Can Dad be trusted to take notes on curriculum night?

My husband is a professional journalist who has been trusted for almost 20 years by the largest news-gathering organization in the world to witness, report and edit the news. He’s covered presidential elections, Supreme Court nominee hearings, hurricanes, executions and the Olympics.

However, can I trust him to take notes for me on first-grade curriculum night?

Our school holds curriculum night at the same time for all grades. This makes it difficult for parents who have kids in different grades. A lot of schools offer two or more sessions so parents can be sure to make it each class. I’m sure this is time-consuming and repetitive for the teachers, but really nice for the parents.

So how can I be in two classes on once? How can I learn how third grade works and learn how Walsh’s teacher will handle her class, as well as let the parents in Walsh’s class know that I need a partner to be room mom with me?

Since we kind of know how first grade works, my plan is to send my B-string (my husband) to the first-grade class to represent and take notes for me, and I will attend the third grade meeting, since we don’t know anything about that class.

He’s “taken notes” for me before at other events and has come home with literally a blank sheet of paper and said it wasn’t very informative. If they spent two hours talking to you, surely there was something said important.

I know he can take quality notes – so far he’s never been sued for libel. However, he doesn’t seem to have an eye for the details a mother wants.

Is this a Michael thing or a man thing? Do men not interpret and perceive information the same as women? Is this a sex thing or a work-outside the home thing? Are they so consumed with business affairs that this seems like small potatoes to them so the details are inconsequential?

Do some men feel that way about their wives?

Last year Michael was out of town so I sent my mother to the kindergarten class, and she did an excellent job. She came home with multiple pages of notes and hit all the details I would want and need to know.  (I don’t want to hassle my mother this year with my brother still in the ICU!)

Just so Michael is clear, these are the details I need to know: What the kids will be covering, how the homework will be assigned and graded, when is the homework due, how the discipline in the class will work, how the class will operate  (will that have centers)? How will they challenge kids who are ahead in some facets?

UPDATE TO THIS STORY: After I finished writing this blog, I sat down to read through the newsletter from the school and for the first time in four years, they are holding the K through 2 curriculum night on a different night so I CAN attend both sessions personally! What a relief!

Despite this revelation, I still feel like this blog is relevant because I’ve had to send Michael before and will have to send him again. I really do want to know if this is a control thing on my part or do men just not perceive the information in the same manner as women?

69 comments Add your comment


August 17th, 2009
5:11 pm

@ Theresa—even when we agree with Michael (and I think my first every blog entry was to tell you he was right—LOL) we still love you and want you guys to be happy!

New Step Mom

August 17th, 2009
5:33 pm

Theresa, don’t beat yourself up oo bad over the “control” issues. I have found in my very young marriage where I went from single girl with a dog to wife with a 10yo step child that there are some things that I need to either control of or have a lot of organization from the entire family or they do not get done. I am not talking about silly things, but things like bill paying and laundry.

I think those of us who come off as “controlling” are those who have husbands who travel extensively, have husbands who are not as inclined to do household chores or we just generally want less chaos in the home and we are able to organize or develop systems to accomplish that. It sounds like you and your husband communicate and he allows you to have a few areas of control and he has his areas of expertise. That is the way we work as well and it does just that…works.

I don’t think anyone can reasonably judge anyone’s marriage based on a blog. We see pieces of it but not the whole picture. JMHO


August 17th, 2009
5:56 pm

@new step mom….AMEN to your last paragraph.

I travel extensively and I am the still the one who plans ahead and generally holds things together here…what is wrong with that picture? I try to give things up and no one will take them up….haha!

Case in point, I keep LARGE packages of toilet paper, tissue, paper towels and napkins on a shelf in the garage so we rarely run out. One summer, I was out for a week and came home to find the JUMBO pkg. of toilet paper in my front foyer. I asked, “what is this doing here?’ Answer, “it is easier for us to get toilet paper when it is here and not in the garage…” right!

