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I Have Failed My Child: Grade One Might Break Me!

We are only in February and I am already experiencing huge anxiety because I feel like I have failed my child, and I think grade one is going to break me. My anxiety about this is making me a bit of a hot mess, as in sweaty.

Grade One and homework, who would have thought that you would cause me more anxiety than Jacob Zuma?

Grade One was so different when I started school, now the pressure is on. Everyone warned me. I thought I was prepared. It turns out, I wasn’t. Nothing can possibly prepare you for Grade One.

My friend Carly who blogs over at Mom Of Two Little Girls wrote a post yesterday that hit home for me about how she felt she’d let her daughter down . She’s also a first time Grade One mom.

I feel like I have failed my child, like I have let her down.

I didn’t prepare her enough in life skills. Things like being able to be more aware of how to take care of books and clothes. I should have been more present in getting her to push herself.

Whilst I want her to find her own individuality, I am struggling with things like making sure she ‘gets’ the basic etiquette and manners needed in everyday life.

I feel like I have failed her because I struggle just to get myself organised most days, nevermind the kids. I am hard on myself, I know this, but all I want is for her to be accepted for her own individuality and for her own unique outlook on life.

Unfortunately I believe that I have started projecting my own insecurities on to this little person. I have done so much wrong that I need to slowly build her up and make her see that she is awesome. She needs to learn that in life we need to practice at things sometimes, and that trying and not being good is okay but the key is to never give up.

I feel like I failed her because I am focusing on the negatives and maybe even comparing her to other children, which makes me mean and unfair.

What Do I Want?

I need her to know that I see her kindness, her uniqueness and that I do love her. I need her to know that I am so ridiculously proud of her.

This is something that I don’t do enough and when I do it, I need to make sure she hears me, I need to make sure she is looking into my eyes and realises that we all make mistakes we aren’t perfect but we need to try our best and be our best selves. She needs to know I accept her and love her the way she is.

I need to chill out

Toys will break. Things will get misplaced. She is just a child. She needs to know that nobody is perfect.

I need to step back and let her learn, to be there for her, to make sure that she is not scared to speak to me and that she knows that she can always tell me her secrets without the fear of me embarrassing her. I have the ability to find the humour in situations but need to realise that she is finding herself and that whilst I am an open book, she needs to be able to tell her own story. It is her story, she only need to be there to support her, not to tell her story for her.

I’m Trying

Here are a few of the things I do to try make it better for her:

  • I have a homework caddy, it has glue and scissors, magazines for cutting out, pens, lead pencils and colouring pencils. I plan on spoiling myself with an electric sharpener as life shouldn’t be that hard. The homework caddy is for homework and I state this as we have managed to dry up a glue. misplace copious amounts of stationery and it is only February.
  • Consistency in breaking down homework into edible chunks, for example whilst driving I try to ask engaging questions: “That car has four wheels and a trailer with two wheels, so how many wheels does it have altogether?”
  • I do not shout or tantrum. If her shoes are on the wrong way or can’t be found then we are either late for school or other shoes need to be worn. This will hopefully promote accountability from her side as well.
  • Accountability and responsibility need to be taken from all sides, not just mine.
  • We eat breakfast and then brush teeth before we change in our house, so as to prevent another toothpaste incident this year.
  • We have fun reading time; I love reading and I am so desperate for that love to follow through with both my girls and refer to the point above about not shouting.
  • Slowing down and becoming a fun mom again. I’m battling a bit with this one as it is easier said than done.

My Promise To Her

This past December I embarrassed her. After that she made me “pinky promise” to never speak about her toilet habits even with my family. I’m ashamed to admit that I do it, I embarrass her, and I don’t even try that hard. I don’t do it intentionally. I am just my loud brash self.

My flower child who lives in the fairies, I promise to do my best to step back. I promise to try not embarrass you too much. I promise to let you know that you are loved, even whilst we are both trying to figure out this new chapter and adventure in our lives.

It is important that I don’t project my insecurities on to her, and whilst I will try to make sure she isn’t bullied at school the way I was, I am not sad about it I am just fearful for her.


