Last week Kate, who is a senior in high school, begged me for a day off, claiming she needed a “mental health day.” Is that a 21st century term, or what?
But I get it. It’s been gray and cloudy for what feels like months now. She’s tired of school—she says they do nothing all day long. In fact, on Friday her gym teacher told the class to get a yoga mat out of the closet and then to lie down and take a nap. Kate claims that every Friday is now going to be “nap day” in gym class.
(Her dad would argue that if she gets a nap every Friday that is a mental health day. But I digress.)
Knowing that her dad was going to be out of town for a few days and her mom would probably be tired, Kate seized the opportunity and asked me for a day off. I must have been in a weakened state of mind because I did something I rarely do—I asked for the opinions of others. I’m usually pretty decisive, but that day I decided to throw Kate’s question out to my Facebook friends.
“Taking a poll. Should I let my daughter with senioritis have a mental health day? Comment below.”
And 28 of my most opinionated friends came back with various forms of “yes!” . . . except for Kate’s dad who came back with an adamant, “No!”
Also, some of my friends were concerned about the lying issue--would I lie to get my child out of school? Let me be clear (that usually gets the nation's attention, doesn't it?) . . . I will not lie to get my child out of school. Enough said.
Since Kate's dad was out of town, I was left to make the decision.
So I did.
Here’s the way I see it. Kate has already been accepted into her first-choice college. She’s pretty much a straight-A student. She holds down a part-time job. She tutors kids in the city once a week. She’s active in her youth group. The girl is busy. She works hard. And she’s a good . . . no, a great . . . kid.
Mentally, she’s checked out of high school. I’m not sure if they’re really doing nothing until the end of the year (I’d like a tax refund if that’s the case)—especially since a few of her classes are AP classes and they should be getting ready for the tests that are coming up in May—but I’m sure things are probably winding down somewhat. And after Spring Break it will only get worse.
Does all that mean she deserves a mental health day? Probably not. Does anyone deserve such an indulgence?
But does it also mean that she doesn’t deserve it? Also, no.
So what’s a mom to do? What did this mom do?
I thought about it long and hard last week and came up with a compromise. I told her that I would allow her to choose one day—and one day ONLY—between now and the end of the school year as her “mental health day.” She can take it now if she wants, knowing that in two weeks she’ll have five mental health days in a row (Spring Break), or she can wait until the weather gets warmer and do something more fun on her day off.
She didn’t love my answer (I think a senior in high school would just like to call the shots herself, thankyouverymuch), but she accepted it graciously. I think she’s going to try to gut it out until Spring Break and then wait for a warmer, sunnier kind of day to take a mental health day. She’s already asked me if I’d take her into the city, and we all know that I can’t say no to my daughter.
I guess I’ll get a mental health day too.