In the year of a working mother I’d say December is the equivalent of competing in an Ironman triathlon. Holiday cards, family photo shoots for the holiday cards which require hour of shopping for coordinating but not matchy-matchy outfits, decorating the house, holiday parties, cookie bakes, presents – for friends, for family, for kids, for teachers, for coworkers, for the after school staff, for your hair stylist, for your trainer, for your manicurist, for random people who get you a present which forces you to run out and buy them a last minute present and I’m certain there is someone I am forgetting – all on top of the typical chaos and craziness.
So why, why, why for the love of all things holy do elementary school teachers decide this is the best month ever to ask their students to complete projects? I have two elementary school aged children and they’ve had three projects due in the last two weeks: science, book, and holiday. The irony of the holiday project is I barely had time because of all the school projects to squeeze in my annual Christmas cookie bake that is our family’s only holiday tradition. Or at least the only holiday tradition that is G-rated enough to be included in an elementary school project. I figured ‘mommy drinking too much wine while wrapping presents,’ ‘mommy drinking too much wine while decorating the tree all by herself after every other family member hung exactly two Christmas decorations leaving the rest to be completed by her,’ or my personal favorite ‘after mommy worked a ten hour day then had to fight the holiday crowds to buy stocking stuffers she drank a little too much wine to take the edge off her shopping adrenaline so she could sleep that night then do it all over again tomorrow,’ were all a little too hardcore to be the focus my son’s third grade classroom.
I wish I were one of those parents who do their projects for them because quite frankly, that would cut the required time to complete these projects down to about a tenth of the time my sons actually do spend on them. But as much as I’d love to have an extra hour to scrub the scum off my toilet bowls or vacuum up the dog-hair tumble weeds that have overtaken much of my home it isn’t enough to make me break down and complete the work my son’s should be doing. That can only lead to way worse things later in life, my friends, I will not be going to college with those boys to make sure they graduate – the buck stops here. But don’t tell me there’s a third grader out there who knows what a family tree is and the dates of birth for each family member. Or that fifth grader can write a cohesive scientific essay without some proofreading and multiple revisions. I stay out as much as possible but I’m telling you now, my third grader doesn’t have the capacity to take pictures of himself performing his family’s holiday tradition, download them to the computer then print them on photo paper. I’m still lucky if that boy wipes.
So members of the elementary school community, please consider holding off one month – just one month – to bury us with projects. You will be giving us parents the best gift of all this holiday season: time.
For laughter and inspiration read my blog NicoleCorning.com and my book The Working Mommy’s Manual, available on Amazon:
The Working Mommy’s Manual by Nicole W. Corning