Fact: I homeschooled my kids for 12 years.
Parent teacher conferences prior to this year were really me talking to myself and me most of the time giving myself a failing grade and thinking I didn’t do enough. Isn’t that what we as mothers tend to do to ourselves? No matter what our educational choices? We tend to grade ourselves with the much too short measuring stick with expectations that even super mom could not attain.
Well, this week was the first of many parent teacher conferences.
And let me tell you. I was nervous.
Like downright look at the clock wondering what would be said about my kids nervous.
Not because my kids weren’t awesome and amazing (despite the mistakes that they make). No, no, no… it was because I was thinking that I was going to be the mom that walked in there that didn’t measure up to all the other moms there.
Ah, yes, that ruler stick of parenting.
So I worried.
1. That my kid was the only one with the not always healthy lunch.
2. That my kid was the only one with sloppy work.
3. That my kid couldn’t read as well as the others.
4. That my kid was causing issues in the classroom.
5. That my kid was the only one whose mother hadn’t parent volunteered yet.
6. That my kid was behind.
7. That my kid was the only one without a note in the lunchbox.
8. That my kid still couldn’t tie their shoes.
And on and on and on.
But the truth is – it really wasn’t about them.
It was about me.
Thinking that my children’s behavior in school was a direct reflection of me as their mother. That somehow I was dropping the ball in not enforcing extra homework time when instead I simply wanted them to play outside before it got to sub zero hello forever long winter here in Minnesota. That somehow they’d look at me as not being a good mom. That I’d be compared to all the other moms out there.
I didn’t see the love I had for them.
And, humbly, I was wrong about being so nervous.
I spent time fighting a battle in my head that didn’t need to exist.
They knew my kids weren’t perfect. (I could have told them. I mean the fact that their rooms can look like a disaster area within 4.5 minutes of returning home and that we can lose homework like nobody’s business and that there are moments of downright defiance?) In fact, they didn’t ever once expect my kids to be perfect.
They wanted my kids to learn. And to love learning. And they were willing to meet with me where they were and to love my kids where they were and to teach them.
They didn’t see them as an extension of all the places that I felt like I had failed. Or where I was so hard on myself and forgot all the times I tried and all the nights spent sitting at the table going over math facts and spelling words.
They saw the potential.
They were excited for gains made and for the momentum and that they tried.
Where I sometimes saw the late homework or the messy writing or all of that they would tell me stories of when they’d raise their hands and offer cool insight into what they were doing in class.
Where I would see them, especially my gregarious outgoing nine year old son, as not sitting still and always having almost too much energy they would see him as an empathetic and excited kid excited about life and learning.
Where I would think they weren’t strong in reading they would tell me how great they were doing in math.
So it taught me that too.
Motherhood isn’t about raising these perfect kids.
Motherhood is about loving them in the journey and correcting the things that need to be corrected and then being there for them as they grow from babes to toddlers to school kids to middle kids to adults.
I didn’t need to be afraid to got these conferences. I needed to be excited.
Teachers are amazing.
I was reminded of that again today. To invest in the lives of so many and to see the potential?
That’s a gift.
From me to all of you teachers out there? Thank you.
From me to all of you wonderful moms out there? Thank you. And remember…your kids will mess up.
But they’ll do amazing things too.
Don’t dread the conference.
Don’t make it about you.
It’s a time to for you to be reminded of all the awesome that you do.
And it’s time to celebrate the awesome in your kids too.