Dear Snarky – Am I a Bad Mom for Not Doing My Kid’s School Project?

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Dear Snarky,

My son is in the 3rd grade and this is his first year to participate in the school Science Fair. I’ve helped him decided what he wants to do, bought the supplies and the display board and have offered what I would call gentle guidance. The rest I am leaving up to him.

I thought this was okay until at a Cub Scout meeting I hear other mothers talking and it seems like they are doing their kids ENTIRE project. Am I wrong not to do more?

Signed, First Time Science Fair Mom

Dear First Timer,

Put down the glue gun and slowly step away from the note cards and the color markers. You are 100% correct in not micro managing every aspect of your son’s Science Fair entry. It’s the rare parent these days that can resist the urge to not completely take over every school project. You name it – book reports, the diorama (hate it), the Invention Competition to the pinnacle of parental participation – the Science Fair – have become parent showcases. 

Most of these projects have the tell-tale signs that a 40-year-old did some if not all of the work. Sure, I’ve been guilty of telling my kids when they were younger to take their chocolate milk and go watch “Sponge Bob Square Pants” while mommy just fixes one or two things on their display board. But, it’s wrong and brace yourself because when you walk into the Science Fair your son’s project board and experiment will look like, well, like an 8-year-old did it and 90 % of the other exhibits will look like a cross between a rocket scientist and the design team at Apple.

That’s a nice way of saying your son’s will stink but in a good way because he did his own work and you let him – making you both big winners.  Also, I think it says a lot about the character of the school if the winners are picked based on the work a child did not the parents. So no worries First Timer, you’ve got this! Get your Mom swagger on and be proud you’re raising a child to do his own work and think for himself.