Getting Real With Veronica Ibarra

Well, it has been a while since I’ve found any time to think let alone write. I spent the summer having fun with the kids, and for some reason (probably their ages) I found that it took up almost all my time. That’s not a complaint, just how it turned out.

Now school has begun. My daughter is in third grade, which means transition from earning satisfactories to earning real grades. That makes me nervous. As a parent I believe it is my responsibility to support what she learns in school, and to encourage her to follow rules, follow directions, and strive to meet expectations. I’d like it if she would exceed expectations, but I want her to have fun and stay interested too. Delicate balance, that.

She’s been in school now for nearly a month. She started homework on the second day of school, and the battles have been consistent with what they were last year; however, the stakes are higher. It’s her homework, but I feel the pressure. I’m the one who has to ask if she has homework, knowing every day that she does. I’m the one who has to direct her to sit down to work on it. I’m the one who has to check over it and call her to task if she makes a mistake. Basically I’m the mean mommy overlord.

Then there’s my son who is beginning preschool. He doesn’t start until after Labor Day, but there’s a mountain of paperwork to fill out, a home visit to set up, a staggered entry day for him to attend, then his special services to schedule to address his autism. That doesn’t embarrass me or scare me for my son, but it does mean a lot more to keep up with making me his advocate.

My daughter has already noticed the different level of involvement I put in. She doesn’t fully understand the why, and points out the lack of fairness. I struggle to help her understand her new level of responsibility as a third grader and older sister, and to understand the differing needs of her brother as he’s entering preschool.

My mommy guilt level feels a bit high right now, no matter how much I try to stay focused on what needs doing for each of my children and loving them. I’ve already caught myself a few times stressing out, and baking more cookies than is wise. My husband has been doing his part, but even he looks at me with that pre-stress meltdown expression that has me scrambling to make sure things don’t crash around our ears.

Fortunately, things really are well in hand thanks to my organizational skills. It just feels like a lot to deal with. This is that time when things are changing, shifting, and we are trying to find our new normal. I know this. It happens every year, really. Back to school means back to routine and order, but first we must reestablish the routine and order.

And for me, this year’s routine and order is going to involve more.

Here’s hoping the adjustment goes well for us all.