“You will not believe what your child did this time!” came the shrill, exasperated voice of my daughter’s child care worker at a church where I attended a ladies Bible study. I endured similar comments every time I picked her up. I so dreaded picking my daughter up that finally I quit going to the Bible study. What child you might ask? Faith, my thirteen year old. Yes, the sweet, quiet girl that would never purposely get in trouble in class now. You see at the age of two she was an only child, a biter, and would take on any class bully. One of the times I picked her up the lady asked me incredulously (talking about her biting), “Don’t you work with her at home?” Really? Did she think I gave her my arm everyday and told her to bite away? Of course I worked with her at home! That was one of those times when I blinked really fast, plastered a smile on my face, and didn’t say anything, thankfully!
All of my children have taken their turns giving their child care worker problems in one way or another. There have also been various child care workers that have been obviously annoyed at times with each one of my children though none so overt as that first lady. I too have been a child care helper in a class full of unruly children. I know how harried you can be by then end of the day, and I try to remember this when when a teacher is less than kind or not understanding.
Parenting is the most difficult job I’ve ever had. It’s all day, every day, especially with little ones. Sometimes there are absolutely no breaks! I have dropped off my children at Sunday school or Mom’s Day Out literally crying from exhaustion and desperation. I have actually gone to run and hide when I heard the coordinator looking for someone to fill in last minute. Oh how I have needed encouragement at times! I can’t even begin to tell you how demoralizing it feels to pick your child up from nursery or their class to have the worker lay into me about every little thing they did wrong. I know my children. I know their faults. Yes, there are times the parents need to know what has happened in a class and parents also need to be involved in helping their child obey and cooperate in a class setting, BUT use some discretion. Please.
If you’ve seen the movie Mom’s Night Out, then you’ve seen EXACTLY what my life is like. So many people have told me that they thought of me when they saw that movie. Yes, that is my life. You know how she arrived to church late completely disheveled? I love this scene!
Izzy: Don’t kill the messenger but the Sunday School coordinator said to remember your number this time.
Allyson: Ok. Fine. Fine. Just please don’t page me over something trivial.
Izzy: The fire department didn’t think it was trivial.
Allyson: Look at me. I just… I need one hour to myself on Mother’s Day. Please!
And then of course she WAS paged with her child being the one who did something completely crazy. The only differences between me and Allyson are that A. I’m not a health nut and B. I have five children instead of three. 🙂 But wow. That is my life!
I have also had numerous wonderful, kind, loving, understanding people care for my children through the years. How I love them! Recently a lady came up to me. “Are you Little Jason’s mother?” she asked. Instinctively I stiffened, ready for the blow. “I just wanted to tell you that he had a fantastic day in class today. He just did awesome.”
I’m sure I relaxed visibly. I smiled weakly and said, “Thank you.”
“One of my children were very much like him when he was little. You’re doing a great job Mom!” She gave me a thumbs up and walked away. Her reward is waiting in heaven I am sure!
Little Jason’s Classical Conversations tutor this year was fantastic with him. Yes, there were times she had to tell me of issues that needed to be addressed with him, but for every one of those times there were ten other times when she had good things to say about him. And isn’t that how our criticisms should be, balanced with encouragement and love?
In these situations of caring for other people’s children would that we all would view our time as a ministry to the children and families. Let’s not crush these poor moms that may be at their wit’s end with every trivial thing their child did wrong. Give moms a break!
To all of you who have ever offered a kind word and loved my children, thank you, from the bottom of my heart!