Prior to having children of my own, I was a teacher. I had no little children of my own at home to care for in the evenings, and I basically took care of myself and my dog all day with a brain capacity that I long to have again.
I was extremely organized, spent hours preparing lessons and activities for my students, went overboard decorating bulletin boards, and took great pride in the daily emails and newsletters that went home to parents.
It used to DRIVE ME BONKERS when parents would send their kids back to school the following day with their folders still full of information and artwork, as if they didn’t even care to see what we had done that day.
It drove me nuts when parents would send their kids to school without a coat when it was cold outside, or why they would DARE send a Capri Sun in a lunch box when they knew good and well the kid wouldn’t be able to put the straw in it without help. I thought how lazy some parents were to just toss a Lunchable in the lunchbox.
Don’t even get me STARTED on when they would forget to send a cereal box for their child when I clearly stated in all of the information they never took out of the backpacks when we needed the cereal box by.
But now that I’m not a teacher, I’m a parent with two kids in two different schools, with different activities and deadlines and projects. I try VERY hard to not do the things that used to irritate me so badly as a teacher, but now that I’m on the other side of things, I have a whole lot more grace for parents.
I’ll admit I’ve forgotten to take the information and artwork out of the backpack at night. Not because I don’t care about what they did that day, but because when we get home from school I have to get kids out of the car, unpack and re-pack lunches, do laundry, pick up the house, make dinner, give baths, read bedtime stories, tuck kids in and still find time to hang out with my husband, and sometimes the backpack is forgotten about until the next day.
I realize now that sometimes, no matter how cold it is, you might just have a very stubborn child who absolutely refuses to put on a coat, and you don’t have time to argue any longer about it in the parking lot. I also realize that packing lunches every day is a dad gum task, and sometimes you need to throw in whatever is easiest, or whatever you know your child is actually going to consume and not just throw away in the school trash can.
I have a DEEP understanding for parents who forget things now. Maybe it’s the two children I already have, or being pregnant with a third one, but remembering anything extra is a challenge. When I DO remember to bring the cereal box for school on the correct day, I usually take two, because I feel for the parent who may forget.
All this to say, teachers – please have some grace for parents. We absolutely love and appreciate everything you do for our children on a daily basis, and we don’t deliberately do dumb things as parents. But sometimes we can’t help ourselves. We are doing the best we can!