jump to navigation

Parent/School Relationship February 23, 2012

Posted by sunflower71 in my opinions, Uncategorized.
Tags: ,

A few years ago, in my pre-children time, I would have thought this to be a simple and straightforward matter.

Fast forward to the present and I can confirm that this relationship is as straightforward as causes and solutions for global warmth!

Now, it’s not like because I have 3 children matters are made simpler.  They aren’t. They are just more complicated.

Here goes the background before I start with my list of reasons.  Catherine and Maria attend the local primary school.  Francesca, the youngest has started attending another school that happens to be closer to where I am working right now.  Being that during the day, I am the one who is called upon every time something or other happens, I chose for Francesca, who will probably be involved in more ‘mishaps’  to be closer by.  Another reason is that we have a 30 minute unaccounted for time every morning where both my man and I are already gone to work but school hasn’t yet started.  We have our blessed home helper who takes care of Catherine and Maria….but I couldn’t ask her to mind also Francesca, who even alone is a real handful.  So for Francesca we chose this other school that while closer to my place of work has also added services such as child minding before hours.  (Yes carton jigsaw puzzles have been fashioned on the juggling families do to balance work and family life!)

Back to today’s topic:

I deal with one school in respect to two of the girls  and with another one for the third.

1.  The School’s Administration think that all mothers can come for meetings, talks, and social gatherings every few days.

2.  The School’s Administration writes notes to us about said meetings, talks and social gatherings in tones reminiscent of the good old days when women were asked to leave their job when they got married.

3.  Every few days the girls bring home notes asking for money for outings, publications and other assorted activities.  Please note that even the two girls attending the same school do not have the same requests for us.

4.  Number 3 happens so often that I think next year I’m going to suggest they ask us for €100 at the beginning of the year and take from time amount until it finishes.

5.  We are asked for parental consent (one of the parents) for every little thing that is happening to our children outside the class room.

6.  Francesca’s school takes number 5 one step further and asks for the parental consent of both parents.

7.  The fact that two local schools have different policies (number 5 and 6) makes me wonder how much in reality this procedure is needed.

8.  Whenever I have the need to call the school things are explained to me in tones that remind me of when I was my self in primary school and the head of school told me for something or other.

9. The single most infuriating thing must be the us-them attitude.  When I’m called in to pick up one of girls because she’s unwell, I’m made to feel like some irresponsible parent who sent her daughter to school when she was sick instead of keeping her at home.  When we’re called in for class visits, teacher-parent conferences, general info meetings, whatever visit in reality, I can help but feel under scrutiny and about to be told off for a wrong step.

Now this might seem like I’m someone with a few childhood unresolved issues.  Please belive me.  I am not.  I have very happy memories of my childhood school days.  I am generally very positively disposed towards schools.  I choose teaching as my profession that I went back too and am enjoying after dabbling in a couple of other jobs.

The only thing I hope and wish for is that whoever is administering schools takes into consideration that in most families there is more than one child and that parents struggle to keep down jobs.  I think that with these two basics in mind, parent/school relationships could be made far smoother and friendlier.


Parenting skills May 16, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses, my opinions, The Star.
Tags: , , ,

This is probably for many of us in this role one of the issues that troubles us most. Unlike other skills we might possess there is pretty little to show us if we are actually on the right track or not.  I do not mean to say that the difference between parents is not sometimes too obvious for the wrong reasons but that there are no indicators that could in some way let us know that we are actually on the right path to helping out children become mature and responsible adults….that is, until they are older and have become adults.  But then, by that time, it is obviously too late to do anything about it anyway.

Then today, while I’m taking down the clothes from the clothes’ horse The Star comes along to help out.  She starts piling up the clothes according to who they belong to and then putting the pegs in their container.  Later when this is done, she starts giving me the wet clothes to hang together with 2 pegs at a time!  We work silently together until both tasks are complete.  For the record, she is 2 years 4 months old.

Now, tell me, if this is not a sign that I’m doing something right with the girls, what is?

Juggling September 20, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, my opinions, The Star.

These days, my days are charged with a full range of emotions.  I am very looking forward to start working again, after 5 years, next Thursday. I will be returning to a job I loved and I think I performed quite well.  But what if I lost touch?  What if I will not be able to focus?  What if I won’t manage to do the necessary preparations at home?  What if my children, my family will suffer because of this? 

But when all is said and done, I will only be doing what millions of other mothers worldwide are doing.  I know I’m not the only one with these kind of worries.  I know many are balancing the work and family and managing to give their best in both parts. I hope I can be part of this group.  I need very much to get out of the house and do something other than being a mother.

