Consider yourself warned!
A guide for those who think they want children.
Its that time of year again … parent/teacher conferences. When your kids are young, conferences are actually fun. Hanging on the classroom walls are the cute little pictures your kid made. You get to hear how your little genius knows his alphabet, can spell his name, and can write it neatly. You marvel at the little desks and chairs that you can’t fit in, but have to sit on because the only adult sized chair in the room belongs to the teacher. But, as your kids get older, and the school work gets harder, the parent/teacher conferences become more intense. Now the stakes are higher. There are state exams to worry about, you have to get your kid ready for high school or college, and as your kid gets older, you start to realize that maybe, just maybe he isn’t a genius after all.
So that being said, let me give you some pointers on how to survive parent/teacher conferences.
1. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
You are going to be doing a lot of walking, so you need to make sure that you are wearing comfortable shoes. Now is not the time to try to look cute in your four inch heels. Your feet will hate you before the end of the night. You will also be doing a lot of sitting so you want to make sure that your clothes are comfortable. That means you will not want to wear your super short/sexy skit and no tight jeans. And make sure you dress in layers, depending on how modern the school building is, you will either be putting on a sweater, or taking off layers.
2. Have a plan.
My son attends a large high school. There are over 900 kids in his sophomore class alone. The school has seven floors. A few days before the parent/teacher conference, the school will send out an email with a listing of where the teachers’ classrooms are located. Before the conferences, I print out this list, print out my son’s latest transcript, and then map out where the classes are located. My plan of attack is always the same … start on the seventh floor and work my way down to the first. Luckily, my son’s father will usually meet me at the school. He knows that I have this all mapped out, so he follows my lead. Also, since you only get to spend five to ten minutes to meet with each teacher, you will want to make sure that all your questions are written down. Trust me, you will be mad with yourself once you realize that you’ve forgotten to ask the teacher a question.
3. Bring something to read and/or make sure your cell phone is fully charged.
You will want to make sure you have a book or tablet to read, or in the alternative, that your cell phone is fully charged. There will be a lot of down time as you wait for your turn to speak with your child’s teacher. You will also be sitting around with a bunch of strangers. Now, YOU may be one of the few parents who want to make friends while you’re waiting. Believe you me, the rest of US don’t want to! We are not interested in making new friends. All we want to do is meet with the teachers, get out, and go home. So do us all a favor, mind your own business, read a book, or play games on your phone!
4. Bring a notebook and a pen.
If the teacher wants to give you names of books, websites, or other reference materials, you are not going to remember any of that information by the time you get home. Hell, you may not remember it by the time you sign in to see the next teacher. Listen, you’ve worked all day, stood in line to get into the school, stood in line to see the teacher, and you’re hungry. You just want to go home, eat, and sleep. All you want to hear is that your kid is making all A’s, is not skipping school, and is a joy to have around. That, you can remember. Anything else, you'll need to write it down.
5. Eat before you go and/or bring some snacks with you.
Make sure that you eat beforehand and that you bring some snacks with you. The night will be long and you will just get cranky if you don’t have anything to eat. Do us all a favor, bring some snacks. And finally,
6. Bring some change.
It never fails, there will be some after school club (or two or three) asking for a donation to some cause, or selling raffle tickets, selling tickets a school show, or selling drinks and snacks. You don’t want to be the one lone parent that doesn’t support them. It doesn’t matter if you stop at the bank on your way to school, or get change from the deli, just make sure you have some singles on you before you step inside the school building.
So if you’ve haven’t had the pleasure of attending parent/teacher conferences, now you know. So ... Consider yourself warned!
If you hang around little kids long enough, you will soon hear this dreaded word: MINE! Little kids seem to think that everything belongs to them. They have no concept of things belonging to other people because in their tiny universe everything revolves around them. It seems to me that as kids get older, the concept of “Mine” changes into its “Ours”
Let me explain what I mean. Before I had kids, if I left my comb on my bed, it was still there when I came home from work. If I left my phone charger in the bathroom, it was still there when I came home from work. If I left my spare keys in the kitchen drawer, guess what? They were still there when I came home from work! That’s not the case when you have kids. For some reason, kids seem to think that what’s yours, is also theirs and they should be able to use it as they see fit. And no matter how many times you tell them its not theirs, they just don’t get it or, they just conveniently forget. Side note: I find this to be ironic because kids who have siblings, somehow seem to understand the concept of what’s mine is mine, not ours, and its definitely not yours. It’s mine, and only mine!
When my daughter was around five years old, she had a habit of taking my stuff and putting it in her room. I would sit down with her and explain to her that she can’t take my things because they do not belong to her. I would patiently tell her that if something belongs to me its mine, not hers. She would just give me a strange look. You would have thought I was speaking in a foreign language or that I had three heads on my shoulders. Since she was in Catholic school, I pulled the “If you take something that doesn’t belong to you, that’s stealing and a sin” card. Again, all I got was a confused look. It never failed, at the end of each and every conversation, she would look at me with these big beautiful eyes and say, “But its yours Mommy, so its mine.”
Now that she’s a teenager, I believe she understands what is mine is mine, not hers … but she just ignores it. There are many times when I’m in the bathroom, getting ready for work. I reach over to where I keep the hair supplies, and low and behold, I can’t find my comb, hair gel, bobby pins, brush, hair tie. You name it, I can’t find it. Its NOT in the last place I left it. Now at this point, I’m usually the only one home because the kids leave for school before I leave for work. That means that I have to go searching in my daughter’s bedroom for whatever I need. And it never fails, when I’m looking for one specific item, I find something else of mine in her room! I guess I should take it as a compliment and tell myself, “Oh, she wants to be just like me. That’s why she’s uses my stuff.” I should be flattered. But, I’m not. I just want my things. Or better yet, if you use my things, put them back where you got them so they will be there when I’m ready to use them. And please, can you tell me when you’ve used the last of it? Do you know how annoying it is to find an empty bottle of nail polish remover at 9:00 pm? Really? Now, I know what you’re saying. Your saying, “SassyGirlTye, why don’t you just buy your daughter her own XY and Z?” Well, I have! But it doesn’t matter she still use my stuff.
And don’t think this only happens with my daughter, my son is guilty of this behavior too. There have been many times my hair brush, my phone charger, or even the speakers for my computer, yes the speakers to my computer have been missing. Can you imagine how frustrating it is to sit down at your computer thinking that you’re going to listen to music as you work, only to find that there are no speakers? Its sooooo annoying! For those of you who may not have had the pleasure of living with a teenager yet, he connects the speaker to his cell phone so that he can play, oh I’m sorry, I mean blast his music. I don’t mind that he uses them, but JUST PUT THEM BACK!!!! Is that so difficult? Apparently so.
So in case you didn’t know, you can now ….
Consider yourself warned!
SassyGirlTye lives with her two wonderful teenagers in Brooklyn, New York. No matter what she says in her posts, she truly loves her children with all her heart.