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That phone call better have been important (vent) ...


bettyandbob
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I teach swimming. My last class this morning was a swim 1 with 8 year old twins. On Monday one of the twins was not letting go of the wall. I was honestly concerned about getting them through some skills in this beginning level because she was so fearful. But that is how this level goes-- some people need a couple sessions just to get used to being in the water.

 

Today was the fourth class of the two week session. They are dog paddling five to ten yards at a time with breathing. Based on what I saw at the end of class, I decided to have them swim back to mom. 25 meters alongside a wall that they could grab if needed. They each only grabbed the wall 3 times. It was awesome. When we started across the pool toward the mom, the moon looked up so she knew we were coming and what the kids were trying. She looked briefly, picked up her phone and turned her back. Ugh! Swimming like that when you were afraid and could not swim at all three days ago is huge.

 

Well I told the kids how awesome they were.

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You know, I run my life, a family of 7 and two volunteer gigs from my phone. Sometimes I dare to look away from my kids. I'm sure the world thinks I'm playing Candy Crush or Pokemon hunting. Oh well. I'm still a pretty good Mom.

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I usually leave the pool area during swim lessons. I must be terrible.

 

What I can't stand is people applauding and cheering their little one's every move. That's just too much. Luckily it's not too common, but occasionally I see it happen - extra annoying when my own kid is in the same group, because I don't want my kid to feel bad that I don't. But I'm not going to cheer and applaud every move, no matter what. Only outstanding efforts get that.

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You know, I run my life, a family of 7 and two volunteer gigs from my phone. Sometimes I dare to look away from my kids. I'm sure the world thinks I'm playing Candy Crush or Pokemon hunting. Oh well. I'm still a pretty good Mom.

Lahdidah good for you.

 

Seriously, it said vent. And honestly the progress was truly amazing and she missed it totally.

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I see both sides here.  One, it was a rude gesture.  Everything can wait 5 minutes.

 

OTOH, I have a child who does not thrive on praise.  Or rewards.  Or any external motivation I could provide.  I can say it's a rule, and he'll do it, but little else works.  The reason he learned how to tie his shoes?  He found a pair of basketball shoes he wanted and didn't want to keep running to me to do it.  1 book and 2 days along with a bit of active teaching was all it took.  With swimming, he has been scared of water for YEARS.  Seriously, getting the child to a beach, pool, or even splash zone has been a headache. He will walk an acre around it so he doesn't have to get wet.  If I praised every step he took he'd balk and choose not to do a thing.  He finally decided to learn to swim this year (at the end of summer, of course!) but on his terms - I can push, but I can't give gold stars.  He can watch youtube videos and practice with me in an empty pool.  I love the child to death, but I know if I watched during a class or let him know I saw him do something tricky without him feeling that internal joy and sharing with me first it would not go over well.

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I usually leave the pool area during swim lessons. I must be terrible.

 

What I can't stand is people applauding and cheering their little one's every move. That's just too much. Luckily it's not too common, but occasionally I see it happen - extra annoying when my own kid is in the same group, because I don't want my kid to feel bad that I don't. But I'm not going to cheer and applaud every move, no matter what. Only outstanding efforts get that.

And it was outstanding. I don't want or expect parents to cheer everything. I don't even expect them to be there, but if they are and they see it's nice to smile at the kid and say good job.

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And it was outstanding. I don't want or expect parents to cheer everything. I don't even expect them to be there, but if they are and they see it's nice to smile at the kid and say good job.

 

And she may not have known it was. Maybe she thought that it was perfectly normal to swim like that after 4 lessons. Now, if the child had struggled for months, and then finally got to that point, it'd be different.

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Lahdidah good for you.

 

Seriously, it said vent. And honestly the progress was truly amazing and she missed it totally.

 

Did you tell her the kid was doing it for her to see? I might have totally missed that this was "an event" for me to see and praise; I mean, I would have been glancing to see the kids (hence why I'm there) without realizing that this is showtime. If they're in the pool, they're in the class, I'm here keeping an eye out but not teaching...

 

Please tell me you did not say to the kids, "OK, now do you your very best so Mommy can see what you learned today! Wave at Mommy! Swim for Mommy!" or anything like that, without Mom also being clued in. I never can hear what the instructors are saying in the pool, when I'm in the observation area.