 Now that the time has come, and the my first day ‘out of here’ is practically at the door, I am realizing how unfriendly towards working parents our schools are. While on one side policy makers harp about the need for family friendly measures and facilitating mothers to go back to work, I find myself juggling with the calendar and our list of 3 helpers – my husband, my mum (who lives more than 2 hours away) and my neighbour, such that my two elder daughters are cared for while I’m at work.  Because, you see, my children are still enjoying their last few weeks of summer holidays.  TP’s first day is on the 28th and TC’s is on 5th October, if you please.  Now, my job, is, I believe, the friendliest towards my family.  I am a teacher and will consequently be at home on all my children’s holidays.  I’m out of the house more or less the same hours they are.  However, at the beginning and end of the year, teachers are at school while the kids aren’t yet.  And thus, I’m tasting my first bitter taste of being a working mum, bang on my first few days of work. Seeing things for the parents’ side is a new perspective.  I know, it’s not a pretty sight. At least, right now, it’s not.

To top it all, TS is still not completely settled at her playschool.  Today she was there for 4 hours.  Her carers are happy with her progress.  I somehow feel that because she cries when I leave her, she is not yet 100% convinced that I will always go to pick her up. I just hope that this phase will soon be a thing of the past… It’s wrong of me to compare her to her sisters who never cried when I took them to their play school.  She shows me in very many ways how different she is to her sisters.  In this too, she is to be different.

To round this post off, I need to also say that this blog has been a life line between me and my sanity.  It is my little hobby as is my new compulsion to read fellow bloggers. I just hope that it will be another thing I’ll be able to juggle as we settle in to a new routine and face different challenges.

no time, no time September 15, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in my opinions.
add a comment

These days I feel like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland….I’m always running after time.  It is amazing how the days are flying by. This is the last full week of summer holidays.  This summer that had seems so long in passing, is now about to be finally over. As will my stint as a SAHM – stay at home mum.  Next week I will take up full-time employment again.  This bit of news merits a post on its own, but that is for later.

Today, I’d like to dedicate a few words to a young mother of two children, who grew up in the same town I did.  I only know her by sight but I can’t get her face out of my mind.  A few days ago she lost her husband in a tragic accident that took the lives of 4 other members of her husband’s family. 

I can’t begin to imagine how it must be for her to proceed with her life, with the upbringing of her children. I can only pray that she finds within her the strength to go on.  What I can do is not get lost in the million things to be done and miss on the precious moments I have with my family.  Thank you God for each minute of my life, for my beautiful, healthy children and my wonderful husband.

Ruby Wedding Anniversary September 3, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in my opinions.

My parents’!

Thank you God for giving me this set of parents, this family where I grew up. 

Thank you for all my parents taught me by their example.

They are still together despite being diametrically opposite types. Thank you for this.

Over the next few days all the family will be together … all 12 of us now.  There’s them, me and my troop, my sister and husband, my brother and his German wife who join us today from Germany and my other brother who arrived here a couple of days ago from Australia.  Thank you God for giving us this opportunity to be together all of us again.  Last time this happened TS was still a twinkle.

The one thing that strikes me in my parents’ marriage is, these days, a very unpopular word.  It’s sacrifice.  I think this must be what highlighted my childhood.  I was very aware of the lack of money in the family at the time (not that there was much to buy on this rock in the 70’s and 80’s backwater that it was as I was growing up) and of the difficulty to make ends meet.  This does not mean that I don’t have other happy memories….endless hours spent at the beach every single morning of our summer holidays with dad – who as a teacher had his holidays with us four! Sunday picnics in the fields throughout our mild autumn and winter with our cousins! Trips to the other island in our beloved Hillman Hunter station wagon! A few trips abroad! However, I seem to be very much aware of the white hairs we procured both of them before we flew the nest.

Today on the eve of their Ruby Wedding Anniversary, I wish them many more years together. As I wish us 4 the ability to read in our parents’ years together that that made them strong in the face of adversities.  

May God bless you both Ma and Pa.

Can mums take a holiday? June 30, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, my opinions.
Tags: , ,

Motherhood (we have often said) is a journey of discovery and for which there is no map, no guide-book, no real help.  We all of us get to experience it like no one else before us was a mother.  And moreover it would take very many volumes to describe the depth and width of the subject.

However, I often find myself comparing, how I am living my motherhood, to how I perceived my own mum living it when we, all four of us siblings were at home.  From my point of view, I am living this experience very differently.  This is pretty obvious, one might butt in!  We are different persons, living at different times, in different towns, etc… But there are some basic issues that I’m sure the I am differing completely and absolutely for her.

I will take only this example: do mums go on holiday?  I mean, can they take a break of a few days and head off somewhere to recharge while the father of the kids (and in my case, with the help of the grandparents) take over the household?

