Parenting, the daily negotiation, a hostage of my mind. Those rambling thoughts, never quite knowing if the decisions I make are the right ones, never mind the best ones. Sometimes it feels like I’m living in this constant daze of uncertainties.
If truth be told, I will never know for sure if the decisions that I’ve made for my child today, will be the best decisions in a month or a year. Shit! Even tomorrow or this afternoon – it’s a process of “let’s wait and see”.
I also know that no decision is cast in stone, and therefore can be changed.
This morning, a classic example where I find myself wondering if what I am doing is the right thing. Our study-time routine. A routine, that in my son’s opinion, is unnecessary since none of the kids in his class ever study’s after school. Even though he can’t back this up with facts, because we both know that it is a very poor argument. Some kids read for hours after school, others enjoy doing school work, whilst some, like my son needs an extra push.
It’s not so much about the content of what we do during study-time. Sometimes it’s homework, sometimes revision and other times general learning. Always with a few breaks in-between. Our study hour can be anything from sitting in the study working, to playing swing ball, hop scotch or riding his bike while learning. It’s often a 50/50 split between being active and learning. It can even be a chat over a cuppa at a coffee shop.
It’s a set Sunday to Thursday routine. The objective, to not only learn, but also to instil a certain discipline that allows for predictability within a space where he can access extra support that will help him succeed in the school environment.
According to my son, when you become a teenager and go to high school you never have to do homework or study ever again! There is a rude awakening – the older you get the tougher it becomes.
This morning, the only way that I could illustrate the importance of our study-time routine was to ask him this question. A reminder of how hard he’s worked to be where he is today.
“Do you think you’d be able to listen, speak, understand language and participate in a conversation, like you can today, if you did not go to speech and language therapy for five years – putting in all that hard work and doing all that homework? Do you think you’d be able to hold your pencil and write for long periods of time during the school day, and hop on one leg if you did not put in the effort when you went to OT for two years?”
His answer, a confident no! An open door for me to explain further.
“Study-time is not only about working through the school work or homework. It is recognising and understanding that you will always have to do a little bit extra – that you will always have to work a bit harder. And at times you may need additional support. You know that you struggle with maths. You know that sometimes your way of understanding something is very different to the way it is meant to be understood.
Study-time is about helping you develop the discipline that is required to succeed. It’s about preparing you for the real world. There is no free-ride in life. If you want to drive in the fast lane then you better put on your seat-belt and allow me to be your co-driver. I’m here to help you find alternative routes to the same destination as the other kids in your class. Success.”
His response was agitated. “Okay, okay. I get it now – but I am only bringing all my workbooks home on a Friday. It’s enough that I have to then pack my desk right again the Monday.”
The easiest thing for both of us would be to kick our study-time routine to the curb. But we both know that this would be an epic fail. Occasionally we have these debates and negotiations as he transitions into the new school year, adapts to change and settle into the learning routine.
Being confident in my parenting and the decisions that I make is a daily choice. I accept that I may not always get it right, but at least I try. Parenting with intent is acknowledging that my choices may not fit the parenting ideals of others, and this is pleasantly okay.
I parent for my child and no one else. And some days my son may refer to me as the worst mother on this earth and I can live with that, because sometimes being hated, in the moment, is part of the journey.