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
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I don't know. Maybe she felt her kids would be more nervous if she was too invested in their success. Maybe she's just a tired parent. Everyone parents differently.

I get this. I don't get completely turning your back. I understand watching and doing look down at your book or phone thing so kid doesn't see you watch because some kids don't do we with mom watching. But turning your back so you clearly aren't going to anything when your child is attempting something big is off to me. Pretend not watch, ok. But this wasn't pretending. She would have been better off in the area out of the pool with comfy seating and less humid air. Then the kids wouldn't see her turn her back.

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I too have been stunned sometimes by parents who are seemingly indifferent to their kids' accomplishments, needs, etc.    But then I think of times I've messed up terribly with my kids, or times I misunderstood what was going on.  

 

So I get the venting about it.  Venting = blowing off some frustration, not condemning a person. 

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Lahdidah good for you.

 

Seriously, it said vent. And honestly the progress was truly amazing and she missed it totally.

But the vent is that someone parents her child/ren different than you think she should.

 

I missed my first kids first crawl across the living room. It was truly amazing progress that I didn't see. My not seeing it doesn't take anything away from her accomplishment, or make me an awful Mom.

 

Nor does my not watching carefully as she bowled her first 200+ game. I was there, but oh my god, watching bowling is so Boring, so I was not paying attention. She still achieved something and I did compliment the WORK she put in to achieving that, because I try to encourage a growth mindset vs. praising every little thing.

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But the vent is that someone parents her child/ren different than you think she should.

 

I missed my first kids first crawl across the living room. It was truly amazing progress that I didn't see. My not seeing it doesn't take anything away from her accomplishment, or make me an awful Mom.

 

Nor does my not watching carefully as she bowled her first 200+ game. I was there, but oh my god, watching bowling is so Boring, so I was not paying attention. She still achieved something and I did compliment the WORK she put in to achieving that, because I try to encourage a growth mindset vs. praising every little thing.

And you missed these things because you stood up and turned your back just as you dc started across the living room. You looked right at your dc and turned your back.

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And you missed these things because you stood up and turned your back just as you dc started across the living room. You looked right at your dc and turned your back.

Not exactly. I wasn't home for the crawling. I was at a very unimportant coffee date with a friend.

 

The bowling, I was reading a book. I glanced up every now and again, but then I ...looked back down at my book.

 

But the point is, it doesn't matter if the phone call was important or not (it very well might have been) - you don't get to decide what this woman does or does not celebrate, pay attention to, or praise in her children's lives. Period.

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Not exactly. I wasn't home for the crawling. I was at a very unimportant coffee date with a friend.

 

The bowling, I was reading a book. I glanced up every now and again, but then I ...looked back down at my book.

 

But the point is, it doesn't matter if the phone call was important or not (it very well might have been) - you don't get to decide what this woman does or does not celebrate, pay attention to, or praise in her children's lives. Period.

No I don't but the physical gesture is strong negative message. Being engrossed in a book is not. Being in the care of a babysitter or aunt is also not a strong negative message. Standing up and turning your back is a negative message. It is not a benign absence.

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No I don't but the physical gesture is strong negative message. Being engrossed in a book is not. Being in the care of a babysitter or aunt is also not a strong negative message. Standing up and turning your back is a negative message. It is not a benign absence.

 

Meh - my kid at age 8 might have been the one to say, don't watch my swim lesson mom it's so embarrassing.  And then mid lesson might start yelling "MOM MOM MOM Watch this".  You saw one moment in time between parent and child.  It's just not that big a deal.  Mom shaming just gets old. 

 

Everywhere we took swim lessons required parents on the deck of the pool for liability reasons.  So I think it's interesting some people leave.  At one pool I tried to swim laps during lessons, and they wouldn't let me.  LOL. 

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How come nobody ever considers that maybe the mom is going above and beyond by getting the kids to swim lessons and working at the same time?  Some of us don't have the choice to block everything else out.

