Balancing equations….and emotions

Sunday 15 September 2019

Gosh the start of this school year is a brain stretch for me and the teens! And amidst the cerebral stuff, I worry that I miss the beat at little with those trickier heart and soul matters…

As Prom-dress daughter settles into College life, I find that, whilst she may have sailed through GCSE mathematics, I am in sudden daily demand as she faces the mammoth transition to A-level. Now mathematics is very much my thing and, even when I am very tired and ready for a cheeky glass of red and a pleasant hour of Peaky Blinders, I find it quite easy to cast these treats aside for a dose of quadratics or a few fiendish surds!

For my eldest, the focus of half term one, is all about preparing to apply to Higher Education. With medical school as her aim, its already been quite a journey, but this weekend the UCAS form actually appears. We hunt down old certificates, we reminisce about eventful music exams, we check dates and we face the ‘personal statement’. It is quite a task and takes several drafts and many cups of tea, but we finally have a statement that we are happy for her college tutor to review. And again, I love words and writing, and enjoy supporting my daughter in thinking about the best ways to put her thoughts, ideas and motives into sentences.

At least Small Boy appears to be on top of his school work! And indeed he is. But fighting for attention against all this brain work busyness, I learn that he has missed his basketball trials and I feel sad, because this is just the sort of event where my lovely boy needs a bit of encouragement to push himself forward and give it a go. And although Prom-dress daughter may now be more adept at algebra, boosting her confidence in coping with other aspects of new college life has also fallen a little by the wayside. One thing is for sure at the moment, she is definitely not her usual bubbly self.

It’s a parental balancing acts that seems particularly tough when there’s only one of you, but I am veering towards thinking that my main mum role should always put emotional support ahead of academic help. Much as I may love the school work, other people are able to intervene here. A writer for The Conversation UK, echoes my thoughts

Back-to-school time brings mixed feelings, as do most important events in life. Our jobs as parents and educators should be to help with the social and emotional development of those in our care so that they can more easily do the reading, writing and arithmetic that they need as well, not the other way around.…”

So as we start school week two, it’s time for me to let those college tutors do their work and remember that my job is to be a mum first and foremost at home…

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