School has started and soon, too, will the calls and notes from the classroom about your child. But don’t worry. It’s all going to be fine.
Too many times my phone rang and the conversation went something like this:
“Hello, this is Mrs. Dombey calling from the Smith School office. Your child . . .
Has a rock stuck in their ear.
Was hit by another child.
Sprained an ankle during gym class.
Clotheslined themselves on playground equipment and has a black eye.
Returned from recess too wet and dirty to be allowed in the classroom.
Got in a fight.
Forgot their permission slip.
Forgot their lunch.
Forgot their homework.
Lost their inhaler.
Broke their glasses.”
Are you kidding me?
Yes, all of these situations actually happened to one or another of my offspring at school. Why am I telling you this, mamas? Because you are going to get calls, e-mails, or texts about something that happened at school. And you are going to worry, or wonder, or be angry, or fret that your child is never going to make it through life.
I’m here to tell you that they are going to be fine. And so are you.
Take 10 (or 20 if you need it!).
So when the call comes–and it will come–take a deep breath. Think of it in tens: will this matter in 10 minutes? In 10 months? In 10 years?
All of those things that happened to my kids? My kids are fine. And so am I. Oh sure, there were consequences: talks about being a good friend, about appropriate behavior, about remembering important things. Lessons were (eventually) learned. And we survived.
Next time the phone rings, or the note comes, stop for a second. Try to put it in perspective, and help your child learn to make adjustments, correct mistakes, and move on. And then, let it go. Watch it wisp away, out of your mind, and don’t dwell on it.
Because there’s going to be another call. Another forgotten lunch. Another missed homework assignment. And then, whoosh–the school days will be over, and your barely-keeping-it-together child will become a functioning adult and you’ll wonder how that happened.
Did all those small mistakes teach them how to handle life’s bigger situations? Did they learn how to plan and prepare? Be personally responsible?
Learning gets more expensive.
Learning is cheap when you are young. Forgot your lunch? There are some easy solutions for that. Didn’t turn your homework in? You probably lost some points on that assignment.
The cost of learning gets more expensive as you grow. Didn’t make your car payment on time? Your credit score takes a hit. Missed an important deadline at work? You might not get a raise, or worse, you might be looking for a new job.
So let those calls from the office be an opportunity to learn. Be there for support. And be thankful for growth. It’s not a reflection on your parenting skills–it’s a chance to help your little human prepare for the big human world.
They’re going to be okay.
Watch their pride and self-confidence grow as they start to figure things out on their own. Maybe they don’t throw pea gravel around at recess and have it get stuck in their ear anymore. Maybe they pack their homework up before they go to bed so it gets turned in. Or maybe, just maybe, they turn out okay after all.
And maybe, so do you.