I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

In previous posts I've talked about how I think most parent's worst enemy is... other parents. We all spend wwaaayyy too much time talking smack about one another and not being supportive. I often say that every family needs to make decisions which work for their family, and their family alone. Recently, though, there has been an incident at school which requires me to blog about this one mother. She drives me mental - and seeing as how she doesn't read this blog I feel I can vent.

Actually, to be fair, I think my vent isn't so much about her as it is about parents who let their kids call all the shots. There are times when I let my kids have a say, when I let them get their way, when I defer to them on stuff. However those times are the times *I* choose. I PICK when I think it's okay to let 8 year olds rule the roost. What I don't do is let them have free rein, make decisions about important stuff, and involve them in high-level decisions which they have no need to be involved in.

When it comes down to it, DH AND I are the adults here... for a very good reason. We've earned the right to be in charge. Part of being a kid, surely, is NOT having to make too many important decisions - getting taken care of is one of the great pleasures of childhood. This parent doesn't operate that way. And, to be fair, if she let her kids rule the roost and was HAPPY with that choice, I don't think I'd be whining about her. It's more that she puts her kids in charge, and then complains endlessly that they either make the wrong choices, or complains that they are in charge in the first place. HELLO LADY, you are the one that put them there.

So since you're all dying to know, the situation is this. Our kids all go to a small school. There are 14 kids in their class, of which 5 are girls. For next year, one girl is leaving (because her mother is whacko too, but that's another story.) One girl returned to the country she is from, leaving my two DD's and child of the Mother I'm complaining about.

Annoying mother is worried about the ratio of males to females. I understand that, but in a school as small as theirs - the kids of all ages hang out together anyway. So her worry about the ratio has sent her scurrying to find a new school for her daughters. My main beef with this is that both girls are very happy, this family has a historical/emotional/social connection with the history of this school, and the children themselves could care less about ratios.

Now supposedly there is also an element of financial hardship. THIS, I totally and completely understand. However, the school also offers financial aid, has been very generous with other families, and basically will bend over backwards to keep people in the school. So, theoretically anyway, they could get some help there if that was the main concern.

Today I heard that the mother has approached the school for financial help - and has said that if she gets it, she'll keep her kids there. Lovely. Wonderful. Except she has already taken her girls to look at 2 other schools, has told them they might, maybe, possibly are moving schools.. and basically caused a whole bunch of uncertainty not only for her kids but other kids at the school as well. It's a small place. People talk. This mother seems unable to work out a) what her issue with the school is, or even if there is one, and b) who is going to make the decision to move schools or not.

In the interim I've had a couple of phone calls from people wondering how I feel about this, because the loss of this family means my daughters will be the only two girls left in the class. Truth be told, I DID wonder how my kids felt about it. But, I had no intention of changing my decision to keep them there. I picked the school for it's atmosphere, it's academics, it's values, it's ability to nurture and teach and guide my kids. I didn't pick it because there were X number of boys and Y number of girls.

So I asked the DD's how they felt about being the only girls in their Third Grade class. Both of them (separately) said THEY COULD CARE LESS. Sure, as two of a trio they have the advantage of always having one another. But, as children of mine, they have the advantage of knowing there are a lot more important things in life than how many girls are in your class. And, as children of mine, they know that ultimately the decision is mine to make - not theirs. Sure, if they were totally miserable I'd consider moving them. But they're not, so I won't. To me it seems simple, but I'm willing to accept that there are parts of this story I may not know. This family may have a whole bunch of other issues which they choose not to share - and so thus far I'm sticking to my mantra that parents need to make decisions which they feel are best suited to their families.

So here's my question. How much, if any, say do your kids have? I know for some of you, your kids are too young to have much say... but, even so, how much do the kids control the daily life of the household? Enquiring minds want to know.

UPDATE: Apparently now the woman's children are staying at the school. She can't for the life of her figure out why one of them is now acting up... hmmm...


Danielle said...

Ooohhhh.....you are in trouble next year! I bet she will complain that your two daughters are ganging up on her "princess". No matter what happens, your girls will be in the wrong. Especially getting older, your girls will realise what a brat she is, and not want to play with her, and the mother will just see it as "the triplets" against her. I tell you, parents suck.
And for the record; I listen to my kids opinions, pretend I care, then decide what I want to decide...haha.

Cassandra Rae said...

I super appreciate you bringing up this topic because I have a 16 year old and of course if she had her way she would decide everything for herself and tell me and The Hubs what to do! It's great to be reminded that I'm the parent and have the final say. It's so easy to fall into the trap of trying to convince her why my decision is the better one. Oy! I could probably type a book about this. It certainly is a fine line of letting go and allowing her to make decisions for herself and still laying the law of the land. Truth be told, I myself haven't been doing the best job of this as of late and yeah, she's been acting up too. I think even if kids complain about it or even fight about it they do feel more secure when they know you are there with strong, loving boundaries. Like I said, I can type a book about this. Thanks for sharing your empowering viewpoint.

p.s. I found you through NaBloPoMo :~)

Claire - Matching Pegs said...

I am firmly with you Em, I prefer to be a parent, and the Mr. and I make the decisions. About emotional issues that effect the kids, I will test the waters to see how they are feeling.

The bit that cracked me up in this post is the "THEY COULD CARE LESS".

This is an example of one of the really strange statements in the English language where two opposing statements mean the same thing in different places. It is a case of English diverging.
Aussies would say "THEY COULDN'T CARE LESS" and you Yanks ;-) say it your way. I had a lady from Maine in my Mothers group all those years ago, who said this. I think I read about it in Bill Bryson's Book on Language - "Mother Tongue".

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

Dani - The Mum's main concern, apparently, is the kids "social life"...! Is it the kid who has a problem with this, or the Mum? I know who my money is on. And the sad thing is that the daughter is a sweet, clever, nice kid. Let's hope she stays that way regardless of her mothering!!

Cassandra: Thanks for visiting. I might have to re-visit my own post once my kids get to 16. I imagine at that age it's a LOT harder to be the rule maker. Maybe it's all about the illusion of power - let the kids make some decisions while it's really you who is calling all the shots. Check back with me in 8 years and see if I have survived!

Claire: Another example of an American/Aussie expression is "Lucked out" where in the US it means "got lucky" and here it means "ran out of luck." :) What can I say, behind this mutt accent of mine is still a Yank.