New Title – Bad Mom

Sorry I’ve been AWOL from here. My typically crazy life got crazier when I threw a man into the mix. I guess it had been so long, I’d forgotten how much time and maintenance those things require. *sigh*

Anywho, it’s confession time. See the title to this blog? That applies to me. I am officially one of *those* moms. Yep, the ones that the teachers think, “That poor child to have her for a mother” and say things to each other like, “It’s a shame really.” Until recently, I thought I was a pretty good mom. Not that my choices and decisions have always made my child’s life easy, but she’s well fed, has a solid roof over her head, gets plenty of rest, and has some nice things. And she tells me I’m the best mom ever so I took her word for it. Then again, who does she have to compare me to? No one.

In the last several weeks, I’ve been slacking off. I haven’t been keeping on top of her homework. Mostly because I have my head somewhere else. And because I never needed or wanted help with my homework as a kid so I feel like she should be able to handle it. Here’s a shocker, my kid is not me. I know, I was surprised about this too.

I’ve been seeing this coming for a while. Though my daughter is all about the cute earrings and the funky bracelets, she doesn’t care a thing about her hair. In fact, I don’t think she’d ever brush it if I didn’t make her. We have a tough time finding clothes because she wears teen sizes but is too young for the styles. Last week she wore a shirt with a large hole in the back and another that was way too small for her. Since she’s smart enough to cover these with jackets before we walk out the door, I rarely know these things until I pick her up.

Then you throw in the body odor. For some reason, kiddo cannot remember to put deodorant on every day. This is a necessity to say the least. There are times I’ve picked her up and had to drive home with the windows down because the smell was so bad. And that’s in the winter time. It was worth the frost bite to be able to breath.

As if all of this was not enough, yesterday was the clincher. Kiddo had a project due today that included a detailed book report that she would present to the class, and with the presentation she had to present some kind of food to her classmates that tied in with the book. Here’s the problem, that food had to be made from scratch. I don’t do from scratch. If it doesn’t come from a box, the freezer, or a restaurant, Iā€™m not making it. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, this holds true.

I’m not proud of this. It’s just my reality. A childhood of helping my grandmother in the kitchen taught me nothing. Mostly because my grandmother didn’t have much patience. She spent more time shewing me away or finding the least complicated thing for me to do. Don’t even get me started on my mother. I already called her this morning and bitched her out for my lack of cooking skills since I know she doesn’t read this blog.

What really chaps my ass is the teacher’s insistence this stuff be from scratch. It’s likely I’m the only one who has a problem with this, but assuming everyone can pull off from scratch is an antiquated notion and ticks me off beyond belief. I’m no June Cleaver folks. I’m not even a tiny bit Martha Stewart. And never will be, Iā€™m sure.

By some miracle, I found a place in the book where the characters were at some international holiday food festival and managed to narrow down one of the items mentioned as something we could do. It was a traditional flat bread from Kenya. It’s called a Chapati and we technically made the Indian version (bastardized I’m sure) and pulled it off. And if you’re ever in a pinch, a large bottle of olive oil works great as a rolling pin.

Am I the only one with this problem? The only one who cringes when one of those papers comes home from school with a complicated project on it? Tell me I’m not the only inept mother on the planet. Please? (Feel free to lie if necessary.)

23 thoughts on “New Title – Bad Mom”

  1. irisheyes says:

    I beat you out on that title today, Ter. I just got a new sub clerical job at the grammar school (in the library – my favorite place). I’m very excited about it. I went in last week and it was so great being appreciated and wanted and having someone praise my every move. I definitely don’t get that around here. It was a real boost to my ego. Anyway, they called me today to come in tomorrow. My daughter comes home sick today and I tell her she can’t be sick tomorrow cause I want to go to work! She looks at me and says “Oh, that’s nice!!”

    I’m pretty much on the same page as you are with the school projects too. The DH and I have been blessed with fairly intelligent kids. The older they get and the harder the homework gets the more grateful we’ve become. We really did luck out! It seems like every other week they’re coming home with a project that needs to be completed! My daughter is like her father and thinks everything is fun! She came home last week with a huge smile on her face all excited about another project she had to do and says “I get to measure my bedroom and do a scaled down model for math class. Doesn’t that sound like fun?” As I was smiling and nodding my head, I was actually thinking “Oh shit!”

