I can remember going through school thinking to myself, "When in the hell am I going to actually use any of this information they're forcing down my throat right now?" Answer: When you have children. I should've listened to my inner self when I said I wasn't going to have any kids. EVER!
Now, after the blow up at my dinner table over what the hell an integer is with my 11 year old daughter, I'm laughing, because had I just listened in school instead of trying to fit in, I might...just might, have retained that little bit of information that would have kept me from throwing a note book across the room in a total lack of self confidence. I've never felt so defeated as an adult. For a split moment, I felt as though I was letting my child down because she is so much smarter then I am. Let me just say, Pre AP Math 6th grade level is not for the faint of heart. Then you add in a bull-headed 11 year old Capricorn and an old, tired Aries and BOOM!!!!! You have paper flying all over the kitchen, with everyone sitting at the dinner table looking at each other trying so desperately not to laugh. See there was almost an MMA moment tonight between my child and myself, before I smoothed my feathers down and realized that she was actually telling me how to solve the problem the entire time, but because I was so fixated on helping her, neither one of us realized that she knew exactly what an integer was and how to solve the problem. ENTER SELF DOUBT HERE.
She was so fixated on the idea that she is going to fail this class that she, herself, didn't realize that she already actually knew how to solve the problem. After some giggles and blood pressure returning to a normal rate, came the tears. I felt like a failure as a parent because she didn't have the confidence enough in herself to not doubt that she knew the answer all along. Here I am, her role model and I couldn't help her with her math homework because I threw that crap out the window 17 years ago before she was even a thought in my mind. Before I realized that I would one day have a daughter who is hell bent on being a doctor. Talk about blow to the heart. I couldn't let her go to bed thinking that she was a failure and that she was going to fail her class because mommy couldn't help her with this damn homework. So, I sat next to her, held her hand, and told her that she is the smartest person I know and that I look up to her for how smart and courageous she is for taking on this class. That if anyone could do it, it was her. That she had my full support and we would work through this together. That she wasn't alone. That if I couldn't help her, I would use every life line I had to get her the answer. Then I heard it, "Mommy, I'm so scared I'm going to fail this class and everyone's going to be mad at me or make fun of me because I couldn't do it."
I had to explain to her that there are going to be moments in her life where she is going to fail, but those failures, as long as they are learned from, will sling shot us into our successes. I had to remind her of all the times she has witnessed me fail and fall flat on my tush. I asked her, "When you saw me get kicked in the face by life, what did I do?"
She looked at me and smiled, "You got up, dusted yourself off, and kept going," she said.
Then I saw the glimmer of hope in her eye and a smile from ear to ear form. She got what I was trying to explain to her. She told me that she new that the only person holding herself back was her and that she knew what she had to do to overcome her fear of failure. I told her that pass or fail, I wasn't going to give up on her and that we were in this together. That I would be there to pick her up and dust her off or I would be there to high five, fist bump if she aced it. "No matter what this mama is in it to win it with you kiddo."
Nonetheless she's grounded from all media devices until further notice because we waited until 8:30 at night to decide to tell me that she needed help with her math homework, but we got it MMA knocked out and my daughter went to bed with a light heart and a smile on her face. However, this mama is sitting at her computer realizing that I never knew how smart I really was (insert sarcastic tone here) until I had to figure out what an integer was with my 11 year child, who in her own right is a lot smarter than I am, and for that I'm blessed and so very proud.