I’m that school parent

I have these ideas of how the year will go every September when we send our kids to the first day of school. We’ll be on top of it! I have a calendar! I’m going to volunteer and bake cookies and be the classroom mom. PTA or PTO? I don’t even know what it’s called anymore – but I am going to sit in a chair on the board? Or is it …

Oh god. It’s May and I’m getting notes home from the teachers that we’ve missed eleven days of reading homework. We moved 3 times in the last 21 months and Jessica is supposed to memorize her address. If this isn’t messing things up for her, I’m not sure what is.

we have a home

via jodimichelle on flickr

I want to be involved and on top of the forest of papers that comes home – but not only do we have first grade memorabilia, we have preschool and day care too. And everyone has a book fair at the same time. It’s teacher appreciation week no matter where I drop them off and there are opportunities for cookies and muffins and popcorn parent volunteers.

Part of me wants to scream at the school because Are you fucking kidding me? I see the merit in homeschooling. When Jessica’s bored and we make noise, we get scolded for thinking that what she’s getting isn’t enough – but when we fall behind, even though she’s doing great and not falling behind, we get black booked as Those Parents.

And I own it. I am that parent this year. I probably was last year too. I just cannot get on top of this life, but now we have a place that I don’t have to pack up again – for ever. I don’t have to worry about where my dishes are going to live in a year. I don’t have to worry about school districts or neighborhoods, back yards and fences. I can stop being anxious about the unknown – because even though we still have all kinds of unknown; atleast it’s our unknown.

we have a home

via jodimichelle on flickr

My kids are happy and well adjusted. Jessica makes friends easily and is a star at school, I’m pretty sure. She gives us all the grief and attitude at home – which I’m thankful for, so that her experience at school is one of positive reinforcements and cultivating friendships and nurturing talents. She gets in the car after school and pretty much falls apart. It took us 9 months to figure out that doing homework on the way home was onebilliontimesohmygod better than forcing her to sit through it once we got home.

This is my first time as a parent through school. I don’t know all the rules; where I’m allowed to push back or expect better. I also don’t know where I’m allowed to fail, if at all. It doesn’t seem so. I wouldn’t have much grace for her school if I felt it was failing her, so I’m not sure why I expect the school to have grace for me – when I’m so obviously failing it.

I’m not writing this because I’m disappointed in our school experience this year. I love love love Jessica’s teachers – I’m not so sure the secretaries love hearing me call almost Every.Single.Day with a question that I’m sure was answered in one of the 18 pamphlets sent home from school – but I can’t find anything right now and I’m ok with being the dumb parent who has to call all the time.

I think I just expected more out of me. I wonder if they do, too.

Kids

via jodimichelle on flickr

But they didn’t get a mom who president of the committee who bakes cookies for every meeting/function/event. They didn’t get the mom who shuttles them around to Brownies and Girl Scouts, who signs up to coach their little league, or even offers them extra-circular activities on top of all our other responsibilities.

They got me and by some stroke of luck – I got them.

I think we’ll make it and hopefully by next year we’ll find a rhythm.

One thought on “I’m that school parent

  1. The truth is they didn’t get a LOT of moms who do all of that stuff. Like, 90%. There are some people that live for being a room parent. I have one in 2nd grade and one in Kindergarten so I speak with a few years of experience: just ask yourself if you are doing something that will benefit your KID, or the SCHOOL? If you can only answer yes to one of those questions and it’s not KID – don’t do it. That cuts down on most of the crap that in the end – matters not a bit.

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