself! Let us make a pact together: help each other and parent our kids together, because I know I need the gentle nudges and reminders. If you volunteer and do the puppy math I will make the classroom treats. And no matter how organized a person is, some things just fall through the cracks. Thankfully there is another chance for conferences later in the week. Oh and if you video taped the Homecoming coronation last week can you send me a copy!
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things!