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  • Nicole - Tales from Mamaville
    Posted November 5, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Oh darling, don’t be so hard on yourself. All us mums do it (me included) – we overthink and overstress and worry about every small thing (I’m the world’s biggest worrier so I know what you mean). But we do it because we love our kids so much and care about their well-being.

    It’s sometimes so tough to be ‘fun mum’ when we have to discipline them and make them do homework etc etc. But I guess sometimes it’s ok to take a step back and let things happen at their own pace. And sometimes, we’ve got to let them learn the consequences of their own actions.

    You’re doing great, it’s because you love them so much that you want to be the best mum you can. #Itsok to feel like that sometimes, believe me we all do!

    • Chanene
      Posted November 7, 2018 at 5:26 pm

      Thank you for support 🙂 #itsok

  • MomOfTwoLittleGirls
    Posted November 5, 2018 at 9:20 am

    You are not a failure. Grade One kicks all our butts!! And I feel like I have had three years of Grade One in the past 10 months! #itsok

    • Chanene
      Posted November 7, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      oh my word you really have with the cross over :/

  • PenZaf
    Posted April 13, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    I remember being so overwhelmed with Grade 1, the rush, the homework, the extra murals and then still having to work.
    But hang in there, I can’t say it gets better but I think we as moms get stronger.
    You are a awesome mom, and your little Angels will definitely think the same.
    What you can look forward to is Grade 2.

  • Lula the blog
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Hi there;
    Don’t stress yourself out.
    Be the best mum you can be by being true to yourself.
    BTW: homework is so unimpressive.
    Don’t let homework take the joy out of life.

  • Melissa Javan
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    This is a beautiful post. I hope by the time my kid reaches grade one and I’m overwhelmed, that I remember this. I’m sure you are doing a good job. And you are trying. Remember that.

  • Lee-Ann
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 5:35 am

    I think you doing an awesome job….your kids are amazingly beautiful and I love them to bits so that must mean you doing something right 💗

    We also adjusting and homework which started off being fun is more of a mission now….never knew counting to 1-100 and back could be a sleeping lullaby for me 😋

    Once we get into the swing of things it will be better…and prob in time for grade 2🤣 let’s help each other help each other 😘😘

  • ChevsLife
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 2:32 am

    Adjusting to being a “school mom” can be so hard, and honestly, school can suck the fun out of parenting when you constantly have to focus on keeping on top of things that, in the bigger scheme of life, may seem so insignificant – like making sure your books don’t get dog ears. But then I remind myself that this insignificant dog ears thing is about teaching how to take care of your belongings, etc.

    I find that having a work space for homework helps. Having a “goodbye” and “hello” routine helps with creating a positive beginning and end school day experience.

  • Kirsty
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Love love love this, makes us feel so normal. One realization I’ve had more than anything is that it’s important that they are nice kids, everything else can be taught! Kindness is not that easy. Your kids are beautiful and you are an amazing mom! I think we all need to build a school other up as mom guilt is so real

  • Faye
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    You are a fabulous mum! We are all just doing our best with the information we have available at the time! Don’t ever doubt yourself!

  • Lisa
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:59 pm


    Don’t beat yourself up. Homework is a disaster for most of us. I feel like I need a Xanax just to sit down with my kid and do it.

    I honestly feel Homework is a complete waste of time. Several schools in the Western Cape have done away with homework and have seen a phenomenal change in their school kids. Studies prove you can’t learn anything new when stressed so why they do this to us I do not know.

    I personally believe the teachers send our homework so they can justify to us how “hard” it supposedly is for them.

    So when a mom complains about homework they say something like “well you only have to do this for 45 minutes max we sit with your kid all day”. Which is nonsense.

    But no matter how bad you are feeling I can tell you something to make you feel better.

    This week my child’s teacher accused her of letting her mother do her homework for her in front of the class.

    This is ridiculous firstly said homework was so messy and incomplete and secondly how can you do this to a kid in front of her peers.

    So don’t worry. This homework thing auxns and we are all “failing” our kids.

  • Donnae
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    I think this is what we all want to say! And from the outside, you look like you have it all together, better than most moms! So don’t be so hard on yourself…
    ps, going to get them at homework caddy ready for next year!! Xx

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