The 7 stages of “my kid has got a project” hell.
In Dante’s Inferno, he outlines nine layers of hell. In parenting, there are 7 stages of a different type of hell: school project hell.
My three faithful readers (thanks, mom-in-law!) know that I am a teacher. Teachers assign projects. Over the twenty-two years of my career, I have assigned small, medium, and large projects. Now that I am a parent of school-age children, I would like to apologize to all of the parents of my students. I am so sorry. Please forgive me, I did not understand about the seven layers of parental project hell.
Stage 1 — I got a project.
“Mom, I got a project in…”
I stop listening right there. I don’t care.
Is it my project?
Do I need to do it?
(All you good parents out there on the internet can start judging me now, I don’t care.)
Stage 2 — Remember, I got that project.
“Mom, remember I got that project?”
Yes, I do. See my mental response to number 1.
(Judgers: I only think things, I don’t say things.)
Stage 3 — Let’s go shopping for that project.
“Mom, that project is due. I need you to buy me glue, tape, beads, poster paper, (and a high grade).”
Great. I would love to spend hours shopping for supplies for a project. Let’s go to one of those crafty stores that force me to recognize my lack of Martha Stewart skills. That will be fun.
Stage 4 — I need to do that project.
“Mom, I need a space to do that project, can I use the dining room table?”
Sure, your project is not due for like three more weeks, and I love clutter. Be my guest, let my dining room table (that family heirloom that you may or may not be inheriting) be your work table.
Stage 5 — I don’t think this project will ever be done.
You know why? Because it won’t. My dining room is going to be a disaster forever.
Stage 6 — Getting the flipping project to school.
Other caring parents say: “Oh, what a nice project. Wow!”
Other delusional parents say: “I love projects!”
I think: Will this fit in my car?
Stage 7 — Storing the now dead project.
I attend the fair. I see my kid’s project — the project I have seen for over a month by now. I get to see other kid’s projects. Those children’s projects are great, but they are not my kid’s. The hoopla is over, the final layer complete.
But, a crucial question remains: DO WE NEED TO KEEP THIS PROJECT?
Ultimately, many student projects are really family projects. For a student to complete a project well, it usually becomes a group effort in some way. My children’s father is a much better parent. He listens and helps our children. I, on the other hand, contribute the grumbling, the nagging, and the transportation.