Wednesday, September 23, 2009


photo by Will Newell

I was just reading some BLOG posts from A rush of memories filtered through my morning brain. It seems like so long ago that I had similar issues; Kyle wouldn't stay in his bed at night, I would have to fall asleep with Will before he would let me leave, they hated milk as soon as I stopped using bottles, Kyle was desperately afraid of a local singer that would come to his pre-school so I would have to search out her visiting dates and keep him home those days, Will loved to be carried, Kyle wouldn't keep his car seat on, and the list goes on. Those were the days my friend!

We couldn't shower, we never slept, we dreamt about 'date nights,' we never had real conversations, and we tried so hard to fill our kid's lives with play dates, sports activities (even if it was just the local toddler gym), music class, and we looked around us and compared ourselves to the parenting styles of those around us. AND WE ALWAYS PALED IN COMPARISON!

Big mistake. It has taken years of rewiring my brain, endless phone calls to friends more enlightened than myself, but every once in a while, I still fall into that unthinkable, evil, and destructive force, sucking me into thinking--am I not doing all I should be for my kids.

I find myself falling into this trap every step of the way. Parents are busy marketing their kids. Kids are excelling at so many amazing things that you can't help but think that you have been raising 'ordinary' kids. You worry that if you don't help them in elementary school it will effect their middle school years. You so want them to come away from middle school with all the tools they need for high school, with their self-esteem in tact, and well, popular. Come on admit it. You remember your middle school days and you don't want your kid sitting on the side lines, being made fun of, or not invited to all the right parties. We want are children's lives to be better than ours and we are a generation of women who know that anything is possible so we set out to make our kid's lives as perfect as we can.

Is there anything wrong with this?

My 16-year-old is already stressed about what college he can get into and my youngest son, Will sees how hard his brother works and is terrified. Will loves to learn but the fear of failing traps him. Kyle is burning the candle at both ends and it is only the beginning of his Junior year.

Yesterday, trying to be an organized, good parent I set out to figure out the testing schedule for both by boys. This school year, Kyle will have to take the PSAT, SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, AP Tests and that has nothing to do with all his homework and extra-curricular activities he has. It makes me want to take shelter under my covers. And then Will has to take the SSAT for entrance into a private high school. With all of this comes prep courses, prep tests, and all those blessed Saturday mornings that they have to bring their #2 pencils to some undisclosed location and take lovely four hour tests.

Sound like fun?

My job yesterday was to navigate how to decide which test, the SAT or ACT would be better for Kyle. I figured nothing out and took a bath instead.

I'm sure most of my wonderfully organized mommy friends have it already figured out. Dates are on the calendar and appointments made with college counselors. I feel like such a failure.

I watch TV with my kids last night. They should have been preparing for the SSAT or ACT or the BULLSHIT AT, but instead we watched the new fall lineup. It was great! I can't believe I am actually confessing my sin of television viewing to the world, but here it is, we are all addicted to TV and its the new season so give us a break.

Tomorrow I will worry about SAT and SSAT prep. Somebody please tell me if I have already missed the boat. If I have, I don't know what I'll do. Probably watch some more TV with my kids.


  1. You're freaking me out. We are even further behind in figuring out the test schedule, although part of me wants to leave it up to him.

  2. Terry,

    I just DVR'd "Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story" over the weekend and am so happy to have a forum in which to tell you how much I enjoyed the film - I had a ball watching it! - and how much admiration I developed for your dad.

    I grew up in the very early 60s - I was 5 in 1961 - and was a very, very timid child. While most kids would have had a ball when a plastic skeleton sailed over their heads, I would have been absolutely traumatized, and I find that sad - I SO wanted to be one of the brave ones!! (To be honest, I still turn my head when that infamous clip from "Psycho" is aired.) I wish I had the memory of attending a William Castle film as a child.

    I LOVE movie and television trivia, and do you know how much mileage I'll get out of knowing that your father worked as a script supervisor on "Penny Serenade"?

    You are doing a wonderful job of keeping his memory alive, Terry. Keep it up.

    One thing I noticed - as a young man, your father bore a HUGE resemblance to Jason Segel, so if you ever decide to do a biopic...

    Best regards,

    Susan Walker
    Dallas, NC (about 25 miles from Charlotte)