Can you hear it? Wait for it. Listen closely. That, my friends, is the sound of Good Enough Mother tap dancing the very happy the-kids-are-back-in-school dance! After 45 LONG days, those kids are back where they belong and order has been restored to their world and mine. Here is the obligatory first-day-of-school photo, which gets harder to capture each year.
And so off we went, both kids and the dog safely ensconced in the SUV headed for the ½ mile sojourn to school. Now I talk a good game but truth is, sometimes I am guilty of the very things I rail against. I think they have a name for that… um, um oh yeah, HYPOCRITE!
That may be harsh but I did see a bit of myself in Lenore Skenazy’s piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning. Lenore takes to task parents who don’t let their kids walk to school instead opting to drop them off and pick them up. Curbside service, nice if you can get it. I didn’t have it when I was in school. My sister and I walked or rode our bikes what had to be at least ¾ of a mile each way to school. We were lean, strong and self-assured as a result.
But I am a little embarrassed to admit I am one of the THOSE mommies. It started after I lost my job. See, in a moment of complete self-delusion, I thought I would become supermom. My dulcet tones would awaken my angels from their 8-hour-slumber; they would pad downstairs to a warm breakfast of bacon and oatmeal, with I-love-you spelled out in butter and cinnamon on the top. Then they would get dressed (without repeated asking) and I would drive them to school. Needless to say, only one of those things is still in tact. So after a blaring alarm clock, a cold cereal bar and repeated pleas to get some clothes on, we’re off and running in the gas powered chariot.
Now, an unfortunate side effect has emerged; the kids have come to expect that I will drive them to school and more. All of a sudden I am not just mom, but chauffer-mom and my time is no longer my own. My morning revolves around when they want to arrive at school and the middle of the workday (yes, writing this blog from home is work) is interrupted by when they want to be picked up. Don’t even get me started on when two kids go in two directions at the same time.
I have a little bit of an excuse, which is that we live in a small town and our house is right on a major thoroughfare and I don’t feel comfortable letting them cross without an adult there. But why don’t I walk them across the street and send them on their way? You got me. Guess that makes me a bit of a safety harness, much to my chagrin.
But school is for learning and this mommy recently had a bit of a break-through. I let my kids take the bus home. Shocking, I know. And yes, it dropped them off in front of the house and they walked 50 feet from the street to the door, with me waving madly from the porch. But they did it, survived and dang it, they will do it again. And guess what? They both actually want to WALK tomorrow! Could be the start of something very, very good.
What about you? Do you let your kids walk or take the bus? If you drive them, why do you? And do you think parents today are being too over protective?