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by Mary Fischer
Since my son entered "big kid" school a couple of years ago, I've been so blessed to have a wonderful job that allows me the flexibility to attend most of his school programs and events. I don't miss any of the major moments that are so important as he grows up.
But while I work primarily from home, once in a while, an opportunity pops up that allows me to escape from the cave of my kitchen island office and venture into the city to go to work like a regular person -- which I absolutely love.
I jump at the chance to get out of the house when I can -- which puts me in a bit of a pickle tomorrow evening. My son started second grade last week, and tomorrow it's open house night at his school -- the night when all the parents get to meet the teachers and get the year started on the right foot.
But there's a very good chance I won't be there, since I'll be making my way back home from the city and might wind up cutting it close if I hit traffic.
And if I don't show up, I'm scared to death that his teacher will think I'm a deadbeat mom who is too busy to show up to her kid's open house night to meet her. Then every time he talks out of turn in class or misbehaves in the slightest way, she'll think it's because I don't have enough time for him or that I'm not giving him enough attention. OMG. What if by not showing up, I'm immediately labeled as "that mom" who doesn't put her child first on her list?
Sure, my husband will be there tomorrow night to meet her and will explain that I'm out of town -- but he's the dad, not the mom. And I feel like it's my job to make sure there's an open line of communication with our son's teacher, which has me feeling all sorts of guilt over the fact that I won't be there even though I know in my head I'm not doing anything wrong. (And no, my husband doesn't understand why I'm all bent out of shape about this. It must be a mom thing.)
In an effort to appear somewhat less loser-ish, I emailed the teacher today explaining the situation. I told her that if I don't make it to the school tomorrow night, I'd like to set up a time to briefly meet with her in the next week or two to introduce myself properly.
With any luck, she'll totally understand my situation and won't automatically assume I'm one of those parents who's trying to kiss her ass by sending an email to make up for missing the open house -- because then I'll have to figure out a plan to wriggle my way out of that stereotype.
Sigh. It's fairly obvious that I can't win whether I attend the meet and greet or not. I think I'll go crawl into a hole now.
Have you ever missed out on an important school event?