JULIE HOLT: The Lighter Side

JULIE HOLT: The Lighter Side

I am a bad influence.

When Lu woke up on Monday, I went to her bedside and leaned in really close. I whispered (even though no one was near) “Hey, wanna skip school today?”

My firstborn overachiever is very smart. She narrowed her eyes and said “For real?”

When I assured her it wasn’t a trap and she wouldn’t fail second grade because she missed one day in May, she was all in.

I’ve always known that each kid needs different parenting, and my three are no exception. I’ll probably never offer this skipping school opportunity to my other two kids, but Lu is a kid who could stand to lighten up sometimes. She is a diligent student who is ahead of the curve with all of her school work. She has gotten very serious about practicing and improving her softball skills. She is (mostly) helpful with her siblings and responsible at home.

Lu hasn’t missed any school this year. In April, she set a big goal for math and she achieved it last week. She’s a rockstar. But the kid’s gotta learn to let her hair down a little.

I get that schools want to encourage kids to actually show up for school, but I think that getting a “Perfect Attendance” certificate has got to be the most depressing award in the history of planet Earth.

When I convinced Lu I was “seriously serious,” we planned a fun day out for myself and the three kids. We did some vaguely educational stuff, so we’re just going to call it an “enrichment day.”

I am the mom who wants to sell our house, buy an RV and just load everyone up and tour the country for a year. I want to homeschool the kids and teach them by showing them, rather than lecturing them in a classroom. I want them to dig in the dirt in the desert to learn geology. They could see and experience Native American culture instead of reading about it in a book. We would roam across the country, learning and experiencing.

What an amazing, non-typical adventure! Our kids would remember it forever and it would challenge our comfortable lifestyle and habits. I think it would be amazing to experience the fun and struggles of a less-traditional life for a short while.

So clearly I am the hippie in our family. Fortunately, Hubby is a practical and reasonable human being, and he helps me remember that my romantic vision of being confined to a padded shipping container with only our offspring might not be all roses and butterflies.

He reminds me how much I love ditching those little beasts with a sitter for some grownup time. Also, it apparently takes actual money to live on the road for an extended period of time. Details.

So, if I can’t be a nomad hippie mama, I’ll settle for ditching school for one day to have a little fun. I just want my kids to know that if you work hard, having a little fun is good for you. I want them to feel comfortable testing a few boundaries and know that it’s OK to need a little break every once in a while.

On Monday, when he discovered that Lu was skipping school, Hubby was excited, but he reminded her that this was a very special treat and that it wouldn’t happen very often. Lu is much like her dad and she confirmed that she would never want to miss too many days. Hubby and I agreed to keep our college attendance records strictly confidential just in case Lu ever gets the idea that this should happen often.

Call me a hippie mom if you will, but I think a fun day off with your family is a way better “perfect attendance” award than any lame certificate.

Want more Lighter Side? Read previous posts and bonus material at Julie’s Lighter Side and like Julie on Facebook for links and updates.

Overheard at the salon: “Those babies were cute, but they didn’t make my uterus clinch or anything.”

Julie Holt is a wife, mother of three, hair stylist, runner, reader, writer, and is tired. Very tired. She works in Brentwood, lives in Spring Hill and can be reached at bwcjholt@gmail.com. You can follow Julie on Twitter @jh_lighter_side.

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