Ahhh, the beginning of a new school year! This time Arielle is in second grade and Zavier is in kindergarten and they started last Wednesday. Look at these cuties!
We were so ready for this. We checked off most of the items off their summer bucket list, went school supply shopping, and stepped up their style with new school shoes. I even took them to the open house night to meet their teachers and get a first glimpse of their upcoming classroom surroundings.
So the first three days were a success! No tears for Zavier as he embarked on his first day as an elementary school kid. No tears from me, either. I do find these milestones bittersweet. But instead of feeling sad that my baby is growing up – I was more proud of myself that we got him there on time and that we found his desk. I was also comforted by the fact that Arielle and Zavier are in the same building so Arielle could walk him to class every morning.
I’m still feeling my way through this motherhood thing. I’ve gotten pretty good with knowing my mommy style for infants and toddlers. I prefer natural, no pain medication labor and delivery. I breastfeed exclusively. I co-sleep. I babywear. I love to cook for them when I can. As much as I’ve tried to hold back my ambition for my career, I’ve realized that just can’t because I have an active mind and I love learning. I’m blessed to be able to provide for my family. I pride myself for being a working mom, but that comes along with a whole lot of guilt. But I’ve acknowledged this and I’m learning to deal with it.
When it comes to my style for being a school mom, it’s an entirely different story. I basically suck at being a school mom. I’m four years into it (since Arielle was in preschool and now she’s in 2nd grade), and every year I’m realizing that it’s just not my thing.
I had all these ambitions to be in the PTA and volunteer to help in the classroom and field trips. Nope and nope because my work schedule doesn’t allow for that. I once had lofty goals to make friends with the other moms and have play dates. Again, nope and nope because I’m socially awkward. I would buy calendars and planners and keep up with all the homework assignments and activities, but I would somehow manage to send my kids off to school without “funky socks” during spirit week. Which is ironic because I’m a Strategic Planning Manager, but I cannot plan for my kids’ school schedules for the life of me.
The amount of paperwork that the teachers send home with the children is overwhelming. The homework doesn’t make any sense. Last time I checked, 7+5=12 and that was that. Now it’s 7+3=10+2=12 and all is not right in the world. Or a least with common core math. Homework also requires a lot of glue, crayons and scissors. I stocked up this year on school supplies for the home, but by week two – they will be missing and I will be screaming my head off. I have no patience for school projects that require anything more than a #2 pencil and eraser.
Last year, I was so overwhelmed with my new job that I took myself out of the school mom role completely. This includes packing lunch, getting them ready for school, drop-off and pick-up, and homework. Zero involvement. I left it up to my husband to fill the “school mom” role and my parents were there for support as well. It made me feel crummy, but it was the best thing for my sanity.
This year, I really want to be involved. I really do. But I need to set my expectations very low and make their school stuff part of my daily routine. So far, I’ve been packing their lunch everyday, getting them ready for school and dropping them off the morning. It’s been 3 days and we’re off to some good habits. The homework hasn’t kicked in yet, but my husband agreed to take that on since he’s with them in the afternoons.
I’m not going to be a PTA mom or a volunteer. I threw those request forms right in the trash. I know I won’t have time for it and I immediately felt the weight lifted off my shoulders when I admitted that it’s just not something I’m going to even try to commit myself to. I’ll just take it one week, one day at a time.
The start of the new school year is a big step for the kids for sure, but they are resilient, flexible and adapt to change well. It’s more of an adjustment for me to understand my role and limitations of being a school mom. It’s one of the many hats that I have to wear…this one doesn’t fit me very well. So even with these lower expectations, I really hope I don’t suck this year at being a school mom.
Cheers to another school year!