 

I agree that the mom probably didn't think it was such a big wow that the kids were dog-paddling while periodically grabbing onto the wall.  I mean I learned to dog-paddle in about 5 seconds.  My next door neighbor taught me while my mom and dad were at work.  I probably told my parents about it in the evening and they probably said, "good!" and went on with their day.

 

I am of the opinion that "wow, good job" is over-used.  I would say nothing at that moment but later say, "I see you have been working hard at improving" or something like that.

 

But then, I'm one of those shitty moms who works while trying to give her kids opportunities.  Like right now, I'm sitting in my car outside the library because I had a conference call.  My kids are learning new things in the library.  And nobody's standing behind them saying, "oh woooooow!"

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Oh and there was that time when my sister's micro-premie was in the hospital and she would call me to tell me the baby had another brain bleed and they were afraid she would not make it.  How annoying those calls must have been to judgmental people.

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I don't think it's a 'strong negative message' to let kids know that swimming is perfectly normal, and nobody is really that invested in what they are learning, how they are learning it, or how fast they are attaining skills. (I think it's likely to build internal motivation, normalize the skill, and decrease overall people-pleasing tendencies.) Of course, there's nothing wrong with being a more invested parent and/or letting the child know how their swimming skills bring you pleasure... But if you honestly don't really care if they learn quickly or slowly, or whether they become very skilled or merely attain minimal proficiency eventually, well, there's no crime in the kid knowing so. (And there's probably no sense in trying to convince them otherwise.)

 

For me, swimming matters a little (because it's a life skill) but not much. After basic proficiency, it's just one of many active recreational things that kids can be doing. Something else: say, soccer, I'm completely indifferent to, and my kids know it. I tell them, "This is a kids activity. It's great that you are active and I hope you have fun." They tell me when they do well and I affirm that a feeling of accomplishment and team-contribution sure does feel great. I don't try to fake-out that I care how well they kick or whatever.

 

Anyhow, I think it's fine for kids to enjoy sports and rec without much of their parents' investment.

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I am not a "wow" mom. I am a mom who works her butt off every single day to give my kids (two who have special needs) the best love, attention, opportunities, and education I can. But I'm not going to "wow" every time they do something awesome.

 

With one of my kids, that is utterly distracting (seriously, it's major work for him to pay attention to what he's supposed to be doing and for the teacher to help him pay attention. I'm not going to distract him.). And for my other? Often, if I show him attention when he's focusing, he'll get angry and completely shut down and refuse to do more. I don't know why, but I'm his mom. I know it happens all the time. I'm not going to mess up his progress just because his teacher thinks I need to cheer for him.

 

My reasons for not being the mom who cheers (even when it's amazing) are well thought out and intentional, but I have to have a pretty thick skin because people have opinions about my behavior occasionally, I'm ok with that.

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No I don't but the physical gesture is strong negative message. Being engrossed in a book is not. Being in the care of a babysitter or aunt is also not a strong negative message. Standing up and turning your back is a negative message. It is not a benign absence.

I really do not see a difference in turning my back or looking up to watch, then turning my face back down into a book. The kid's activity is for the kid. The parent really is only required for transportation and paying.

 

And really, if the kids were focused on their swimming because it's new and requires a lot of focus, they wouldn't have seen the mother turning her back. Which, by the way, is a very common thing to do when on a phone conversation - to reduce both visual and audio distractions so one can hear the party on the other end of the phone line.

 

I'm going to be done with this thread now.** Really what it all boils down to is that You come across that you are Judgy McJudgerson, mom-shamer. If that's how you choose to be, then by all means, carry on. If that's not how you choose to be, then extending a little grace to the mother and actually listening to the other perspectives in this thread might serve you well. The choice is yours.

 

**A statement made with good intentions, but alas, not true.

Edited by fraidycat
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I am not a "wow" mom. I am a mom who works her butt off every single day to give my kids (two who have special needs) the best love, attention, opportunities, and education I can. But I'm not going to "wow" every time they do something awesome.

 

With one of my kids, that is utterly distracting (seriously, it's major work for him to pay attention to what he's supposed to be doing and for the teacher to help him pay attention. I'm not going to distract him.). And for my other? Often, if I show him attention when he's focusing, he'll get angry and completely shut down and refuse to do more. I don't know why, but I'm his mom. I know it happens all the time. I'm not going to mess up his progress just because his teacher thinks I need to cheer for him.

