Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sometimes I just want to be a parent

Forget my Saturday specialty classes. Right now, I'm generally ahead of the kids, and because of different things interrupting my weapons and board breaking class, they are almost pointless to go to them anymore. But wait...even when I just want to hang out and watch my kid in class, I can't. I'm pulled into service (working). At least in the last two days, that's happened.

When you work "behind the scenes" at a martial arts school, it's a different perspective than being an instructor, a student, or even a parent. You see the good, the bad, and the ugly of running such a business. I've taken some hits, and then some, and there's other times that there is a hum and flow to it all. Well, the last two days when Drew had class were not two of those days that had hum and flow. You see, when Drew has classes, I'm technically off the clock as far as work goes. Oh, I don't mind answering a question for one of the kids manning the front desk, but the last two days certainly pushed the limit.

Yesterday, the student who was manning the front desk was doing her homework, and generally slacking off doing what she was supposed to be doing. She did a few transactions, but what really ticked me off was that when the phone rang, she wouldn't answer it. The first time, she asked one of the instructors on the floor to answer it. WHAT? He's teaching! So I picked it up and took care of it. The second one, she recognized on the Caller ID (as had I, since by then I was back behind the desk) that it was SW's other school. I said, "It's probably Ma'am so go ahead and pick it up". She hemmed and hawed, so I picked up again. SW was surprised to hear me on the line, but her timing was good as I was trying to solve a crisis and was about to call her myself anyway. Where was RA during all this? On the floor. Where was his lead instructor who's there to help him? Late for work, with no warning that he was going to do that. So RA couldn't/wouldn't have handled the crisis because he was too preoccupied with instruction (when he had enough other people to help on the floor, but not anyone to help with the business end of things). To make a long story short, I saved the day with a parent who could've truly become disgruntled, and ended up staying at least a half hour later than when my son's class ended. Fortunately, he was being a good boy and generally staying out of trouble. So, I wrote SW an email with some of the details, and explained that what happened, with front desk not knowing how to pick up the phone and basic customer service skills, a chief instructor who is not pulling his weight like he should, it's no wonder we've heard comments that "things aren't the same anymore [without SW]". Yeah, no kidding! But I think it's that she would handle things in a crisis because she would be there so much before, and now she's hardly there. I'm only there during the day, so I can only do so much. What would have happened if my husband brought Drew to class last night instead of me? It could have been a disaster. So anyway, I wrote the note, being as diplomatic as I could, but still expressing my...well, disgust. As I said to her, I didn't like that I was just there to watch my kid, and I ended up working when I was off the clock! Then we had a near repeat. RA couldn't find the leadership application forms last night (which were RIGHT THERE on the desk in the folder which he asked me to make for him and saw me make it for him weeks ago), and a uniform order has to go in STAT.It was supposed to go in last night, but since I wasn't around nor SW, it sat for a day. :-S I tried calling SW, but she wasn't answering (she told me later that she was in the shower, as it was her day off so she slept in), so I just had to make an executive decision. In the middle of weapons class, I heard my cell phone ring with her special ring (ah, technology!) and we discussed the note and it turns out that I did the uniform order correctly. She is pissed at the student from last night, but I said it's not just that student. Even though there are some kids we know that can handle some situations better than others, we really should train or retrain EVERYONE (hinting at RA needing some help in this too) in basic customer service stuff, because I can't always be there. She was in total agreement with what I had to say, and she thanked me for what I did for the last two days, as she appreciated that I came to the rescue when the chips were down. You know, I doubt that I will get any extra compensation for my effort, but at least the thanks were a beginning. I should be compensated for that extra time, don't you think? SW would have lost about $700 in sales between last night and today if I hadn't been there. I will bet you that I might even bring in more in the next week, because of things I said to certain parents about calling me during the day once they make a decision about signing up for this or that, etc.

I do find that it's better if I don't watch Drew 100% of the time, as he can get distracted, and he needs to focus and pay attention to his instructors. I have no problem with that. But I would like to be just a parent, now and then, and see for myself how he's progressing and see how he is growing in his own pursuit. It's been a long and hard journey to get to the yellow belt that he's going to be getting in December. He's worked hard. He was only making half steps every other cycle before, and now he's making the half steps in belts every cycle. There are kids who started after him that are ahead in belts. I know he's bored but capable when he focuses, and I want to see the progress. Since all the instructors know me, and know that Drew can be a little bit of a handful, it helps that when they run into trouble, especially with the teens, sometimes I can tell them what might work with him, or that they have my permission to come down hard on him as they see fit (and believe me, I come down harder on him than any of them anytime). Today he had a meltdown at board breaking time. It just wasn't happening for him, and we all have days like that. I was in the office (:-S), and he came in and told me and said, "I QUIT!", and when questioning him, I just said that he was having a bad day, and it was okay, so he could just put his board back in his bag, and get his bahng-mah-ee out and wait patiently for the other children to finish. So that's what he did, and there weren't any noticible problems after that. But as a parent, instead I was in the office trying to work something out for someone,when it's technically my day off, and I wanted to take classes myself. I wish I could have been able to just sit back and watch my kid. Sometimes, I just want to be a parent.

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