Early dismissal week
I am a single mother. The sole financial provider and caregiver for three children…
So this week was parent teacher interviews at my children’s elementary school. What does that mean? Well, for five days straight two of my children were dismissed from school at 1:10 pm.
This causes problems for most working moms and a few extra for single parents. First, we feel bad that we can’t attend and then we have to figure out who will care for our children.
I was thinking today about all the creative ways I try to balance it all and I thought this may be worth sharing.
First, I have learned to not just admit my limitations to myself but to be upfront with others as to what I can and can’t do. I have set parenting priorities and realize they will not be the same as all the stay at home moms nor even many of the working moms who have a double income family.
When my daughter came home with the slip for my scheduled parent teacher interview… I sent the slip back with a note to the principal stating that I would not be able to attend either of my children’s interviews because my scheduled hours are 11:30 -4 and at that time I have to be at my desk. (See how I did that ONE NOTE for two kids, time saving.) Then I went in to the school and spoke to my daughters new teacher the next morning.
I let her know that;
a) I am my children’s sole provider and as a contractor if I take a day off I do not get paid.
b) I also let her know I have worked my schedule to allow me some flexibility for 9 am- 10 am so I can accommodate all of my children’s appointments and I have at least two every week for the next two months (isn’t that crazy!) True, but crazy.
c) That I feel bad I can not be more active in the school during school hours, but to stay in the loop I do attend all PTA meetings by paying for a sitter for two of my children and taking one with me (for quality time) to the possible dismay of some parents ;)
d) That I have three children. One just entering middle school who has adhd and sever allergies, one in grade three being treated for clinical depression who has possible hearing concerns, and my daughter ( in her class) who is undergoing treatment and testing to figure out why she has recurring kidney/bladder infections. On top of all this I have to stay healthy, work, and launch a business to get ahead financially.
e) That I realistically have a total of 20 minutes each evening to help three children with homework.
f) That I can stay in touch by email if she has any concerns. I am an active parent and I will do everything in my power to support her suggestions within that 20 minutes divided by three children.
g) That I appreciate her as my daughters teacher.
So I made it through early dismissal week. How? This week I had my first parent teacher interview via email and it went well. We had one nice traditional dinner this week – the other days all included salad and something pre packaged ;) My kids walked home from school. I worked from home with an IP phone.
Priorities, realistic expectations, and acknowledging that yes I will never measure up to the queen bees on the playground – but it’s likely I am more emotionally healthy then half of them ;)