    I HATE projects. Hated them when I was in school and hate them now. My only saving grace is that she needs almost no help with this stuff. She takes charge, gets everything she needs and gets it done pretty much by herself. My son, now, is another matter. He’s just as smart, but has his mother’s attitude when it comes to everything – “That’s gonna be a pain in the ass!” LOL

  2. I have no complicated projects coming from my kids school—yet! They are still a bit young for that. But in a few years, I’m doomed.

    And I’m lucky to have a hubby that does most of the cooking, since I get home late from the day job.

    Irish I do that with my kids. I tell them, you can’t be sick, you have to go to school! There’s no two buts about it.

    I think my son’s teacher thinks I’m an evil mom. We have lost the fourth library book in two years (there were some in his kindergarten years too). I sent a message to the school that under no circumstance was my son allowed to take out a library book anymore! They are 20$ a pop! Seriously, what the teacher doesn’t know is that there are too many books already in my house to keep track of, to throw in extra library books, they always get lost!

    Ter, thanks for the shout out!

  3. terrio says:

    Irish – I’ve done that. Since I can’t seem to accumulate any time off at work I’m always telling Isabelle she can’t be sick. And I admit I’ve sent her to school knowing I’d likely have to go get her before lunch. I think my kiddo probably likes projects but like me, she procrastinates. So when she springs these things on me at the last minute, it makes me crazy. LOL! Though I’m not sure I’d start any sooner if I knew. LOL!

  4. terrio says:

    Tiff – We lost one library book that Is swore she took back. I paid for it and then they must have found it because they gave me my money back. Ha!

    You’re welcome for the mention. That’s definitely something for the SQUEEEE section!

  5. Stephanie J says:

    I feel so lucky that I don’t have to deal with this stuff! lol I know what you mean about the HW stuff. Just this past weekend Mary and I were talking about how we never had set homework time and completion of HW was left up to us. Imagine our shock finding out that other friends used to have set homework times every single day!

    I don’t think schools should object if something isn’t made from scratch. Think about it, by allowing store-bought goods they might be saving themselves from possible food poisoning! I can bake but I fear the day that I have to cook something for other people. I think I gave myself a small case of salmonella the other week…

    And despite all your fears…I know you are a fabulous mother! I’ve met you. I know. šŸ™‚

  6. Janga says:

    Terri, the only title of “Good Mom” that matters is the one Isabelle gives you, and I’m sure she uses the superlative “best” when she describes you. You should read the cupcake description in Marsha Moyer’s Heartbreak Town. šŸ™‚

    To give another view of the dreaded school project . . . I had a conversation a few weeks with a friend whose daughter I taught many years ago. My friend was indignant that I had no memory of Rhonda’s creation of Argos, Odysseus’s dog. Her memory was detailed. She knew the materials her child used, how far they had to drive when one essential component was missing, how carefully they transported the finished project to school, how proud they both were of the A. But her memories were focused on one project; mine were vague recollections of the 20 projects in that Honors class amid a sea of memories of other projects assigned over l-o-n-g years of teaching.

  7. Elyssa Papa says:

    I’m not a mom, thank goodness. But I felt like a mom when I taught–all that constant attention, the discipline, feelings of being taken for granted . . . the list goes on and on and on.

    Terri, I’m sure you’re a fabulous mom and that Izzy loves you for who you are. I mean, how many moms would bring them to Maryland for a Nora Roberts signing!! Baking from scratch is a ridiculous assignment; I would have bought something from the store and lied about it. But then I probably wouldn’t be setting a good example to the kids. That’s why I won’t be having them. LOL.

  8. terrio says:

    Steph – You are going to have beautiful babies someday. I’ve met you, I know. šŸ™‚ LOL! Thanks for the sweet words. And that’s something that surprised me about the “from scratch” thing because at her other school it was a strict rule that NOTHING could be brought to school unless it was clearly store bought and sealed.

