Parenting is Hard: Well, For Me It Is

by Lucky Red Hen on October 16, 2011

[written earlier this year, but thought it was a good follow-up to yesterday’s post…]

This isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing right now. I have errands to run and a wok to hunt down. Writing takes up so much time, but somehow I feel like I should be doing this right now. If not, then I might start bawling again.

I’m a cry-er. I wish I weren’t. What good does crying do anyway? It makes my eyeballs red, eyelids swollen, nose is both plus runny and I get a headache. This is NOT how I want to look when I leave my house. Not that I’m vain in the regard that I need to be perfectly coiffed, manicured, and fashionably diva’d, but I don’t want to look like I just got slapped with the ugly stick (not saying I’m ugly, but after the Ugly Cry it looks like I am). Maybe I should time how long it takes to un-swell, de-redden, and get to a presentable point so I can stop crying soon enough to de-swell.

The gist of why… ack… it’s making me well up again… inhale, exhale, mentally step out of the sad place…

Maybe I’ll try being a reporter. If I tell myself I’m just stating the facts then maybe my emotions will calm down a spell. (I wanted to say other words, because I’m feeling strongly, but gotta keep this PG.)

For the last three years I’ve heard about the 5th grade 3-day camp. And for the last three years I’ve told my oldest that there’s no way he’ll be going on an overnight excursion (I’m against sleepovers, but that’s a whole other topic that I won’t get into right now) for 3 days and 2 nights with a bunch of kids and parents from our school that I don’t know. (I only recently found out that there are two other schools involved which means two of his buddies will be there also.)

He’s not signed up to go. The camp is next week. This morning was drop-off for sleeping bags, etc. I haven’t seen paperwork on it because he knew he wasn’t going so no need to show me. I have NO IDEA what goes on at this camp, physically where it is, how it’s organized, who’s in charge, what they do, how sleeping arrangements are decided and executed, etc. Granted it’s my fault for not becoming informed, but it wasn’t an option because it’s overnight (and $150) so I didn’t think I needed to be informed of something not pertaining to me.

I had heard that there were about 5 students not going but found out today that mine is THE ONLY ONE not going O_O

Does that change things? My mom says no. She said there are hard decisions we parents need to make and stick with because that’s what we feel is right (she also said she supports my decision). Another mom friend comforted me with support that it’s our family decision and it doesn’t matter what other parents/students think.

The trick here is that my husband is all for it but he supports my position because I get the final say when it comes to the kids. If I say no, it’s no. He tells me not to beat myself up over it because I’m only wanting what’s best.

But what if I’m making the wrong decision? What if it’s the right decision? How do I know the difference?

Some will say, “Pray about it.” What if I’ve prayed about it and a clear answer hasn’t come to me? Maybe that’s an indication that my Heavenly Father wants me to stretch and figure it out on my own. Maybe there isn’t a right or wrong. Maybe it’s right that he doesn’t go and also right that he does. Yikes.

This isn’t a case about giving in to peer pressure either (well, you may think so but I don’t). I’m not pressured by my (or his) peers but I AM pressured with the responsibility of doing right by my kid.

He didn’t come with a manual or warranty. I am not skilled in parenting. I haven’t studied, been taught, researched, or absorbed how to be the best parent. I’ve picked up on things here and there from my parents, my in-laws, and other parents but I am by no means well versed in raising a child. This does NOT come natural to me like it does other women (and men, for that matter).

Food, shelter, and clothing are the only things I feel I can do without outside help. The safety, education, and the rest I’m just winging.

And I don’t have a problem with admitting when I’m wrong (which isn’t often, I assure you, haha, tongue in cheek) or taking responsibility when I need to (I think… I don’t know, you tell me). So if this whole thing turns out to be a giant mistake, whichever way it goes, I just hope it’s not to the detriment of my child(ren). Yeah, I guess this whole thing is going to trickle down to the other kid too. (sigh)

From the school… “When students don’t go to camp they are expected to come to school. The teacher has work for them and they will go into another classroom. If they don’t come to school they are counted “absent” and it is added to their school record. Please let me know what you decide.”

I asked if he’s the only one not going and what work he’ll have and what classroom he’ll be in. I was told… “At this point, he is the only 5th grader not planning to go to camp. If he doesn’t go to camp, we will place him in another classroom for the day. We have not decided for sure which classroom for which day, but it may not be the same room every day. He will attend specialists with whichever class he’s with for the day. We will give him some work to do while he is at school so that his time is not wasted. The work we give him will be additional practice on things he’s worked on before. The other students will not be expected to do the same work because they will be busy at camp.”

It sounds kind of willy nilly and like he’ll be punished for not going to camp. The other kids are out having a good time (because their parents can afford it and/or are better at this than I am). I’m torn and exhausted considering all the possibilities.

I wish parenting was easier.

EDIT: At the last minute, I changed my mind and let him go. He had a fantastic time, didn’t get hurt, wasn’t scarred for life by an inappropriate event, and has memories that he’ll look back on fondly. Hopefully he won’t realize the anxiety that was behind it all by his over-protective mother who’s just trying to do her best.


Geo October 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Guess what. I hope he does find out about it one day. I hope he will read this blog of yours and love his mom all the more for the tough processes she worked through as a parent, and for the fierce love she has for him. He is lucky to have you, Lucky. Don’t sweat the sweat. He’ll learn more from you than from any sleepover outing or busy work inning that school can dish out.

Geo October 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Anyway, look at the awesome moustache you let him grow. How many fifth graders’ moms are free-thinking enough to encourage that? Way to not stifle his budding manhood.

Kim Charie October 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Awh, friend. What a good mom you are, you love your child and are protecting him. I agree with Geo, I hope he will remember this story…he’ll look back fondly and remember how much you love him.

Mrs Organic October 16, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Sometimes letting go and letting grow are the hardest things to do. I’m glad he enjoyed it. And he should read this someday when he is parent himself – because then he will truly appreciate how much thought goes into the decisions you make.

SouthernMan October 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm

I’m with you, both ways. We don’t allow sleepovers, so the kids have stopped asking. I still go with my 12 year old to his scout overnight camp outs. I didn’t go to this summer’s week long camp, but stayed in touch. No, this world’s not the same place we grew up, and you have to follow your gut (the spirit? to each his own). Besides, doesn’t matter what he thinks, he will grow up blaming you anyway. But at least it will be on your terms. Been there, done that. No apologies. You are in charge, keep it that way. Way to go.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: