Evidence For Excellence (Depends On Whom You Ask)

I came home to find two innocuous white envelopes sitting on my kitchen counter last Thursday.

The local school board logo was stamped on the corner of each envelope and I suddenly realized what day it was.

It was report card day.

I loathe report card day. Every time progress reports are sent home I break out in a cold sweat. How far the former honour student has fallen, when each report card of my own was met with glee and pride and happily used to torment my older brother with.

It would seem I have developed this awful habit of taking my children's progress reports personally. Possibly because I view report cards as not only an assessment of my kids' academic achievements but also as a direct reflection of my parenting capabilities. It's like a plethora of strangers are judging not only how smart my children are but also how smart the parenting is behind them.

All those times we ate Froot Loops and sat on the couch watching Hannah Montana are coming back to haunt me. If only I'd fed them steamed vegetables and forced them to watch the history channel instead.

I take it personally if a teacher comments that Frac needs to focus more on his own studies and less on entertaining his friends during class time. My son knows how to focus. He focused so hard he just beat the 50-dollar video game I gave him for Easter in less than 24 hours.

Not once did he pause his game to tease his sister or ask her if she'd like to play alongside him. Obviously my kid knows how to focus while ignoring other children. I've seen it first hand. So why does it feel like the science teacher is clearly judging me?

And if a teacher comments that Fric sometimes verbalizes too much but has strong independent work habits I know what that means. It is teacher speak for she is bossy and never ever stops talking. I won't apologize for raising a strong independent woman. Even one who never shuts up.  .

Every grade my children receive is a grade on my maternal abilities, or so it feels because I'm neurotic, self-centered and narcissistic. Like y'all didn't know that already.

Don't even get me started on how I feel about teacher conference meetings and how I can feel their eyes follow me wherever I go. I swear as I walk down the empty school halls I can hear the hushed whispers of judgment trail behind me.


Thankfully, both Fric and Frac did well on this semester's report cards. Which means my parenting skills survived another round of academic examination. My type-A personality and former academic honour student self did a happy dance. Silently and in private of course.

But as I read the my kids reports I wondered what it would be like if instead of only feeling like I was being graded as a mother, I actually was.

What would my report card look like?

Surely I'd get an A for teaching my kids wilderness survival skills and all those times I've made them pick up sticks outside and forage for berries.

I'm pretty sure I'd get high marks for teaching them how to be smart as$es too.

I'd rock pet keeping but only if no one was keeping an accurate count on how many fish I've flushed. And my prowess with fixing a wheelchair with duct tape and the fact both Fric and Frac can cuss fluently in three languages ought to score me a few high marks.

Let's face it though, no matter how many A's I pulled in, house keeping, discipline and culinary arts would seriously hurt my grade point average as a mother.

I'm pretty sure, no matter how failing a grade I might receive, I'll always earn an E for effort though.


Just not on Saturday mornings when I'm trying to sleep in.

It's likely a good thing the only report cards we parents have are the ones our children bring home for us. I'm not sure I could stand the judgment. Or the low grade point average.