Things have been a little tense around the old homestead lately. You see, among other university-related assignments, DD is writing her thesis.
First of all, allow me A Proud Mom Moment: DD is a very strong student. She was identified as gifted while still in elementary school, and while anything to do with languages appears to be her forte, she loves writing the best. She pretty much aced high school, and has been on the Dean’s List or equivalent ever since entering the halls of higher education.
Now back to reality: DD is also a procrastinator. She starts a project or paper just fine, with an outline and time plan in mind, but then she doesn’t follow through. Because she is such a great writer, so far she has been able to, as she puts it, virtually “pull papers out of her ass” the night before.
But now, with a thesis rough draft deadline looming, DD is not feeling so blasé about her abilities. DD is anxious. DD is feeling the pressure. DD is stressed-out. DD is a pain in the ass.
I don’t know how to help her. Sometimes when she is shouting and in tears, I shout back. Sometimes I try to listen sympathetically. Sometimes I try to help her make yet another plan for managing her time, and I hope that this time it’ll work, that she’ll finish the damn paper on time, and that it’ll be a A paper. Sometimes I try to monitor her as closely as I dare, asking her every hour or so what exactly she is working on and how it’s going. Sometimes I leave her alone.
Sometimes I just want to tell her that she has only herself to blame for leaving everything to the last minute, but I stop myself, because not only is that completely unhelpful, she already knows it.
And sometimes I look at myself and wonder how did I become this involved in her education, anyway? Yes, of course I want her to do well, but since she’s the one who actually has to do the work, why do I bother at all? She’s 21 years old, not 12, so why do I feel the need to supervise her so much? My parents certainly weren’t all over me when I was in university, so it’s not like I’m conforming to a pattern I already know. And it’s not about the money, either: “This is costing your dad and I big bucks, sunshine, so you better make it worth our while, or you’re outta here!” No, not that.
DD is an only child, so have I bought into that whole stereotypic scenario whereby I invest EVERYTHING into that one child with no room for error? I sure hope not! Have I somehow finally succumbed to the whole helicopter parent thing? I doubt it, but I suppose anything is possible. Or is it just that I cannot bear to see my own daughter in such a state that I will do almost anything (short of writing the thesis myself, of course) to help her get back to her normal, sunny self?
I have no answers. But I will heave a huge sigh of relief in another week or so, when the rough draft of the thesis is done. And I’ll batten down the hatches for the writing of the final version and the oral defense later in the spring!