  9. terrio says:

    Janga – Rationally, I know you’re right. But then I see these other moms who are all skinny and well dressed and they’re the modern day June Cleavers. I realize it’s likely they’re lives aren’t that great if you’re in it, but it’s still tough to feel like the one who doesn’t fit the picture.

    Do you have any little projects from students that you’ve kept over the years? And how does it feel to see students you’ve taught all grown up?

  10. terrio says:

    Ely – You’ll have a lively brood of your own someday, don’t think you’re getting out of it. LOL! And Is says one kid did bring something store bought and didn’t get in trouble. Slacker. LOL!

    You have a point, I did take her to Maryland and she has met Eloisa and she did get to meet other authors at the RT signing. PLUS, she got her picture taken with a cover model. How many 9 yr olds can say that?! LOL!

  11. Stephanie J says:

    I can’t believe they got away with it! lol. Totally figures, right?

  12. Janga says:

    Terri, I kept some projects as long as I was teaching, but once I retired from the classroom, I just didn’t have the space for them. I did keep a few things students had written but none of the big projects.

    I am sometimes disconcerted when I see former students now. This is particularly true of those from my early years if I haven’t seen them for a long time. In my head they are still 16 or 17. It startles me to see gray hairs or to be shown pictures of their teenage children. Of course, you need to remember that I was very young when I started teaching, and the kids I taught those first years were only a few years younger than I. šŸ™‚

    But I am also proud of what some of them have accomplished, and I am always very touched when I get notes or emails from former students, as I do surprisingly often.

  13. terrio says:

    Steph – Totally figures. Kiddo’s teacher doesn’t like me much so I’m sure she’d have called us on it.

    Janga – Now I feel bad that I’ve never sent any of my teachers a note of any kind. Though I’d be surprised if any of them recognized me today. I look quite different from the teen with the big perm, acne, and glasses that I used to be. LOL!

  14. Oh, gosh. I always told my kids to volunteer me for paper products, where no cooking was ever involved. Science projects completely confounded me, and the year somebody had to make a medieval castle out of shredded wheat and sugar cubes and stones from the driveway was a huge mess. I once was at work and forgot my daughter was in a program at school. Slide over on the Bad Mom couch. They’re all grown up now and still hold grudges.:)

  15. terrio says:

    *scoots over to make room*

    I have yet to actually forget Kiddo anywhere. Though I have driven past the daycare more than once and remembered to turn around and go back. *sigh* I’m sure once she starts doing even more activities, I’ll forget her somewhere. LOL!

  16. J.K. Coi says:

    For me it’s the reading homework that makes me a bad mom. I mean, who would have known I can’t hack that? For real? I’m an author for heaven’s sake.

    But maybe because I found reading came so easily to me, now I just CAN’T watch my son struggling with it and I’ll do everything I can think of to get out of helping him read (reading TO him is another story)

  17. terrio says:

    JK – The homework is VERY hard for me. I don’t remember having this much for starters. And no one EVER helped me. There’s was no mom & dad sit down with me every night and help me get this done. They didn’t even check my homework!

    If I went by my kiddo, I’d swear they just give the assignments in the morning and then there is no instruction. Every piece of homework is like something she’s never seen or heard before. I KNOW they are teaching this stuff. Now, if only she’d pay attention and absorb some of it. *sigh*

  18. Quantum says:

    I didn’t realise that school projects were intended to test parents!

    Hmmm…tht could become embarrassing *g*

    While at London University I remember the story of a famous theoretical physicist working there who thought that his daughter wasn’t being taught maths properly. He decided to tutor her himself. She soon became proficient in group theory and shamed her teachers… but still got low marks!

    Terri,what can you teach your daughter that will dazzle the teachers? *g*

  19. Terri can teach her how to write a sizzling scene …

    but somehow I don’t think that’ll dazzle them.

    Rattle them, maybe.

    Terri, I read this whole blog with a jaded eye. I know you. I know Is. I’ve seen the two of you together and frankly, you’re being too hard on yourself. You’re a great mom and Is knows exactly how much you adore her. You take care of everything all on your own so I don’t want to hear this crap about that teacher or else I’ll ask for her email and give her a suggestion or two where you’re concerned.

