Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

March 19, 2014

Don't be the unprepared mom

As my daughter’s face fell, I felt an all-too-familiar churning in my stomach that signaled I had blown it. Again. The 4-H project instructor was asking attendees to pass forward the baggies they were to bring to the meeting. Daughter’s face burned with embarrassment when she had to say that she forgot hers. Then she glanced at me for help. I had nothing. Even the emergency baggie we kept in the van had been used just that morning when a straw poked through the bottom of a cup. It was one of those days. Did it matter that this was the fourth project meeting of the week and we were lucky to have even remembered the right location? That in the rush to get to the meeting on time I had injured no one and, by and large, followed the speed limits? As I looked at the other children responsibly handing in their baggies — no, it didn’t. Here I was — that unprepared Mom who hadn’t taken the time to reread the notice before leaving home. So, how do overwhelmed, over-scheduled parents find a way to arrive on time with needed supplies and then teach our children to do the same? First — I do recognize that it is my daughter’s 4-H meeting; therefore, ultimately her responsibility to know what she needs and be sure she has it. Yet, she’s eight. If I can’t remember to think ahead and be her back-up, then, it’s not very likely she will learn these skills. To be sure, if she were a teen the onus would be completely on her. But, for her to be ready by teen years to take on this responsibility, she’s got to have some training and some example. That comes from working alongside me to find a system for thinking ahead. Second — find a system. I actually have a pretty good one — when I use it. I use a three-ring binder with dividers for each month. The first page after the divider is a calendar for recording the month’s events. When I get a notice for a meeting or a form to return, I three-hole punch it and put it behind the calendar sheet in the appropriate month. See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.

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