As I sit and write this, my 5 year old is playing with her tablet, my 3 year old, is “click-clacking” around with a blanket as a cape and felt crown on her head and my 1 year old is walking drunkenly around the lounge room (she only started on her pins over Christmas).
Here is my thought for today…
This year I am going to be a school mum. It is my first time around and I will not lie and say that the anxiety has not been creeping up since my eldest finished her last day at Kindy. I was in denial when I picked up the enrolment pack back in October. But the anxiety that began as a dull ache deep in my stomach started heading for the surface when we had the Prep orientation day. It rose further when we ordered uniforms. It edged even higher when I received the note in the mail at the end of the 2014 school year stating what teacher we had. And now it’s January. In 27 days, I will be a school mum and I shed a little tear whenever I think about it.
What if I don’t like my teacher? How am I going to carry all of my books? What if I’m not as smart as the other kids? Will my friends still be my friends or will they find someone else to play with? How will I fit my homework in with all of the other things I want to do in the afternoon?
Sorry…for a moment there, I felt like I was the one starting school again. But a part of me feels like I am. And I am just not ready yet!
I was sheltered when my daughter was at Kindy because she was a bus kid and I worked on the days that she attended, so I hardly ever completed drop offs or pick ups. Hell, even as late as December, I still had to check with my 5 year old about the drop off routine because I was so out of the loop. It was nice, though, to not have to worry about who (ie mums) was friends with whom and who was talking (or not talking) to whom. I could walk in and just say hello to everyone without worrying about cliques because I was a clique of one (the coolest clique going around if you ask me).
School Mum Cliques
But it will be different at School. I have decided to take leave from my teaching position to focus on being a school mum for a while so I want to do the volunteering stuff like reading groups and Tuckshop. What if I ostracise myself because I talk to the wrong person? As an outsider looking in, School Mum Cliques seem as though they can be meaner than a group of teenage girls at a school dance eyeing of the hottest boy in the cohort. I want to be able to maintain my mantra of “everyone deserves at least a smile hello” without being sucked into the vortex of School Mum Groups. I’m not ready to face it yet.
And how AM I going to fit homework into my already packed afternoon? By the time I pick my daughter off of the bus and drive the 20kms home again, it is close to 4. This is the time that I get a lot of my chores done – dinner cooked; washing folded and put away; toys packed up; animals fed; some sort of exercise; children bathed. Am I going to have to say goodbye to my nana nap after lunch and be more organised? I’m not ready for that.
What about the never ending school lunches? I used to breathe a sigh of relief on Tuesday because I knew that I didn’t have to pack a lunchbox the next day – Kindy was over for another week. Now I am going to have to pack lunch 5 DAYS A WEEK! And they have to be healthy. I can’t just throw a whole heap of packaged foods into the box and call it a day. I have to make things! I better suss out the Tuckshop opening hours and menu. I’m just not ready for this.
Teacher vs Teacher
And what if the teacher really doesn’t like me? I don’t want to sound conceited, but I am a teacher myself. What if I come across as a know-it-all and it reflects badly on my daughter. I really want to come across as a help and not a hindrance. What if I can’t hold back? I am a high school teacher and we are a different breed to primary. What if this is a problem? I remember going into my pre-admission interview at a private hospital before I had my daughter and after hearing that I am a teacher; the midwife turned her nose up at me. Apparently, the midwives at this hospital are not fans of pregnant teachers because we try to run the show. I told the midwife that my birth plan was to get the baby out with whatever pain medication available. This only seemed to mollify her a little. What if primary teachers have this prejudiced view of us high schoolers? I’m not ready, I tell you!
I’m losing my baby
I suppose my main concern is that I lose control. I am no longer going to be seen as the omnipresent demigod in my daughter’s life. I tell her all the time that mum knows everything and she is about to find out that I am a liar (I do suspect she already knows the truth on this one but at least, in her eyes, I still know more than her dad).
For four years, I knew everything that went on in her life. I knew what she ate, when she ate it and how much. I knew who she played with, what she played with and how she played with it. I even knew when her bowel movements were and their consistency. Now she is 5, she can make her own lunch and select her own choice of smoko item from the pantry. I have to ask her about who she played with at Kindy and what games they played (every night, same answer – “We played mummies and daddies”. What sort of information is that??). And she no longer announces when she has to (or has done) a poo. When she starts school, I’ll lose even more control over her life.
For five years, she has been my baby. Those five years seem to have gone by so quickly (yet it seems she has been with us forever). If those five years flew, after another five she’ll be 10. Then she will only be a couple of years away from boarding school. And that is when all hell breaks loose. Soon she’ll be lying to me about where she’s going out on leave, who that boy was that left the funny message on our answering machine and I’ll have no control whatsoever on what she eats, where she shops and how much TV she watches.
And the next thing you know, I’ll be going to her school formal and she won’t be coming home for school holidays anymore. I am JUST NOT READY!
Sniff. Just give me a minute. Sniff. I need a tissue…