Daily Diary: There’s Only So Much You Can Do For Them


We are not having a very good week here in the Sweeney household. My daughter has a Social Studies test today. In fact, she’s probably taking it right now. Natalie isn’t the type of person to tell us about things ahead of time. She knew about this test on May 27th. We found out about it on June 1st.

So… we had Monday and Tuesday night. We crammed in as much as we could – but honestly – I don’t feel very confident.

This morning, while eating breakfast – Natalie turned to me and told me that she knew what two questions were going to be asked on the test for the writing prompts.

Um what?

I asked her why she didn’t tell me that earlier? We could have worked on those questions while studying. She just didn’t think about it until that very moment – you know – 5 minutes before having to leave to school.

I can’t.

And I try to think about how I was as a child. I wasn’t a great student. I really wasn’t. I’m pretty sure my mother didn’t sit down with me and study and create index cards etc. I’m pretty sure she didn’t even check my homework. From what I’ve seen, that’s a FACT. And somehow I came out alright…

But this leaves me so conflicted with Natalie. Should I be on top of her more? Or should I just relax? I don’t know what to do. I really don’t. My brain is telling me to get her a tutor, cancel all her play dates and just study with her on a regular basis. But my heart is telling me that everything will be ok and she is only in the third grade. It’s just I want to instill proper studying habits in her.

Here’s the thing – I didn’t learn to study until my sophomore year in COLLEGE. BELIEVE IT! I was a lost cause until then. I basically floated through life until I roomed with one of my best friends who taught me how to use a highlighter. I’m not kidding!!

And I graduated college making $52,000 a year and working for one of the top 8 consulting firms in the world. I did OK with my slow start.

We just want more for our kids, right? I want to strangle her. I want to hug her. I want to shake her. I want to protect her. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know…. I just know what we are doing is not helping her. We are not doing right by our daughter. Something has to change. She doesn’t take anything seriously. She acts… like an 8 year old. And there I go again – my brain and my heart internally battling it out.



And as if this wasn’t enough, my little man is SO SICK. His worst cold yet. We’ve taken him to the doctor twice and there is just nothing we can do. It’s just a regular cold PLUS he is teething. It’s not the best week in the Sweeney household. Like I said.

Praying for Friday.

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  1. Erlyn wrote:

    Thanks so much for writing this piece, Vera. Almost daily, I experience personal struggles about my children and whether I’m doing enough or expect too much from them. It’s even harder when having multiple children with such different personalities and needs. Every generation tries to do a better parenting job than what they experienced growing up; or maybe I’m just speaking for myself. Everyday I try to be the parent that I wished I had: affectionate, attentive, and involved.

    Posted 6.4.14
    • Vera wrote:

      thank YOU for commenting – it’s nice to hear I am not alone!! it’s been a tough morning for me for sure

      Posted 6.4.14
  2. Lea Ann wrote:

    She will be fine. At my girls school we have a folder to sign every night about homework or anything they need to study. Maybe when she comes home just ask her if she has anything she needs to study for? Not much help but she will start buckling down the older she gets about needing to study. Hope your week gets better! Your a wonderful mom!

    Posted 6.4.14
    • Vera wrote:

      thank you my friend. truly!

      Posted 6.4.14
  3. Erlyn wrote:

    Ditto what Lea Ann said above. At my daughter’s schools, each student is issued a weekly planner journal where they have to write down assignments for each subject. Each night, we have to review and initial, as well as go over homework assignments and study guides. Every Monday, we received a weekly newsletter from her 3rd grade teacher which informed parents what material they were covering for that week as well as scheduled quizzes/tests. There’s only so much you can do as a parent if your teacher isn’t communicating with her students’ parents. Perhaps it would be a good suggestion for her to receive…. some people don’t know what areas they can improve on until someone says something!

    Posted 6.4.14
  4. Melissa wrote:

    Vera, you are def not alone in this struggle! My third grader is very well organized and I barely have to help her – now my 7th grader…she is another story! The work gets harder and I need to stay on her constantly! What helps me is my buddy system! My BFF (my daughters BFF’s mom) and I tag team on things to make sure our girls are not missing anything in school! We send photos of homework sheets to share if one forgets, we compare dues dates etc! Gotta keep on these kids as much as we can – although I have really tried to get her to be more independent in the last couple of years! My favorite saying is “I’m not in school anymore YOU ARE!!” Hang in there – you’re a FANTASTIC mom!!

    Posted 6.4.14
    • Vera wrote:

      thank you! I do need a partner – you are 100% correct!!! Great idea

      Posted 6.4.14
  5. Jane wrote:

    We have been in the “studying” situation many times. First just breathe, then hug Natalie & wish her luck. Confidence & faith are as important as knowledge. I also learned to take 5 minutes a day & ask ?’s about each class instead of the general “How was school today?” You’ll be surprised after a week of asking how much info she’ll share.
    Over the past three weeks my hubs, kids & myself, colds! It pulls on my heart strings when my kids are sick, well wishes to your Little Man.
    I must say though after advice from pediatrician, to stop putting kids in shopping carts & only using our own stroller, we have cut down on illnesses tremendously.

    Posted 6.5.14
  6. Lisa wrote:

    I totally understand what you’re feeling. And like you, my mom NEVER checked my homework or let alone help me! I try my best when my 9 year old needs my help but when it comes to 3rd grade math, I suck! That’s when I get my teens to help her. But as a mom, I feel like a total failure because I can’t offer my children help bc basically I can’t do 3rd grade math. Oh well. I still think we’re doing a damn good job being a mom so never beat yourself up!

    Posted 6.7.14

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