Thanks to modern technology and the Parent Portal (to hell), I have 24/7 access to my children’s school schedules, grades, assignments, attendance, and likely all kinds of other shit I should be paying attention to. It’s an incredible resource our district probably spent lots of money to implement and I think I’m supposed to be grateful for it. It’s pretty much just like the rest of parenting teens, though: comical, ridiculous, angsty, and fucking relentless. Here are three reasons I feel this way about the parent portal (to hell).
Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one.
I think I could ask 10 different people whose opinions I would value about how best to use this tool and get 10 different answers. The answers would range from: DON’T EVER CHECK IT, these kids gotta learn to do for themselves to CHECK IT MONTHLY to stay generally abreast of what’s happening at school to CHECK IT EVERY HOUR or your kid’s gonna be a miserable failure and never get into college.
Of course there are reasons for these various approaches. All kids are different. You gotta find what works for your family. Blah, blah, blah. But, like everything else, everyone believes their way is best. And they all like to tell you how you should be doing it.
I constantly feel like I’m doing it wrong.
When this tool was initially available to me, I didn’t really use it. Because I thought my kids should be in charge of managing their workload. And all was well. Until it wasn’t, and report cards came out and sweet Jesus what the hell is happening here? Grades had gone way south and in typical Anne fashion, I immediately felt responsible. I should’ve been on top of this stuff. Right? Or not? I don’t fucking know. But when my kids weren’t performing like I knew they were capable of, I felt like I was doing it wrong.
So, I started checking in. Probably not frequently enough, but I did look in on occasion. And still do. When I remember to.
And every damn time I log in I’m greeted with missing assignments and low test scores. Cue the yelling and screaming and weeping and gnashing of teeth. And excuses. And accusations of being over-reactionary. Moi? Over-reactionary? Surely not.
And anytime there’s yelling and screaming and weeping and gnashing of teeth, I feel like I’m doing it wrong. Because I AM over-reactionary.
I’m certain I’m ruining my children, no matter what I do
Yes, that’s kind of the same thing as I constantly feel like I’m doing it wrong. Sue me.
If I’m NOT checking in, I’m neglecting them. Not parenting. Ruining their chances to go to college and ensuring they will live at home for the rest of my life.
If I AM checking in, I’m mollycoddling them. Enabling them so they will never grow into functional adults and ensuring they will live at home for the rest of my life.
DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? They’re going to live at home for the rest of my life, NO MATTER WHAT.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Just make a plan and stick to it. That’s what I gotta do. Checking in weekly sounds ok. And since it’s been established that no matter what I do, they’re going to live at home for the rest of my life, I should channel my inner Elsa or Anna or whoever the hell it was and simply LET IT GO.
Easy peasy, right? Not if you know me at all. Because despite my best laid plans and intentions, I’ll forget to check in for a few weeks. Then I will and we’ll start the whole yelling, screaming, weeping, and gnashing of teeth cycle of life all over again.
So I stew and fuss and constantly question myself every time I check in. And every time I don’t. DAMMITALLTOHELL.