    What’s more, you’re honest about what sort of mother you are.

    Unlike me.

    I TRY to be June Cleaver and end up disappointing the kids. I start off checking every single math problem, reading every single word of every boring 3rd grade chapter book (to be sure he’s not scanning) … and then I wear myself out to the degree I start hiding during homework time (reading People.com or something … isn’t that sad?).

    But then I wonder if maybe my previous approach was screwing them up further. Does constant hand-holding really teach the best lessons? For example, my daughter can do every wksht she gets, but won’t start unless I’m standing there beside her.

    Or maybe I’m just trying to justify the hiding.

    In any case, move here and I’ll do your food assignments.

    J–using every little bit of bait she can find.

  20. terrio says:

    Q – I didn’t know the homework for me for me either. I can’t ever remember my parents sitting down and helping me with homework. Or checking it for that matter. My parents were the ultimate “hands off” parents. LOL! Dentist? Nah. Know what she’s learning in school? We’ll pass. LOL!

    The way they teach these kids now is so crazy. I don’t get it at all. And we end up arguing because she’ll say that’s not how she’s supposed to do the problem but we’re stilling getting the right answer and that’s how I know to do it so that’s how we’re doing it. Homework time is very contentious in our household. LOL!

    And I’m afraid the thing I’ve taught her to dazzle them is simply speaking up. And they don’t seem to like that about kids these days.

  21. terrio says:

    J – Your comment reminds me of something I said this weekend. Kiddo went to the front of church yesterday for childrens sermon and my friend suggested I should go up with her. I just looked at him and said, “I prefer to foster her independence by letting her do it alone.” I’d never thought of it that way until the words came out of my mouth. But that really is my philosophy.

    It’s hard to let them go and watch them fall. But that really is what they need I think. I can’t be there forever to brace her up. She needs her legs under her and that can only happen if I get out of the way. However, she also knows I’m within reach. And that’s important as well.

    You’re a fantastic mom and your highly intelligent and adorable children are all the proof you need for that. One of the great things about parenting is all the gray area. We do our best, the way we feel we need to do it, and learn along the way. It’s not like these little people come with instruction manuals! LOL!

    And I’ll keep the moving option in mind. But right now, the chance of moving north is still on the table. šŸ™‚

  22. MistyJo says:

    Terri, I had to try to make some piece of crap from the Renaissance period for one of Hannah’s class projects last year for her 9th grade English class. They were reading Romeo and Juliet, and let’s just say that I could have created real poison for the lovers. The class had to try all the dishes. I told Hannah to claim food allergies. My dish sucked, but the projects that required drawing rocked. You should have seen our life size Neptune for the Odyssey. šŸ˜‰

    YOU are by no means a bad mother! Isabelle adores you, and your love for her shines in your writing. We all get sidetracked. Hell, my motto is, “I never said that I was a soccor mom!” I didn’t attend most of Colin’s t-ball games this past summer because they stressed me out. Bill, on the other hand, loved the games. I’ll like the games once Colin is older. As for the hygiene, all kids go through that phase. Isabelle will adjust when she notices some boy at school. Trust me. When Hannah was in the 6th grade, I made her wear dirty clothes for two or three weeks because I was fed up with having to climb the stairs to gather her laundry. I told her she could either bring it down to the laundry room or go dirty. She chose to go dirty for two or three weeks. She’s one lazy kid. I promised that I witnessed her ironing dirty clothes for school on several occasions to wear to school. She must have been sniffing the pile for what was less offensive. Finally she broke and washed her clothes. After washing them, the next day she told me, “You have no idea how good clean clothes feel!” LOL!

    I’m thrilled that you have found someone worthy of dating. You deserve happiness. (((((HUGS)))))

  23. terrio says:

    MistyJo – I should probably realize there are bigger and worse projects to come, huh? LOL! I’m sure if you’d have been the mom to poison a 9th grade class, that you could safely take this title.

    That dirty clothes thing is too funny. And I thought I was stubborn! But she learned a good lesson. Yay! you and all of us NON-soccer moms. šŸ™‚

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