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Talking to Your Child's Teacher & Coach About an Absent Parent

I can’t believe it, but this Saturday, I’m officially a “Soccer Mom.” Since JD is 3, he’s old enough to participate in the Mighty Mites soccer program in our town. I registered him over the summer and for the past two weeks I’ve been receiving emails from the coach about opening day, t-shirts, shin guards—the works! In one email the coach said to contact him with any questions or concerns. I took this opportunity to write him back and tell him…

JD’s dad isn’t involved in his life. I wish I could peg this to being over-protective, but it’s actually because JD has been asked about his dad by strangers several times. Recently in the grocery store, the woman at the counter asked him if “Daddy was at work.” I distracted JD by shaking a box of orange Tic-Tacs in front of him (then purchasing them when he wouldn’t give them back). While on a Disney Cruise, the babysitting service asked for “Dad’s name,” for the list that would allow him to pick-up JD if I didn’t. “That’s OK, I’ll be back in a half hour,” I said. A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with an operator for Store.Nascar.com. I was ordering JD a t-shirt because he loves NASCAR (because he thinks it’s McQueen). The operator said, “Is Dad a fan too?” I was stunned, speechless, finally “yes,” tripped from my mouth, because I didn’t feel like explaining my life to a stranger. I thought saying “no,” would be rude. Sometimes I wonder if people get that parents die, that women are choice moms, that some kiddos have a mom and a mommy!

JD started a new school year last Monday and that meant new teachers. Even though the fact that his father doesn’t participate is in his file, I still told his teachers. When JD asks about his dad, I say: “You have a dad. He just lives in another place. Some kids live with just mom, or just dad. Your friend Katelyn lives with mom and dad, but Crissy lives with just his mommy, like you! Max & Ruby take care of each other and visit their Me-Ma (what JD calls my mom) a lot.” I think teachers, coaches and apparently everyone can easily expect that there is a mom and dad (and picket fence and dog) in the picture—so on my end, I try to be as proactive as possible. I blogged about my younger brother, Brian, attending the Father’s Day party at JD’s pre-school—JD is very lucky to have so many guys in his life! Those guys will surely be on the sidelines at his soccer games. 

My email to his coach was simple and light. “Hey Coach, just a quick note. JD’s dad isn’t involved at all, so please don’t bring up dad to him. Feel free to ask him about his awesome mom, ha! I’ll be at every practice and game with a large coffee in hand. See you soon! Thanks, Chrissy.”

Thing is, I don’t ignore his daddy questions or scoop him away when his friends’ dads show up at the park. But, I also have no reason to bring him up on my own. I mean, JD just turned 3 and the day CAME AND WENT in his father’s life (every year I think, a card will come, the phone will ring). For now, I’m open, easy and simple, but I’m also smart. Check out Single Parenting 101 to hear from a teacher on how she handles modern families in her classroom.

Do you let your child’s teacher and coach know about an absent parent? Have you ever been in a situation where a stranger asked your child about an absent parent? How did you handle it? XO

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