 

My reasons for not being the mom who cheers (even when it's amazing) are well thought out and intentional, but I have to have a pretty thick skin because people have opinions about my behavior occasionally, I'm ok with that.

I know I said I was done here, but we were typing at the same time, and your post sparked a thought.

 

I actually know a "wow" Mom. Her kids are almost crippled in their ability to accomplish anything without constant praise and feedback. They'll stop in the middle of something and disrupt the flow of a class or activity just to get the mom or other adult leader to praise their miniscule progress and "accomplishments". It's quite annoying and distracting to others partaking in the activities - adults and children alike.

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Right, if this was such a challenge for them, they would be focused on what they were doing, not what Mom was doing.

 

And in general, turning one's back when on an important call is a way of signaling "this is an important call, don't come running up and yelling about stupid stuff."  If the mom does this normally, the kids know why she's doing it.  For all you know, she might have told her kids in advance that she had an important call coming in during the lesson.  I would have done that when my kids were 8.

 

My view is, we're a team.  An 8yo child can understand it isn't all about him.  He can even start to care about other things Mom cares about.

 

Moms who don't care about their kids don't bother to take them to swim lessons in the first place.

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My youngest has anxiety.  Making a big deal out of something she achieves WHILE she is doing it is a guaranteed way to get her to over-think it and freeze up.  Telling her we're proud or that we think she did well AFTER the fact is okay but it still can't be effusive.  To others it probably looks like I'm not paying attention/don't care but it's how she needs it to be.

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Please don't take this as an attack, but are you possibly feeling unappreciated in your job? Like, do you thrive not just on kids making progress but also on parents being happy about the kids' progress? Because it seems like you're taking this rather personally. I know it's just a vent, I'm just not entirely sure why you're upset to begin with.

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I can understand your frustration.  That being said, maybe extend some grace?  Perhaps she *was* expecting an important phone call, something she couldn't miss, like a doctor calling with important test results.  Maybe she had another kid at home or an elderly parent and needed to stay connected in case she was needed there.  Maybe she was deliberately disengaged because her kids do better when she turns them over to the instructor and they don't feel like she's watching (I have one or two like this).   Next lesson you can wave her down and say, "Hey look what your awesome kids are doing already!" 
 

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Both sides have points BUT if you are going to be there, BE THERE. I have no issue with moms being busy (hello!) But it does matter to be present when you are present.

I don't even know what this means. Presence and absence are pretty black-and-white concepts. Are you just trying to make a point about paying attention?

 

If so, could you clarify by giving a reason why you think it matters that all present parents be paying attention to paid recreational lessons for their kids?

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Both sides have points BUT if you are going to be there, BE THERE. I have no issue with moms being busy (hello!) But it does matter to be present when you are present. 

 

I'll agree to disagree.  The kids have the teacher there.  The mom is there at other important times.  The kids can understand that mom has other thing to think about even if they are in the same room with her.

 

These are 8yo kids who have their own things to think about.  They don't need Mom to carry them emotionally through everything - whether she is physically there or not.

 

I have spent many hours being physically "there" with my work computer.  If my kids really need me, they know how to get my attention, but they also know that it's important for me to work when I can.  If I work when they are busy doing worthwhile things, then I can do things with them directly at other times.  For example, I can read aloud to them at night if I get enough work done while they're at their activities.  The other thing I sometimes do is walk while they are at activities, because often that is the only exercise I get.  An 8yo can understand my health is important too.

 

Edited by SKL
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Both sides have points BUT if you are going to be there, BE THERE. I have no issue with moms being busy (hello!) But it does matter to be present when you are present.

But swim lessons is not a time where the parent should be present. It is disruptive to the lesson for a parent to be present in the moment when the kid is taking a class. A parent should be able to do whatever they want during an activity and then talk to the child about it afterwards and not expect judgement from the instructor or anyone else.

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Both sides have points BUT if you are going to be there, BE THERE. I have no issue with moms being busy (hello!) But it does matter to be present when you are present.

Perhaps she was THERE for the person she was talking to on the phone since she was paying someone who was responsible for managing her kids at that point in time.

