I am not sure how other parents spend their days--I imagine working, being productive, accomplishing goals, maybe doing laundry or gardening. I spend my days writing emails to the schools and teachers and finish my day as a motivational academic trainer reviewing goals and demanding my children believe in themselves enough to finish one freaking math problem before 10pm.
Note: It is 10pm. There are still a few freaking math problems to finish.
Friends, parenting older children, has been, in my experience, more work than the parenting of younger children. I know some of you will relate and others of you are able to spend your days accomplishing your life goals (good for you, I guess).
Some days, I think I am doing it all wrong and then other days I think I am doing it all right, but then there are days like today when I think I am just doing it to survive and accomplishing nothing.
The work, I think, is worth it. My goals used to be for my children to grow up to be happy and fulfilled. These days I focus on ensuring they do not end up incarcerated or married by age 19 to someone who is chronically unemployed. I am joking, sort of. I want them to grow up and be able to advocate for themselves--whether it is in a lecture hall or on a soccer field or in a meeting room or in salary negotiations or when they represent themselves, against all legal advice, in their own trials.
I still want them to be happy and fulfilled; but really I can only do what I can.
I am always advocating for them--checking in to make sure IEPs and plans are being followed; teaching them to do the same for themselves, listening to them as they ask for advice on how to ask for more time or clarification and being omnipresent so everyone knows that my children have not been tossed in this world alone, but instead they come with an entourage.
I give them wings and let them fail--but not crash, since they've got the privilege of parents who can provide soft landings. Still, I know the heavy lifting is up to them. They have to read the books and study and practice math and take the tests and go into the world.
It is a lot for them, too, especially when, like most students, they don't fit into the box. And since they don't fit, I spend a lot of time encouraging and imparting self-confidence in the face of difference and teaching them to demand inclusion at all times for everyone.
But still, I have no idea what in the world I am doing or how I am doing at it all. It's exhausting and annoying and I have so many other things I'd like to do instead of writing a note to a teacher about a reading log for my 4th grader or helping my 16 year old explain why handwriting a graph is really inaccessible to her or reminding my middle that she is not unworthy of advanced math just because it sometimes hard.
I do sometimes think about not doing things; but then when I don't things just get worse.
So, I do it, sometimes late or even too late. Sometimes I do it with anger and rage and other times I do it without the correct level of force. But, I cannot stop trying for them, because someday I will expect them to try for their children. Maybe all this legacy and arguing and advocating is a birthright of ours and character building. Maybe it is just exhausting. But whatever it is, there is still one math problem for me to cheerlead to the finish line. . .so off I go.