I would have thought not….but my man thinks otherwise. May God bless this man. He not only encouraged me to take up my friend’s very generous offer to spend a few days walking down (or up) a few lanes in the Dolomiti, near Cortina, in Italy, but he actually bought me the air tickets to get there.  Now tell me am I lucky or not?

I still can’t really believe it but this time next week I will be here.

This is a photo that was sent to me as a taster by my dear friend who will host me on my walking holiday.

I know I am leaving the kids in good hands and that this break will do me good.

But why, oh why, can’t I get rid of this nagging feeling that my mother would not have done anything like this?

Fingers crossed June 15, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses, my opinions.
Tags: , , ,

Weighing options is always challenging.  The level of the challenge changes with the subject of the options.  For example what to wear, what to cook, etc would be on the easy side.  Other issues could be diametrically opposite.

Yes, I’m still on the see-saw of whether to go back to work or not.  I am currently working out the logistics of the 3 Princesses who will be (and this cannot be otherwise) in 3 different schools/play groups.  This country is boasting that it’s encouraging women to go back to work but when we come to the details, well, to put it mildly, in our case, it’s starting to look quite complicated.

We do not have the luxury of family members who could give us a hand so unless the school hours match my working hours, then I’d have no option but to extend my stay-at -home mom period.

That is unless, I’m posted in one particular school that is located within walking distance from two and potentially 3 of the schools/play groups we’ll be using.  This would simplify matters no end.

Now how do I get sent to this particular school?  First of all by asking to go there and then by keeping fingers crossed that the vacancy arises. And praying that if this is a good thing for my family and me, the puzzle pieces will fall into place.

PS Some background: before The Princess was born I was a state employed teacher.  The state gives us the possibility to avail of a 5 year career break to raise our children and can be used until they are 6 years of age.  Additionally, we are also given another year for every child.  So technically I could take up to 8 years of parental leave. I believe this to be a very good deal and helpful for families.  But there are 2 catches: the first is that one cannot do any form of paid work during parental leave and that  after it expires one has to work (or pay back the salary of) at least 6 months.

Privacy May 27, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, my opinions.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Why am I able to publicise each post on Twitter but  not on Facebook? (I have far less T friends than FB ones)

Why is it taking me so long to upload a picture of me in the gravatar?  What would this change?

Why am I ever so careful to ‘hide’ my princesses’ face when I photograph them for the blog?  I don’t use any of the hundreds of pictures we have of thembut only ones specifically taken.

Why does it still seem like I’m sharing my darkest secret when I ‘tell’ a friend or a relative the address of this blog?

These and other questions along the same lines have been bothering me for a while until one fine day I come across the photos of one of my favourite bloggers in her post The Gallery that she wrote in response to Tara’s prompts .  And today I finally found the time to write about it.

On flipping through the different photos of the different bloggers, I couldn’t help but feel like I was spying.  I could see them but they couldn’t see me (obviously).  So first step was to first ask myself why I still had not put my own picture somewhere on my blog…what difference could this possible make to anybody except that maybe anyone who stops by could put a face to the words.   So first decision in this regard taken – I’m putting my favourite picture up.

I know my blog reads like a diary. At times its about my feelings, at others my opinions, at others a mother’s reflections.  Mostly it is my thoughts shared with a few other mothers with whom I have shared this ‘secret’.  But this is not an email sent to my friends but a piece of me shared with the world. And what I write I’d be able to discuss easily with my friends whom I finger-twiddled long to tell. Still I hesitate and take my time.

The more I tinker with social networking sites (FB and Twitter) and now this dabbling in blogging, the more I get the impressions that we are not really aware of the implications the digital world could have on us.  I don’t want to infer that all implications will be negative… on the contrary.  I have, to date, only had what I’m going to call a positive eye opening experince, unlike what has happened to a new friend of mine (she is thinking of going private because of people who visit her blog to check her out and then act very unfriendly when they meet).  But then a couple of days ago all news networks took up the privacy settings on FB to task and dedicated many minutes and lines to explain the issues involved. Also recently, locally, a young man was prosecuted in court for his comments on a FB group. From all this I can only conclude that while many millions continue to log on, not everyone takes the time to look at the implicationsof their cyper actions. This of course leaves undiscussed but definately not forgotten issue of crime, be it stolen identities, child porn, viruses, etc.

That said, Ialso need to say that I believe in a responsible use of all inventions, internet and its’ facilities included and conclude that anything that I woundn’t say/do face to face is not to be written neither here nor elsewhere.

Do unto others as you would have then do unto you. Matthew 7:12

 The last issue is the princesses.  I love it when I read other mum blog and come across their children’s photos – they somehow give a context to the stories.  But I’m not ready to that myself.  Call me over protective, call me cyber stupid, call me what ever…. I simply can’t.  I only hope that in time, I will come to understand more how to use this medium better to feel comfortable enough to overcome this too.

