Ahhhhhh the back to school season is upon us. There's so much to look forward to, and so much to fret over. Whether you're a first timer, or a seasoned vet at the drop off game, there are some feels on that first day!
This year we have a second grader, and a kindergartner. Basically, we belong in the lightly seasoned, and fresh newb category. We are lucky in that our kids are excited about school, they are both eager learners, and they have great friends already. I'm as proud as the day is long. I'm excited for all they look forward to seeing and doing and learning over the next school year. Hell yes, little dudes. LET'S DO THIS!
Here's the thing though… NONE of those things could be said about myself when I was in grade school. I literally can not relate to them right now. I was a tomboy, I was awkward, very timid at times, I didn't always speak the language, and I bounced around just enough to never quite feel my footing. Now that I think on it, I'm exactly the same at 33 as I was at 5.
I think as parents, we all want our kids to know we have their backs and that we love them. We constantly wonder whether we are fucking them up, if we have done all we could with what we have, and if they know no matter the challenges they face, we will be there. When the time comes to get them out into the world, we begin to consider all of these things 10 fold.
Welcome back to school, everyone. All of those thoughts and insecurities might be rearing their ugly heads. As a punk rock parent, I feels it. You might look back at your school days and hope and pray your kids experience it differently. Don't be afraid to get in there and get your hands dirty.
I'm lucky enough to get to stay at home with my kids, and, I believe that to whom much is given, much is expected. After leaving our schools orientations this year, I'm scratching my head. Did I really just sign up for room mom x2 and PTA? What the fuck have I done? I'm the kind of parent who says “what the fuck have I done”...
I'm not the mom who cuts sandwiches into fun shapes, or has a cute cuddly craft lined up every week. I don't even like to talk to other grown ups. Throw me in a room full of your standard PTA moms, and you will find a visibly uncomfortable version of myself. Ahhh fuck it.
This is well beyond my comfort zone. But you know what? This is not the first time I have done this. My husband is constantly reminding me to be careful what I sign up for. And I never listen. WHY!
I may not be all of those things the other moms are. I don't show up to the car line looking fresh every day. But I'm there! 99% of the time in the clothes I slept in, coffee spilled in my lap, hasn't been washed in 4 days top knott. I'm not a pinterest mom. I'm a pinterest fail, why don't we just find it on etsy, mom. I'm not a bake sale mom. I don't even really like sweets all that much. But I am available. Fake it till you make it, I always say.
At the end of the day, it's important to me that the kids have as good of a school experience as we can muster. It matters to me to show them that if school is important enough for me to be actively involved, it is for them to be too. So I begrudgingly sign up for everything they will allow me to, and I usually end up enjoying it as much as the kids do.
Here is my message to other parents getting ready to send their kiddos back this school year: show up. Just show up. In whatever way you can, no matter how big or small. Especially if you feel like you look different, act different, or have a different lifestyle from the other parents. Fuck em. You are not there for them. Wear your (P.G.) band shirt to read to your kids class if you want to. Let them ask about your tattoos or your hair. They will appreciate it more than you know. One day they will find themselves feeling a little different, and they just might look back at you as a positive example. If you feel like “Karen” is looking at you sideways, just smile and nod and know that her kid eats boogers, and french fries off of the mini van floor just the same. We're all in it together. Even if your pandora station is wildly different. We all love our kids and want the best for them. If we expect for them to be brave, we have to be brave too.