The Marriage of Q and U (really, this is a thing now)

Lately I have been talking with some of the “younger” moms who have little ones in daycare, preschool and primary school. Seems odd, but they turn to me for advice because I have “experience.”

Ha. I laugh because I have no clue what I am doing. Don’t tell my son, but I am mostly making this up as I go along. Sometimes I think, “what would Mom do?” and that gives me a little bit of confidence, but in all seriousness who among us has any idea what we’re doing in life? I know I am attempting to raise a decent young man who will make his mark on the world with his genius and his altruism. But, I am totally winging it. I try to guide him and advise him, but I make mistakes. Lots of them. I look to my friends for their advice and their opinions regularly. We’re all just winging it, but it feels better to do it together, right? It takes a village.

I noticed that other parents were asking this question of me a lot lately – “did you ever miss out on the in-school events when your son was little?” Yes. I missed quite a few, even despite the fact that I had a pretty flexible schedule. Yes, I forgot to send him in with money on book fair days and Mother’s Day plant sale days. Yes, I missed a few “in class” occasions and several field days.

I started thinking about all the occasions my mom may have attended when I was little. I couldn’t think of too many because way back in the day, we just went to school. Parents were seldom invited. I recall an in-school carnival when I was in 4th grade, but parents were asked to volunteer. They were rarely summoned to be an audience while we entertained them. There was no parent “reader” visiting our class every week. No one was there to suffer through our in-class recitation of the Gettysburg Address.

We did not have the “marriage of Q and U” or Thanksgiving turkey at pre-school. I remember pre-school graduation. Mom was there for that. Dad was in the military and out to sea, so he very seldom made it to the school day events. Few dads ever came to the graduations or carnivals. Presumably, they all had jobs while the moms did not. My mom was a career woman when it was rare. I was proud of her, though I recall people looking at me strangely when I told them my mom had a job. Not just a job, a title. Weird, to think about that now.

So, why are there so damn many occasions these days to call parents in and have them witness these minor events? I understand that the idea is to get parents more involved in educating our children, but why do these events all occur during the workday? Teachers work outside the home, correct? Don’t they miss their children dressed up like little old people for the 100th Day of School or wearing a weird hat for Dr. Seuss’ birthday parade?

Yes, it’s okay to teach little Johnny that Mom and Dad won’t be able to make it to all these parties and parades. And, Mom and Dad learn that they have to let their kids down once in a while. But seriously, why? Why so damn many in-school events? The parents who are least involved in their child’s education are more than likely the ones who won’t be able to show up for this crap.

As a single parent, I implore the educators among us, to stop. JUST STOP. Schedule your art shows, guest readers and Pi day festivities for the evening. Or, better still keep it in school and share a video with us. It is the digital age, after all. Seriously. We’ve had enough. Make the special events really special by limiting the number of “special” events you schedule for workdays to 1 or 2 a year. Thank you.

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