Many Chicago Public Schools from around the city (non-Track E) will be conducting parent-teacher conferences today. I will also be receiving report cards for my two oldest children who attend two different schools. With my husband at work, I will stash all three boys in the school hallways during my meetings. They have already received multiple threats of punishment guaranteed for anyone who dares misbehave. I will not have you embarrassing me at your schools, gentlemen. Are we clear?
Just another self-evident truth of parenting: Hell hath no fury like a mom scorned by her children in front of the carpool moms.
And in a stroke of marketing genius, book fairs are being simultaneously conducted by schools. Is little Tommy failing reading? Do you need to start working with him? Why, just consider stopping by the book fair on your way out, Mom. It could make such a difference. If you love your child, that is. No pressure.
It sort of reminds me how rides at Disney World dump you into a gift shop as you exit.
So today I will get the news on whether my children have the potential for Harvard Law or rather a promising career in the French fry arts.
Thankfully, I've already gotten one of these meetings out of the way. My youngest son, Joey, had his preschool conference a couple of weeks ago. The days leading up to it were stressful. In the past, this very same preschool would let me off the hook for such meetings about my other two sons:
Oh, Mrs. Walsh. You know that Daniel is the most wonderful child who has ever walked these halls. I know it's hard for you to make the meetings, so just skip it. He's doing great and I really don't have any concerns about him.
Hi, Mrs. Walsh! I know you're on the schedule to meet about Jack, but he's just an angel. He is such a doll and so very smart. Let's save you the trouble of dragging all those kids over here. He's doing great. No worries whatsoever.
Yet for Joey, I received three emails, a phone call and two face-to-face confirmations about attending parent-teacher conference. Things weren't looking good.
Thankfully, the meeting went a lot better than I had anticipated, and Joey apparently shares toys and follows directions at preschool. Still, I am left wondering if they might have mixed up his file with a more obedient child. Not that I'm complaining.
Sometimes I feel these meetings are really a critique on my parenting more than the children's educational progress. The leading questions. The comments on how I haven't volunteered for a field trip yet. Or a fundraiser. Or to serve as room mom or teacher liaison or staple-and-sort mom.
And I will give them the answer I have given each year: I'm pacing myself. The kids are all cute right now. Parents are foaming at the mouth to be involved. Give it some time. These kids are getting older and sassier and about to go through some gawky, fangled-tooth years. Nobody is going to want to volunteer. Some of the kids are about to be bigger than the moms.
And who are you left with then?
Six Foot Tall Super Blogger Mom. That's right. You're going to want me - fresh and well rested from all those non-volunteering years. When the "aren't-they-cute" moms fall to the wayside, Mrs. Walsh will be here making sure no children are sneaking off to the bus on field trips or stealing things from the gift shop.
If Captain Von Trapp was a CPS mom, he would be me.
No need to thank me quite yet. But you will. You will.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.