21 Apr 2015

Failed - another day in parenting

Please don't tell me to chill. I am pretty chill as they come. My animal of choice after all is the one that takes naps through the day.

But I am tired, even resentful, of having to work so hard - in very specific ways - to help my children succeed through school.

I went to school nilly-willy; sometimes I did my work, many times I didn't even know I had work to get done. There are days when I was more present, asked questions and participated. More often, I blanked out or got lost in my own little world, and the fact that my teacher called me 'a dreamer' must point to that. {thankfully, that word didn't sound too harsh, so I dreamed on...}.

But with my children, I have to watch if they are ~

1. bringing all the stuff
from textbooks to activity books to folders, letters, files,letters, and more - all of which should be clearly labeled with permanent ink from get-set-go. Not being the most detailed of personalities; I still got the hang of it. But they have a lot of stuff. Last year, for English language alone, I finally got from the teacher that my son needed 8 different books/files/folders!

2. being their best
the kid should come heeled with positive learning habits ie. sit still, listen, work conscientiously, write beautifully, and of course, top it all off with band 1 marks.

3. boosting the school's performance
from raising funds to playing the cello... "is there anything your child can do ... preferably something at a competitive level?".

I never believed in hot-housing; but the temperatures are pretty high all year round with our system!

Talking with the teachers always leave me feeling like I have failed my child when they haven't caught up or measured up - in all the areas, all at once!

Even though well-meaning; I wanted to scream at the teacher: I know my child far better than you! I am the mother who chose to stay home, live on one income; to both enjoy and raise responsible, responsive human beings. As we march them off to the 'system', I braced and reminded myself often to build a synergistic team with the teachers (even the security personnel, come on!) ... bless their hearts, I know their workload is crazy. In fact, I am supportive to the point that I hear a little chiding voice asking me to feel bad, really bad, that I have failed to hand over a finer specimen for them to begin work with.

This is the discordant reality when everyone who meets your kids tell you they are 'smart' and their daily life reminds them of a different reality.

So with all my erstwhile efforts it feels like we are continually chasing a moving target.

Honestly, it's hard to motivate a child when the parent is pretty punctured!

I have found out that in their training, both pre-school and primary school teachers don't get more than a module in child development and learning. I guess, what's the point of covering that since at the end of the day it's going to be just one huge uphill task just trying to sit so many children down to and get-their-work-done; and it's a lot of work!

This past month, me the inadequate parent, found out that 'O' level students now take TWO preliminaries; the first one was in March! I cannot wrap my head around that! When did this madness begin?

Steven Covey the guru of get-things-done said to "Begin with the end in mind". 

I wonder what is the end in mind here? This is not a question about economics; it ought to be a question about Purpose.

My end in mind may just be divergent. And so, I will be classified as 'different', 'fail'... or as my funny friend used to say, we are the 'outstanding' ones - always made to stand outside/out.

How many parents end up feeling like I do, I wonder?

If you do feel lost, tired, discouraged or just plain lousy, share in the comments please.


  1. Oh I feel you. I'm in transition phase (pre school to primary school) and already see the mad race - enrichment classes that the other school mates are going for, parent-volunteer programs in high-demand good schools, pp making donations, moving homes to target certain schools..

    Then there is the "staunch" ones who up-play sending kids to the rare few boy mission school as oppose to "neighborhood school" (even if that means the kid wakes up at 5am to board the school bus at 5.30am, and don't get home till late in the day...)

    On good days, I take it chill. On other days, I go into panic. Still riding this out at least until enrollment is over... Then it'll be a different battle..;)

    1. yes this adds more twists and turns to the already heady parenting roller-coaster ride! fellow moms are a saver at times like this: laughter, prayer and tea break!

  2. Replies
    1. O my Peiling, your 'I feel you' is like a salve! Thank you. Let's feel for each other, pray and encourage each other.


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