I Have Failed as a Mother

My daughter will be going to middle school (6th-8th grades) for the first time next year.  In our area, there are several options for middle schools.  We could sell our kidneys, and send her to one of the private schools, or send her to one of three middle schools which are free.  One of them is our “home” school, and the other two are magnet schools to which she would need to apply.

I’ve broached the topic of the magnet schools with Dimples several times.  Her response has always been that she wants to go to the same school as her friends.  When I point out that the magnet schools specialize in topics that interest her, and that she is always complaining that school is boring, she re-asserts the vital necessity of attending the same school as her friends. When I told her the heart-breaking story about a boy who begged his mother to send him to one of the private schools where he could have a more challenging curriculum, promising to give up Christmas gifts until he was 18… guess what?  Yeah, blah blah blah friends.

I worried that maybe I had somehow instilled in Dimples too deep a value of friendship, that by my own comments over the years I had given it a higher priority than things like academic achievement – or doing what your mother says is good for you.

The other day, the magnet schools presented to Dimples’ 5th grade class.  Later in the day, I talked to one of the 5th grade teachers, and confided Dimples’ deep desire to remain with her friends.

“Oh, you know what the magnet school guy said to the kids about that?” she said.  “Ask your parents how many of their middle school friends they actually still keep in touch with.”

“Oh, that’s great!” I said.  I don’t even keep up with my high school friends, so I could use that ploy again in 3 more years!

That afternoon, I prepared myself for the magnet school conversation, armed with Mr. Presenter’s clever rejoinder.  I asked Dimples if she had enjoyed the presentation.

“Oh, it was great!” she said.  “But I could never go there.”

“Why?” I innocently prodded, ready for my cue.

“Because they wear uniforms, Mom, and they are so not fashionable.  They have to wear khaki pants with yellow shirts!  Yellow and khaki, can you believe it?”

And, for that I had no answer.  Because I certainly can’t torture my daughter by forcing her to wear unfashionable clothes.

At least now I know that she has her priorities straight.

It would look so much better with a Star Trek emblem embroidered on the left.

It would look so much better with a Star Trek emblem embroidered on the left.

Posted on December 10, 2012, in Children, Dimples, Family, Fashion, Humor, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. On the bright side, no matter what she chooses, something will happen that she will be sure is your fault, thereby fulfilling your primary responsibility as a parent.

    But on a serious note, as a child who loves to read and learn, if the teachers at whatever school she goes to are good, she’ll end up doing quite well…

  2. You are the most optimistic person I know, Guap!

  3. I’m wearing that right now. Well, maybe tomorrow. Today was green shirt day. 8)

  4. how about if she drags all of her friends to the magnet school and they can all be fashion tortured together?

  5. It’s the lack of choice that would suck her spirit dry. Right on, Dimples.

  6. Friends are important, even the one who don’t last a lifetime. Lots of people have happy and productive lives, even if they never went within a hundred miles of a magnet school. The girl know what she wants. She’ll be fine, either way.

  7. My guess is that if she goes to the middle school her friends go to, they won’t even still be friends after a year. Or they’ll decide to go somewhere else and she’ll be the only kid going to the neighborhood school. My kids go to a magnet school now and hardly anyone in our neighborhood goes to the neighborhood elementary school. Play that angle. Tell her yellow complements her skin tone. 😉

    • If I was positive that I wanted her to go to the magnet school, I would totally take your advice. The problem is that I’m not sure, either. It’s far and in a “rough” neighborhood. It’s a “school within a school”, and the school it’s within has a lot of kids with behavior issues. If she was passionate about rocketry or engineering, I would chance it, but she does not seem that enamored with those subjects at this point. Too bad there isn’t a fashion magnet school…

  8. EEEE gads.don’t make her go to the magnet school… (I kinda agree with Dimples about the friends- that would have been my initial excuse)

  9. Since everybody seems to be offering you their advice, I’ll throw my wee bit in as well… I think having a daughter who is confident, articulate and who knows her own mind, is more important than which middle school she attends. You clearly have a winner in Dimples. 🙂

  10. I agree with Emily and This Sydney Life…friendship is far more important than which school you go to..she will be far happier with her friends and will therefore learn better…logic!
    When I was at school it was yellow blouses and brown skirts and brown knickers…that’s near enough the same as khaki but I had no choice!

  11. I always had to wear a uniform, I hated it, but then I’m a guy and fashion was not an issue, was more the hassle of complying to the rules of wearing all as they wanted, including belt and socks.
    As for friendship, I still keep up with 2 friends from middle school, she’ll be fine and wearing nice clothes with her friends.

  12. Hey! Keeping your girl looking trendy is a big deal. You don’t want her to have to burn all those middle school photos when she’s in college. Believe me, it takes FOREVER. And the trauma of looking so terrible takes many counseling sessions to get over. I went to an uber-conservative private school for part of elementary school and had to wear dresses every day. Then I rebelled and became a pre-teen tomboy. The photos are so bad, so, so bad. Fashion trauma at it’s worst.

  13. At least she has some fashion sense. I have two friends from middle school that I’m good friends with but we weren’t close until my senior year of high school. The two that I was really close with in middle school I never talk to anymore. We’re forcing my little brother to go to a special high school in two years instead of the one I went to that he would go to if we didn’t take him out. He is torn because he wants to stay with his friends, too, but my high school was ridiculous and we want him to actually learn things so he isn’t allowed to go there.

  14. She’s got good taste. She’ll go far in life. I suspect you already know this. 😉

  15. LOL…… perhaps if you promise that her uniform will be better than everyone else’s? hehehe

  16. I wouldn’t be that age again for a billion bucks. Dimples sounds pretty normal for that age to me–which is partially due to some pretty good parenting.

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