One of the mantras I’ve been using lately is: the prize is in the process. My son is in his 8th grade year and my daughter is in her 5th grade year. This is a turning point year for both of them. Next year brings middle school and high school which also means more responsibility.

Come in a little closer. I have a secret to tell you. Shh…

I love saving my kids. It makes me feel good about myself. Feeling like I’ve reduced their pain in any way makes me happier. But, this isn’t supposed to be about me. It’s supposed to be about them, right?

I’m that mom. The one who drives back to school and tries to get into classrooms and gymnasiums to help my kids find the stuff they left because they know I will.

This year, I’m letting them fail. We already talked about how as they get older they have to be able to remember stuff on their own. I’ve refused to go back to school for a math notebook. I’ve decided not to email a teacher who seems to be a bit disorganized and makes my child feel unsure of herself. I’ve also started saying, “I guess you should start problem solving.”

You see, we’ve spent the past 8 or so years learning how to troubleshoot problems together, but now the process needs to transition to them. I know they can do it, but I don’t think they know they can. If I keep doing it for them, they never get the prize––I do.

My kids are very nervous about adults and how school works. I will consider this year a success if they start to ask teachers to explain assignments. If they are brave enough to explain that they don’t understand something that happened in class. And if they stop coming to me first to problem solve.

I want them to get the prize this year.