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I honestly thought the OP would back down, but no? Digging in with the mom shaming? I never got my question answered about whether mom even knew it was a performance for her benefit? I'm guessing that she was supposed to intuit that, due to being *that* attached to her child emotionally, as well as *that* in awe of the teacher's work.

 

:/

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I teach swimming. My last class this morning was a swim 1 with 8 year old twins. On Monday one of the twins was not letting go of the wall. I was honestly concerned about getting them through some skills in this beginning level because she was so fearful. But that is how this level goes-- some people need a couple sessions just to get used to being in the water.

 

Today was the fourth class of the two week session. They are dog paddling five to ten yards at a time with breathing. Based on what I saw at the end of class, I decided to have them swim back to mom. 25 meters alongside a wall that they could grab if needed. They each only grabbed the wall 3 times. It was awesome. When we started across the pool toward the mom, the moon looked up so she knew we were coming and what the kids were trying. She looked briefly, picked up her phone and turned her back. Ugh! Swimming like that when you were afraid and could not swim at all three days ago is huge.

 

Well I told the kids how awesome they were.

I have to be honest my four year old told me his swim teacher said "the whole point is for the mum to look". I am often either on my phone or teaching school to my older kids". I have sat through six years of kids in swimming. While it's fun to watch occasionally it gets old. During swimming I usually shop online, research next years activities etc. I just don't have time to be fully engaged in every moment of one kids life when I have others and swimming is one of the few times when my kid is safely cared for by someone else and I have a bit of time to focus.

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This is what I talk about in therapy.  This kind of judgement of a split second of my life is why I did stupid stuff like live with post-pregnancy hemorrhoids for years.  I wouldn't want to make a doctor's appointment when I could be gazing admiringly at my children, lest people think I care more about my butt.  You know what makes you a better parent? Comfortable butts.

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Normalization and justification of parents not giving a patootie about their kids' acitivities is getting so much support. I feel kinda embarrassed now that I watch and enjoy watching my kids taking lessons whenever possible. Sometimes I even put my book down, to you know, watch my kids. And now, I actually don't over-praise. But to each their own. So what are the chances this being an important phone call that the mother couldn't postpone? 50/50? Does it matter?

 

I'm assuming it WAS a call the mother couldn't postpone. The OP is assuming the same, but lamenting that if it wasn't an important phonecall, it is a shame that the mother wasn't watching. Can't the OP vent in peace?

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Ouch.

 

I think it's fabulous that you are so invested in the success of your students. What an exciting moment for them, and for you. :)

 

Give the mom a break. Maybe she's been "Wow"-ing her kids all day. Maybe it was a genuinely important call. Maybe she's got so much piled on her shoulders she needed a moment on the phone with a friend. Maybe she's just a jerk. You have no idea what was going on with the phone call. You're expecting her to have been as aware and excited for the kids as you were in that moment, and you're allowing your expectation to ruin your own enjoyment. Enjoy the moment for what it was, and let the rest go. Giving grace and understanding is rarely a mistake.

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I used to be the mom who watched every second of every practice. Then I realized I was doing more harm than good. I didn't become wow mom, I became judgmental nit picky mom. We left every practice with me giving my kid a lecture on whatever great awful thing I witnessed. Like how kid was sitting on the sides after his set instead of practicing flip turns or something I deemed productive. Or critiquing his need to use the bathroom during practice. Or my soccer son...why didn't he run faster or wait until he was closer to the goal to kick or whatever. I lost sight of the real reason we participate and was sucking out the fun.

 

So possibly mom is just an awful mom. Or maybe she did have an important call. Or maybe she didn't realize that they were doing anything amazing. Or she got to the car and said "wow you guys did awesome let's get ice cream to celebrate." Or maybe she was like me and realized not watching is better than criticizing. We are all happier now that I don't watch and just ask "how was practice?"

 

But props to you for being a proud teacher who can get excited about the progress of your students! That goes a long way.

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Normalization and justification of parents not giving a patootie about their kids' acitivities is getting so much support. I feel kinda embarrassed now that I watch and enjoy watching my kids taking lessons whenever possible. Sometimes I even put my book down, to you know, watch my kids. And now, I actually don't over-praise. But to each their own. So what are the chances this being an important phone call that the mother couldn't postpone? 50/50? Does it matter?