Down and up May 18, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, my opinions.
Tags: , , , ,

Today was a day signed by many different and contrasting emotions.

Sadness.  I cried this morning.  Could easily have cried my eyes out had I not gripped my self on time.

Pride.  I watched TC announce her class’s song during her school’s celebration concert.

Amazement.  At TP who sang her heart out and danced happily away with her class mates during her concert.

Panic.  To make sure there was going to be dinner (a healthy one) on the table in between going to my princesses’ school no less than 3 times (at 9 for TC’s concert, at 11 for TP”s one and again at 2 to pick them up – each age group is too numberous, the hall too small to hold more than two invites for each child of each age group).

Happiness.  At meeting up with an old friend who has since we last met moved to Ireland, and had two girls the same age as TP and TC. 

Wonder.  At seeing my girls and my friend’s enjoying themselves dressing each other up.

But it’s about my sadness that I’d like to write today.

Try to picture this:

the school’s stage – about 12, 3 year olds standing up in a line next to each other facing the audience singing at the top of their voice “Wind the bobbin up”.  Then to the left, next to the standing children, sit two children with a Learning Support Assistant – she is banging on a tambourine – the two children are looking everywhere and no where.  I fight the first tear. I find a seat for myself at the back of the school hall. I settle down.  And see next to me an older girls in what looked like a very complicated wheelchair – next to her another Learning Support Assistant writing on what look ed like a copybook. And I simply broke down. 

I cried with the mothers of the two children sitting on stage, whose hearts must contract every time they look at their children who are not able to stand in line with the others.

I cried with shame at how enormous I see my problems when in reality they are minute in comparison.

I cried with a doubt so deep that I started wondering if maybe the inclusion policy of the Education Division of this country has missed the point entirely.  Why wasn’t that older girl with her class?

Then I told myself that I had to stop making a show of myself and let the happy voices, poems and movements songs fill my mind.

As my emotionally busy day proceeded,  I repeatedly thanked God for our general good health and for giving me so much. As I do now, at its end.

Happy Birthday to The Pill: She is 50 May 2, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in my opinions.
Tags: , , , ,

Finally the sound of silence prevails in this house….

I came across Richard Stengel’s introduction to the cover story of Time of May 3, 2010 dedicated to The Pill, entitled ‘Revolution in a Pill’, earlier today. I dare add nothing to the story Nancy Gibbs wrote in this issue.  I have only had time to skim through it but she is too good and will definitely cover all there is to be said.  It’s one of Richard’s statements that inspired me to write this post.  He states:

Countries that educate and empower women tend to be less violent and unstable and more likely to develop socially and economically.

I take this to be a fact.  Moreover, my gut feeling is that the human race has only developed roughly half the potential it could have developed had women left the kitchen earlier and took a more active role in society earlier.  However, sadly, we will never know how it could have been. 

Sadder still is the fact that there are still numerous situations that I sense miss the contribution of women in the country where I live, a country we like to call modern, developed and democratic.  I will not go into specifics except to say that too often I find myself thinking…”only a man could have thought that up…it’s so stupid”.  My excuses to all intelligent men but there are some circumstances that if we had to go into them one by one  I am sure any man reading this would agree with me.

In the jobs I held before I took this current break from work (to raise my 3 princesses) I never thought of myself as a female this or that but only as my job title.  But I have to admit that I’m in favour of gender mainstreaming and not completely against positive discrimination for women.  From my unscientific observation of how things proceed in my country and in some others,  there are still people men in key positions who need this to be imposed on them, although I’m also sure that no matter what legislation says, unless one believes and practices the equality creed, women and tokenism will be always be, for them, interlinked.

A popular blogger recently wrote about precisely this issue.  She quoted a conversation with (then lawyer) Ena Cremona, now a judge at the European Court of Justice, who she interviewed in the 80’s.

“I never pigeonhole myself as a woman lawyer,” she told me, “and I avoid participating in seminars, interviews and articles that pigeonhole women as special cases. It implies that men are the mainstream and women are not, and it is self-defeating.”

To this I can add nothing.  In its simplicity this reasoning is spot on.

However not there are still women living in countries where despots rule and weirdos say that promiscuous women are causing earth quakes (remember the Iranian cleric?).

Where am I rambling today?

What is the link between the Pill, gender mainstreaming, positive discrimination and the cleric?

Put simply, the common denominator is women and me being one of them.  However radical the Pill has been in giving women power over their bodies, there are still millions of women the world over who have  not yet tasted the sweet taste of freedom – to be, to work, to study, to have fun. May all women (and men) have the possibility for education, advancement and choice to be able to fulfil their potential.  Sounds utopical? Mabye.

A penny for your thoughts…