I was talking to my sister today and we agreed on something. Things that were such a big deal and that we thought were so important with our first couple children just aren’t as important with our last couple children. It’s funny how life, wisdom, and time change your perspective. That doesn’t mean you don’t constantly question your parenting skills, feel like you are screwing up, and are just praying your children turn out happy and successful.
Sam is 6…he’s quiet, peers at you, looking up over his glasses, with his intuitive thoughts going on in his head. He has a special relationship with God, and seems to capture the hearts of every grandma instantly. Sometimes he doesn’t feel like going to school. He just flat out refuses, grabbing onto doorways if I try to drag him out to the bus (boy is he strong), refusing to put his coat on, tearing up when I say I’m going to take away electronics. Once every couple weeks we go through this.
I went through this with my oldest son. He was my first, so I knew I couldn’t ever let him get away with skipping school, or it would become something he would do every day. So if he refused to go to school, I would be stern, making him stay in bed for the duration of the school day with books and small toys. However, most times I would have him pulled out of my car by teachers, kicking and screaming and crying….talk about tramatic for a first time mom, and I’m sure even more tramatic for him! Social situations stressed him out, and though I definitely embraced his sensitive side, as a new mom I felt it was important to make him go to school. I can honestly say I regret it. I regret not just bringing him home on those days and letting him have a quiet day at home with me. I regret making him sit up for kindergarten graduation with his head in his lap sobbing, all his friends around him watching…just because that’s what you are supposed to do in kindergarten. I regret getting frustrated when he asked to play baseball at a young age, but would run and hide in a bush, refusing to go out and play. I look back and think, who cares? He is smart, talented, would missing a few days of school or skipping some baseball games really have mattered? He still remembers those days he cried being brought into school and at graduation, and though he laughs about it now, I still regret it.
Sam is different. He doesn’t seem scared. Just bored and tired. Sometimes he just doesn’t feel like going, and is willing to sit in my break room at work for 4 hours straight doing a puzzle. Part of me feels like I need to lay down the law…let him know you can’t ever skip school..because heaven forbid he start trying to skip every day.
But at this point in my life, a big part of me is like…who cares? It’s first grade! He gets 100% on all his spelling tests, he loves to read, he gets his math homework done in less than 5 minutes each night. Is he bored at school? Maybe..but he isn’t the type of child that gets excited for extra academic work. Is something bad happening at school? Well, isn’t that every mother’s first instinct? Trust me…I am top notch at thinking of the worst things that could be happening to my children… looking for cues, trying to ask the right question…video monitors on while sleeping. In fact I spent an hour wasting time in the bathroom last night reseraching sex trafficing in my area and all the alleged attempted abductions recently. Believe me, when a child doesn’t want to go somewhere, that is probaby most mother’s first concern…something bad is happening to my child.
However, I truly feel he just needs some days off. He is one of those kids that likes quiet time. Yes, we take away electronics when he doesn’t go. Yes, I’ve started a rewards system. So is it bad that I don’t really care that he skips school sometimes? These young kids have so many expectations…even my 9 year old daughter who loves school comes home looking exhausted on days.
It is so hard to know how to be a parent, if we are doing the right or wrong thing. I’m learning that life is to short to “sweat the small stuff”. Sometimes you just gotta skip school.