 

I'm assuming it WAS a call the mother couldn't postpone. The OP is assuming the same, but lamenting that if it wasn't an important phonecall, it is a shame that the mother wasn't watching. Can't the OP vent in peace?

You are joining the op in assuming too much about the mother. One instant, in which we don't even know if she knew her kid was being put on display for her to cheer (instead of just in the middle of his swim lesson which mom is not involved in teaching), and you've decided she doesn't care, never watches, and is in a large demographic of uninvolved worthless parents.

 

Because

 

a. You never looked away from your child's lesson for a split second (not true, you said you take a book), and

B. That's the definition of an uncaring, uninvolved parent right there, the one taking him for swim lessons that he needs and wants.

 

Seriously? I do not have an eye roll dramatic enough for this occasion.

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Normalization and justification of parents not giving a patootie about their kids' acitivities is getting so much support. I feel kinda embarrassed now that I watch and enjoy watching my kids taking lessons whenever possible. Sometimes I even put my book down, to you know, watch my kids. And now, I actually don't over-praise. But to each their own. So what are the chances this being an important phone call that the mother couldn't postpone? 50/50? Does it matter?

 

I'm assuming it WAS a call the mother couldn't postpone. The OP is assuming the same, but lamenting that if it wasn't an important phonecall, it is a shame that the mother wasn't watching. Can't the OP vent in peace?

Lol. Can you scream emotional manipulation just a little louder. It isn't quite clear enough yet. <sarcasm>

 

You're embarassed? Lol. Not. Welcome to the mom-shaming club, though.

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This reminds me of people who castigate parents for being on their phones or whatever while the kids are at the park instead of waving and smiling the whole time.

 

Sometimes parents need a break. Sometimes parents have non-kid things that are urgent. Sometimes a kid doggy-paddling in the pool is not the most important thing going on in someone's life.

 

I think your anger or irritation is misplaced. I don't think it's cool to be so negative about another parent.

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I used to be the mom who watched every second of every practice. Then I realized I was doing more harm than good. I didn't become wow mom, I became judgmental nit picky mom. We left every practice with me giving my kid a lecture on whatever great awful thing I witnessed. Like how kid was sitting on the sides after his set instead of practicing flip turns or something I deemed productive. Or critiquing his need to use the bathroom during practice. Or my soccer son...why didn't he run faster or wait until he was closer to the goal to kick or whatever. I lost sight of the real reason we participate and was sucking out the fun.

 

So possibly mom is just an awful mom. Or maybe she did have an important call. Or maybe she didn't realize that they were doing anything amazing. Or she got to the car and said "wow you guys did awesome let's get ice cream to celebrate." Or maybe she was like me and realized not watching is better than criticizing. We are all happier now that I don't watch and just ask "how was practice?"

 

But props to you for being a proud teacher who can get excited about the progress of your students! That goes a long way.

This was also a realization of mine. I can be nit-picky. I try to encourage growth mindset, but it's a tricky balance - one that I'm better at if I don't pay attention and let the kids come to me with accomplishments or concerns vs. watching for myself.

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But it does matter to be present when you are present. 

 

I disagree. My kids have played hockey for ten years. I have been to approximately 473,000 hockey practices in that time. Do I have to be "present" every time? Absolutely not. I drive my kids to hockey. I may even sit in a viewing area where I can see them and they can see me. But I am not "present." I am reading, grading, playing on my phone, watching a televised hockey game, etc. It is my kids' hockey practice, not mine. If they play hockey so I will be super attentive at their practices, we have a big problem.

 

I also don't sit attentively and watch my kids play video games, read books, build with Legos, or hang out with their friends.

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It' fine if a parent enjoys watching kids have lessons.

 

But I am not sure why there would be some sort of moral obligation.  My parents used to come to my big events, but not lessons and such.  THose thing I did for myself, not as a show or to entertain someone or whatever.  I had fun, or learned a skill.  My parents had their own lives, which isn't wrong.

 

My kids are separate people from me, I can love and enjoy them without being involved in everything they do.

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