Mommy Tightrope

October 15, 2008

I laugh at Daughter sometimes.  One of her favorite words or concepts to pitch a fit at is Choices…. “Ughhh there’s that word again…why does it have to come down to me?”, she’ll say when hubby and I discuss life stuff with her and brother.  Son, oddly enough, is cool with the word….doesn’t seem to bring him much grief at all.  Hmm, I wonder if we’re getting through…and his reaction is a simple, “Ok”…and that’s just him.  Surely he gets the gist….understands how important his choices are, even at 10.

I’ve gotta word that is ever-present with me (sometimes too present?)…Balance.  While it doesn’t make me cringe…now…I do recognize it as an interesting theme in many facets of my life.  Lately, I’ve been one tightrope-walking Mom, with a balancing pole the length and weight of a McDonald’s straw.  Man, what a suspense-filled show parents put on, as their heart’s center of gravity oscillates between children who are very similar, yet very different.

Right now, the department of concern is Education.  Report card season always makes me nervous.  It has since I was an overachieving kid, always shooting for an A (who in their right mind just wants to be ‘good’? lol) .  I guess I feel that their grades are not only their’s, but ours.  Our grades on how well we worked with them on homework, how well we kept a pulse on their class, tests, teachers….how well we assessed their needs, and provided tools necessary for success.  So, when I got the heads up from Son’s teacher about the sixth letter of the alphabet, of course my mommyness suffered a deep body blow.  It was already a tad fragile.

I seemed to have spit Daughter out academically.  With very little effort, she can pull a B in most classes.  Break somewhat of a sweat, and she’ll get an A every time.  It comes so easy for her.  Son, however, has to fight for excellence.  And it’s this fight that his 10 year old mind doesn’t seem to grasp right now.  Yeah, girls mature faster than boys.  But…

It’s been a 5th grade 1st quarter of teacher conferences, phone calls, talks, encouragement, butt whoopings (yeah, we’re old school), chats at Starbucks, walks in the park….we’ve pulled out a variety of stops.  The problem with his grades?  Teachers say, “When {Son} wants to come to class and work, he succeeds.  When he doesn’t, he doesn’t.  His behavior is starting to reflect in his grades.”

Mama was trying to give me advice about Son one day.  But by the time I finished explaining Son’s current extremes… “Ma, you don’t understand…He doesn’t get B’s or C’s….he either brings home high A’s or low F’s.”…she was cooked lol.  What do you say to something like that?  It’s not capacity…could it be…err, Choice?

I look at things in another light, too…walking my mommy tightrope.  It’s gotta be pretty darn hard for Son sometimes to have such an overachieving, everything-turns-to-gold Sister.  Sister got an A in this, Sister was in a movie, Sister’s in this or that show (though, Son has HIS first show coming up).  Does he rebel at times to get attention?  Is he just finding his way?

Don’t get me wrong…sister’s achievements have nothing to do with Son taking his hips to class, shutting his mouth, and getting his lesson.  And maybe there’s zero correlation between his grades and sister’s life.  Maybe it’s just me, trying to find balance….and/or trying to make sure we make the best Choices that satisfy them both.

That being said, should Daughter have to receive alot of her praise in private, for the sake of Son?  Hubby and I toned it down in recent years in front of Son…to safeguard his confidence…and the “why does SHE get all the _____.”   Whatever that blank holds.  Was that fair to Daughter?  I’ve even felt the gravity from others, when I tell them about something Daughter did.  They celebrate her, then end with “now don’t forget about {Son}.”  Huh?  Come again?

In our latest efforts, we now let Daughter tutor Son in Math.  He soaks up the attention from his sister, shows her how smart and attentive he is (“oh yeah, I get it now”), and she thinks it’s a big time job where she can save the day (“I can do this, Ma”).  We give Teacher and Student both $$$.

Funny.  I hang on to this hope from times past.  If Daughter could get expelled from private school in pre-K (ooooh, she used to cut up so bad…kept me prayin’ lol) to be who she is today, Son is going to be just fine.  It’s just taking a little longer.  And though it’s extremely late in the evening for him, he’ll find his way…on his path.  I believe in him.  But I’ve gotta admit…Mama can’t wait till it clicks.  Ashe.Selah


7 Responses to “Mommy Tightrope”

  1. simeone Says:

    really intresting..makes me wonder how its gonna be raising children..i think you are doin a good job tho..
    and it’s really best for son to give daughter her accolades in private..
    the Lord will continue to be ur strenght

  2. ashe.selah Says:

    I appreciate the kindness, Simeone. Yeah, parenthood is very “interesting” to say the least *smile*. I think if I would have grown up with siblings (bro was ten years older, just me and Moms since like forever), I would feel more equipped to handle sibling rivalry, jealousy, ya know? Maybe a more creative lens through which to view this stuff.

    Then again, that would take all the fun out of on-the-job-parenting…learning and knowing AS you go and grow :).

  3. Kafo Says:

    Balance. Yes, today i was reminded of the roller coaster of the early years and how easy familial expectations can lead to stress that follows you everywhere you go.

  4. Jewells Says:

    They say it takes a little longer for things to click with boys. Sounds like you are doing a great job with parenting. He will definitely find his way. Until then…keep hope alive=)

  5. ashe.selah Says:

    @Kafo: Hang on for the ride my friend. I’m sloooowly learning how to let stress FOLLOW, rather than it being my COMPANION. We don’t have to pick up and carry the stress…easier said than done sometimes.

    @Jewells: Yes, I’m finding that fact to be more on point everyday *smile*…He’ll find his way, and Mama will be right there…

  6. […] cos I knew the “ick” was coming down the road.  Maybe highway.  I just knew it was going to take Son some time.  And I was braced for the long […]

  7. […] Be OK with being Me, pleasing Me — not others.  The challenges I see?  Once again — Balance.  The tough chic (rest in peace lol) is gone now, and I’m all loving, soft, and […]

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