Back to school!! How does that phrase make you feel? I’m sure it starts with excitement when you start seeing Target ads for school supplies and snazzy outfits for your mini-me, say, mid-July. Then, August starts to roll around, and you get the reminder emails for Meet the Teacher Night & that glorious feeling of anxiety kicks in. Shit, it’s already here!!!! God, I hope my two year old, who I just potty trained for the purpose of going to school, doesn’t piss everywhere on the first day! What’s the teacher like? Ohhhh, what will the other kids be like? And what about the other moms?!
The FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL arrives. You try to remember all the paperwork, change of clothes for the inevitable accident, emergency stash and anything else these crazy people are asking for…it’s preschool, come one. Anywho, there’s that mixed feeling of excitement and fear. I mean hell, you are sending your baby off to be surrounded by other like-minded little people, and you’re leaving them in the care of someone they don’t know. How hard could it possibly be? Maybe I should have thought more about that question, because damn…it got real really quick. Kids screaming, crying and even vomiting just to go home. I about want to break out my hazmat suit for my baby girl.
Picture this…. bushes, my face and eyeballs peeking through to be that creepy mom spying on my baby making sure no little people are being mean and that she’s not freaking out looking for the nearest exit.
I’ve taught my kids well…find the exit sign in case of an emergency. To them, this may qualify as an emergency…MY MOM IS MISSING!!!!
Once the fear subsides, the truth starts to set in. There they stand, alone, observing and soaking it up. Cue the first tears. Mine of course. It’s hard realizing not every kid is going to want to play with your child, but I know it’s a part of making them that much stronger. This entire process is to help create good human beings, so they are able to stand alone on their own two mini feet.
Speaking of being strong and able to stand on your own two feet… Watching other parents gracefully send their kid off while I’m still trying to pull mine off my leg is pretty priceless if you’re looking for a good laugh. And, I know we’ve all been there, but seeing those moms who appear to have all of their shit together make me feel like I am attempting this parenting thing for the first time. Then, on occasion, something beautiful happens. No matter what is presented in our environment, something raw will always break through. It’s basic human nature. Suddenly, I see her from across the play yard. It’s like love at first site. The mom that looks like me and probably feels like me, too. Shit…I’m not alone!!!
It’s in these moments that we as MOMS must reach out and remind one another that we got this. Finding other mom forces to stand with you in the back to school battle makes it all the more bearable and exciting. I remember one mom talking to me about my Frankie having left school after being diagnosed. Her daughter had been in the same class two years ago and she told me how she thought of us often and was so excited to see us again. Now our middle girls were in the same class and who knew it…. we both have one year old girls, too!!
Two moms, overwhelmed with three girls, brought to this moment together for a purpose. A quick conversation of stories, mamahood and sharing the difficulties of this mom life made our days. We exchange numbers with a commitment to share a glass of wine over the phone or grab a coffee together. It’s these little breaks that help make us better moms the next minute, hour or day.
So, to all of you moms sharing the whirlwind of back to school, I feel you…all the good and all the bad. Whether it’s preschool, kinder, middle school or high school, try to make yourself known to your fellow moms. Show them your raw side. Show them you are human. Show them you are another struggling mom and go grab that coffee or wine together. It’s not a damn competition, and it should never feel like one. Yeah, I may look awesome one day, but the next you may smell my morning breath, covered by coffee. But, hell, at least I got them to school. And that’s all that matters, right?