This year, my daughter started kindergarten an introduced me to something I don't recall ever experiencing in my own childhood: seeing a report card that actually made me happy instead of panicked. She's done exceptionally well in her first year as a "real" student." My report cards were never good-I talked to much, didn't to my homework, and didn't pay attention in class-and, if I were being graded on my parenting skills, I don't think I'd fare perfectly, either (although my daughter insists I'd get an A+ in everything). As 2013 draws to a close, here's my official mommy report card:
I think I deserve an A+ for this category alone. In all 5 and a half years that I've been a mom, I can count on one hand the number of nights that we didn't read together for at least half an hour (usually much longer). This year was no exception. Do I get a sticker or a lollipop?
I write for a living. It allows me to be home with my daughter and prioritize my family. The problem: I slacked this year. Oh, boy, did I slack. I am facing a serious case of writer burnout and I have submitted many an article without remembering to proofread first. Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.
My daughter asked me a few months ago how to spell quetzalcoatulus. That's a giant pterosaur. I had to Google it. I've flubbed many times when, distracted, I've been loudly asked that ubiquitous mommy-question: "Moooom, how do you spell ____? Spell it slow so I have time to write it down!"
This is always the subject I performed most poorly in as a child, and there's no exception now that I'm an adult. The problem is that now there's more on the line than the answer to how many apples Ben has leftover after his sister eats four. Now my checking account is on the line. Oops.
A for talent, F for effort-does it average out? I'm a naturally skilled artist and crafter and, once upon a time, I would set aside time to make an art project as a family as often as once a week. We've done some family art projects here and there, but here's another area where I lose points for slacking.
My dear daughter, I am so sorry for torturing you by singing so loudly and so terribly in the car every morning. I can't help it. It's just what I do. I notice that you've started doing it, too. I'm glad to see I've taught you the ways of our people.
Physical Education: B
I always make sure my daughter gets time for outdoor play and physical activity, but this year I've made it about fun instead of just about mandatory exercise. So what if she wants to run around on the playground instead of riding her bike, even though she "needs" to learn to pedal without training wheels? If I'm slacking here, I at least consider it a benevolent kind of slack, so I'm giving myself a B.
I'm a good mom most of the time, but I'd be lying if I said I hadn't lost my temper or raised my voice this year. It has been a wonderful but very difficult year for my whole family and there have been times that I've reached the end of my rope and loudly commanded, "BE. QUIET. NOW." Why do I get a B anyway? Because I strongly believe that parenthood is built on loving acts outweighing difficult days, and I know that despite our fair share of bad days, there has never been a moment when my daughter has doubted my unconditional love for her.
What would your parenting report card for 2013 look like?
Juniper Russo is a freelance writer and a Parenting Guru for Yahoo! Shine. When she's not writing, she's handling a house full of love and snuggles, which includes her daughter, two kitties, a dog, and a second little one due next July!