My inbox was brightened last week by an entertaining post from Kirsty, over at ’20 suitcases, 4 kids and a beagle’, ruminating on the lack of performance indicators for parenting. But here’s where she may be misled – a Google search of ‘Parenting Performance Indicators’ led me to the Tennessee.gov website, which, it turns out has a family and parenting module. But my discovery may mean that I am exploring new depths of inadequacy, because not only am I not going to achieve the parenting outcomes, but I may not even have the qualifications to be accepted onto the course.
To be accepted, one must have already completed Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) or Personal, Academic and Career Excellence (PACE), so that pretty much leaves me out. So I’ve decided to go the self assessment route, and give evidence of my own performance in each of the areas, and hope that cuts muster.
Standard 1.0 Demonstrate leadership, citizenship, and teamwork skills required for success in the family, workplace and global community.
This may be problematic. My first foray into the Elementary School Community involved asking the New Parent Co-Chair if there would be alcohol served at the Welcome Breakfast, but at least I was showing enthusiasm and initiative. I also managed to forget to pick up my daughter on the second day of early release, (her tenth day of school) and turned up 20 minutes late to the courthouse tour with six unimpressed 5th graders in tow. I have, however, managed to keep a smile on my face through a two hour band, choir, and orchestra concert during which ‘Ode to Joy’ was murdered on six separate occasions.
Standard 2.0 Evaluate the significance of family and its impact on the wellbeing of individuals and society.
Each family member has a vital role to play. The father’s role in this case involves engaging in paid employment, with bonuses, performance reviews by mentors with constructive comments and recognition of achievements. The mother’s role is unpaid menial labor, with performance reports issued in shrill tones at loud volume by the minors, with sarcastic comments and constant recitation of failings. The role of the children can be seen as engaging in learning activities, demonstrating limited interest, sporadic effort and apparent surprise that any official feedback should be anything other than glowing. The effect on society in general varies widely according to the volume of the argument, and whether the children are old enough to start driving.
Standard 3.0 Evaluate the significance of commitment and the criteria for satisfying marital relationships.
Commitment is exhibited in the traipsing across three continents in 10 years, complete with kids, cats, dogs, significant amounts of luggage and an English saddle, while partner has proceeded ahead, is residing in 4 star hotels and has failed to do any sort of advance preparation beyond buying tea bags. The criteria for satisfying marital relationships can be seen as making it to the end of the day without resorting to murder as a method of conflict resolution.
Standard 4.0 Evaluate parenthood readiness, parenting decision and the impact of parenting roles and responsibilities on the wellbeing of individuals, families and society.
Development of parenting readiness can be demonstrated by the ability to shower daily without having to sacrifice sleep, food or car-pool obligations. Additional credit can be given for the days that hair is also blow-dried, make-up applied, and matching unstained clothing is worn. This has great implications for the local community, as local housing values were adversely affected by the disheveled appearance, road safety has improved now that the candidate is not sleep deprived, and educational standards are raised due to children making it to school. Additional credit is given for making it to school before morning break..
Standard 5.0 Examine career and occupational opportunities in the human services career pathway.
Candidate already demonstrates considerable ineptitude and lack of attention to detail, and therefore would be inappropriate for paid employment in the human services sector; however, credit should be given for her self awareness in recognition of this fact.
Standard 6.0 Analyze the role of communication within the family.
The role of communication is largely dependent on the presence of cellphones and ability to use and understand text speak. Should the ability to text be absent, communication is limited to a small number of words, including “I’m done”, “Can you pick me up” and “Can I have some money?”. Should cellphone access be withdrawn at any point, there is rapid communication breakdown, and the verbal or written forms are replaced by non-verbal eye rolling, door slamming, and facial grimacing.
Standard 7.0 Assess the management of multiple roles within the family, workplace and community.
The multiple roles can be listed as quartermaster, short order cook, laundry manager, taxi driver, personal shopper and stylist, housekeeper, educational assistant, social secretary, IT manager and therapist. These are traditionally managed in a task allocation manner, involving copious amounts of lists on various Post-it notes throughout the home and car. Primary responsibility for task completion falls to the maternal parent, with other family members ignoring any and all items on the list except those that pertain directly to them. The role of the other family members is to complete tasks issued at high pitched voice (paternal parent) or helpfully remind parents which crucial tasks are incomplete at the exact moment it is too late to do anything about it and the situation becomes critical. These tasks typically relate to school projects, college applications or high visibility volunteer activities, and provide the maximum public humiliation.
N.B. It should be noted that none of the Parenting Performance Indicators have a commencement or completion date, nor a list of criteria for grading, and therefore candidates must be assessed on a pass / fail basis, with expected failure rates running at approximately 85%. The those reporting success at above a 15% level require independent verification, as we strongly believe that they may be a) under the influence of intoxicating beverages b) blatantly lying.