EVERYONE….a tip I shared with my son….watch out for those girls who have ALL that stuff in JJ’s post or the girl in Becky’s post whose mom is attached to her…IMHO you do NOT want to marry this kind of girl or you will be in the midst providing all that stuff and/or stuck with the the mom who cannot let go of her daughter and calls her 5 times every day for the rest of her life.

@ Becky….would you want your son to marry that girl????


August 17th, 2009
6:03 pm

I was the parent at curriculum night, but when my son was in the 3rd grade, I was on crutches with my foot in a non-walking cast. My husband went in my place, and then just about every year after that. Some years, we went together, but I don’t recall going to any alone after that. The teachers passed out agendas, etc., and were so accessible via email that I did never worried about notes, except that first time. Never had any issues or missed projects, etc., and somehow, I still wound up being on the volunteer lists and even room mom 2x. My husband did the school shopping that year, too. Did not find the bargains I would have, but he got the job done. He realized too late that since he had done such a fine job, I gladly let him takeover both, forever. I did do the dorm room shopping with my son, though.


August 17th, 2009
6:24 pm

Since I have two boys who were a grade apart, it was a given that both my ex (husband at the time) and myself would attend what was/is called in South Fla “Open House” night. Never had any issues and trusted my ex to ask the same questions I did; in fact, he was probably better at it than me. So in my case, it was never mom versus dad, it was always a team effort. And Michael is right, most school meetings ARE inefficient :)


August 17th, 2009
6:28 pm

JJ…smart move to tell your girl to make friends with the 36inch TV boys :) My youngest just graduated from FSU in May with his degree in chemical engineering and entered the US Navy’s OCS in Newport; when all is said & done he will be a nuclear engineer. I didn’t cry when he went away to school but i SURE DID when he entered OCS/basic training :)


August 17th, 2009
6:58 pm

control freak?….insecure, overbearing, loser?

yea, thats more like it.

Tired of the same 7 people combining to produce 30 comments per stagnant topic, the hyphenate that claims to be both working mom and SAHM depending on whats cool at the time has decided to revert to dragging her old classics back into the fray; Men are dumb, SAHM vs. working moms, school volunteering; how much?, my kids are smarter than yours and I’ll cleverly imbed within the column reasons why I think that, How i’m too good to obey the watering restrictions, and many, many more (unfortunately) of her old, tired classics.

this paper is done!


August 17th, 2009
7:13 pm

@ karma….Math is not my strong point here but I am counting over 20 different posters today…

@ BlondeHoney ( are you joking) and JJ….the $9000 you are spending on college may not be cost effective if the 36 inch TV becomes a priority in the boy’s dorm room. The HOPE scholarship is hard to keep with distractions….I saw it happen. Perhaps I am the only one who thinks this way and that is o.k. Just an old fashioned opinion.


August 17th, 2009
7:21 pm

@ blonde honey….ooops my last post today….CONGRATS ON YOUR SON…from mom who is also proud of her son ( I will not mention why as some are sick of it), I know how proud you must be. YOU DID GOOD!


August 17th, 2009
8:05 pm

@mjg THANK you SO so much…yes i am BURSTING with pride …& I know why you are proud of your boy & you have EVERY reason to be proud too :)


August 17th, 2009
9:02 pm

i had to go to all the school functions myself because my kids deadbeats dads didnt give a crap!! there were many times i wished there was someone to share the load…especially when i needed to be in 2 or 3 places at once…like ball games when their games were at different fields…etc..

my daughter starts college thursday…she is living with friends near the college so there wont be any moving day here..thank god!!! i couldnt beleive how expensive it was gonna be for her to be a boarder…i was looking forward to it til i realized all that lol…i am dreading how much her books are gonna cost…she gets those tomorrow so im sure thatll be a shocker day…hopefully she can get used ones…and she will be in an RN program so im thinking they will not change books often…when i was getting my computer degrees the books changed constantly so i rarely got to get used ones….she exempted out of some basic courses so those she will not have to get…i expect any medical books will be out of this world expensive…will let you know tomorrow…jj…enjoy your freedom…im missing my girl a lot!!! even tho shes close enough to see her fairly often..its not the same as her right here with me!! :(…of course shes loving it!!

