Once upon a time, armed with a black pen and a steady hand I helped a sister change a C to a B+ on a report card. It was just an experiment to see if we could get away with it (and we did), but we ‘fessed up pretty quickly.
Now that I’m a Mom, I am a reader of report cards. A signer of report cards. And a cheerleader or pep talker depending on the contents of the report card.
After reading four report cards this month, I charged myself with a revealing task. To write a parenting report card for myself, as a Mama.
Crossing my fingers and toes I don’t have to repeat a grade.
My Parenting Report Card
Karen has been doing well in this area. In spite of her deep affection for her pillow, her boys have managed to drag her out of bed by 7:15 every day this week so she can make well-balanced lunches. She often makes it to the shower by the end of the day and has never once forgotten to pick up one of her children.
Karen has been working hard to develop systems to keep her family organized. She has created a colourful chore chart involving clothes pins and a magnetic board, that now serves exclusively as home décor.
Also, in preparation for the winter, Karen wisely bought 3 pairs of identical gloves for a particular son. And when he lost all 3 left gloves, Karen didn’t rant. Out loud.
On most days, Karen has been able to complete tasks with minimal supervision. She rarely gets off track by watching decorating shows. In fact, Karen shows she could handle even more independent time by occasionally hiding in the bathroom with the door locked.
Karen has done exceptionally well accepting various roles. In fact, by 9:00 this morning she had already served as Fashion Consultant (“we don’t wear underwear on our heads”), Lunch Maker (“butter does not count as a sandwich topping”), Agenda Signer (possibly while at the crosswalk) and Boo-boo Kisser.
At times she responds positively to the opinions of others, but not during Loopy Hour or while wrestling the baby alligator to bed. Next Steps include Karen napping regularly so she can speak more gently to those in her care.
As a mom, Karen can definitely improve in this area. While she excels at helping those around her take next steps, Karen does not always focus on setting her own goals. She is encouraged to reflect on what she needs to stay replenished so that she is parenting out of strength and joy.
At the end of most days, I find myself doing a mental checklist of the day. Much like reading my own report card. This can be a painful exercise for many of us as parents depending on how we feel we did.
If we made 3 well-balanced, nutritious meals, thumbs up.
If we refereed a sibling war without losing our cool, A+.
If we encouraged our kids to turn off screens, go to the park and complete all homework….smiley emoticon.
But what about the times when our report card is less than what we hoped for?
How do we process our blunders and failures?
Do we spiral into despair when the black marks on the day scream louder than the quiet wins?
I am learning I need to give myself more grace. Permission to fail forward. Freedom to ask forgiveness of my children and the courage to accept it. I’m also trying to not take myself so seriously. And I’m striving to carve out pockets of time so I can parent from a place of rest and peace.
May you be content with your Parenting Report Card – honest about the next steps you’d like to take, but also proud of your many, many achievements.
Gold stars for all.
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Photo credit: The miracle worker, Lisa Vigliotta