jeff….good luck with the adoption proceedings…i have many freinds who adopted and it has been wonderful…there are so many children and babies who need great loving parents…i myself was adopted by my dad (man my mom married) and i never knew the difference until i was a teenager and they decided to tell me…i have a step daughter who i never officially adopted but i love her like she is my own…so good luck and let t ask all the questions she needs should have some too lol…

theresa…i think you are a control freak but i dont know many moms who arent..especially ones who have it all on their own all of lots of the time…its just how we are lol if michael is ok with what you say…then dont worry about what anyone else says…i wouldnt call him the ‘b-team’ tho…that was kinda not right….

Chief Wiggum

August 18th, 2009
1:18 am

I rarely, if ever, comment here, but as a guy, this DOES come across as obsessive-compulsive and controlling. I’m always the one to do the curriculum nights, and I do NOT take notes. I receive handouts, and make mental notes of what I need to know. And…I am one who can take copius notes in meetings, page after page after page. Simply, what is said in these curriculum nights is NOT earth-shattering, and it may shock the author of this column, but your kiddies would not suffer if neither parent went to the curriculum night. Really. Seriously.

If there is something you HAVE to know, it’ll get sent home on a handout that night. Seriously, lighten up! What…specifically…do you think you need to bring home from that night, that will materially affect the education your children will receive? Maybe I am jaded, as my daughter makes almost straight A’s (I can see some helicopter parents already cringing at the thought that little Johnny or Jane would make a…gasp….a B!!), and is in her county’s version of the gifted program, and reads at the high-school level (in the 5th grade). My daughter is very self-directed, and does not need me standing over her 24-7 telling her what to do.


August 18th, 2009
6:49 am

I was the first to post yesterday, and I appreciate just about everyone supporting my theory about this topic! And, yes, Theresa, we still love you – even with your faults that you do not mind putting out here every day!


August 18th, 2009
8:36 am

DB, I ask the same thing..Said they had to wait on others in the apt. building to move in also..Plus they had to take her grocery shopping..Basically a bunch of blah blah..I mean the girl is 19 and still calls her Mother every day to tell her what she is wearing to class that day..

MJG, in answer to your question…NO..I would not want my son to marry a girl like this..

BlondeHoney…Congrats on your son..That is reason to be very proud..

karma..Glad that you could join our boring, non important BS club..So when you think of something worth talking about, just let us know..


August 18th, 2009
9:50 am

It’s not a man thing. It’s a controlling thing. I am a male and I make sure that I go to every school function because my wife never gets the information that I desire. She takes things at face value and never digs deeper so I find myself emailing the teacher with the questions I need answered.

Like many on this blog have observed you are very controlling and so am I.


August 18th, 2009
11:04 am


Once you adopt a baby or child, get ready for one of your own!! :-) I know first hand that a couple I know were told for 10 years they could not have kids. They became foster parents, adopted 2 sisters from the same family, and when they signed the adoption papers in Jan., their daughter was born at the end of the year. :-)


August 19th, 2009
9:54 am

It’s elementary school. You parents need to back off. Chances are your kid will not be a genius or a soccer star and just a faceless drone in some office.
Let it go…


August 26th, 2009
12:24 pm

Teachers are usually prepared individuals that know that not all parents will bring a notebook to take notes. All of ours have provided handouts that described everything that would happen. Don’t try to control things that are not important, this is the opportunity for your child to take some responsibility on his own. Teachers understand this.


August 26th, 2009
5:10 pm

Please this is silly and very condescending of the fathers. I raised – for the most part – both of my kids. I was the one that got up with the babies and did the feedings, went to the school functions was at there practices and games while schedule my retail job around them. I don’t think I went to more than one or two parent teachers meeting. I did the grocery shopping and cooking. The oldest graduated from GT with highest honors and the youngest has decided that college isn’t for him but is becoming very proficient at what he does so they are both success. Wink with an attitude like that’s your already condemning your kids to achieve such lofty goals.