Today my post is inspired by The White Trash Mom Handbook. Before you get offended and stop reading this post, hear me out…The White Trash Mom Handbook is the funny version of Queen Bees and Kingpin Dads and is needed by every parent once their child reaches preschool to help navigate the politics of school.
White Trash Mom Handbook, p. 5
Last year I was in a very different place. Little Miss Techie was a couple months into preschool and I was figuring out my place in her brand new world. I was secure in my role as a mom, but trying to figure out a way to be involved in the system. At the end of the year, I reflected on our first year in preschool by writing a post for DC Metro Moms called Finding My Way in Preschool. So much of what I wrote about is echoed in the above quote from White Trash Moms Handbook since I had to put on my big girl panties and jump right in.
Here’s my original post:
Today marked the end of my daughter’s first year in preschool. Although it was the last day of school, it began like all others. The door opened and she almost forgot to give me a kiss before running into her classroom with her friends. I think back to September when the same child clung to me crying that she didn’t want to go to school because she wanted to stay home and play with her brother. That child is long gone. She’s been replaced with one who is confident in her place in the school and her classroom. The year has been an amazing journey marked by growth and change. She’s learned so much from preschool and so have I.
Thinking back to September, there was a lot of school related anxiety in our house. We were new to the school and definitely the new family, having not participated in the previous year’s Parent-Toddler class like the rest of the families. We took every opportunity to get to know families and become part of the school community but it was clear that we were new. On the first day of school my daughter and I stood together, watching as the other parents and children greeted each other with warm smiles and big hugs after returning from summer vacation. There was no one to give us a big hug and tell us they missed us because they didn’t know us.
When all the other kids ran into their classrooms, she hung back, hesitating before breaking into tears. It broke my heart to see her cry and I learned that even though I wanted to cry with her, I had to be strong and tell her it would be ok. And eventually it was. Especially when there was chocolate waiting in the car for her at the end of the school day.
After three weeks of chocolate, she started to feel more comfortable about her place in the classroom. The tears at drop off disappeared and she was making friends. Each day she came home telling us who she played with and the imaginary delicacies concocted in the sand box. As she found her place in the classroom, I tried to figure out my place as a parent.
High school friends always used to joke that I would be the PTA president of my childs’ school when the time came. As the new mom I wasn’t looking to overthrow volunteer positions. I just wanted to get to know the other parents while finding my place in the school. It was the first time in a long time that I felt unsure of myself and where I fit in.
To learn more about the school’s inner workings, I started to attend monthly PTA-like meetings. At first I sat observing and listening, nervous about voicing my opinion in a room full of parents who had known each other for what seemed like forever. As I got to know the other parents, I became more confident and found my voice. It took a few months before I finally worked up the courage to volunteer for a small project with another mom from my daughter’s class. A couple months later I reluctantly agreed to coordinate the school’s silent auction. I may not have known what I was getting myself into but like my daughter, I jumped feet first into the unknown and started to find my place in the school.
As my daughter and I settled into the daily routine of school, playdates with new friends, and school related activities, the rest of the year became a blur until today. Today, like every day, I greeted my daughter at the playground fence with a big smile and ready for a hug. Confident and happy, my daughter ran through the gate and into my arms. We said goodbye to her teachers and hand in hand we walked to the car, reliving the events of her last day of school.
Suddenly she stopped and said, “Mommy, I’m sad today is my last day. I will miss coming to school.”
“Me too,” I replied. “But there’s always next year.”
And with that, she sighed and gave me a smile. That was when I knew we had found our place. Together.
Thanks to Michelle Lamar for a copy of The White Trash Mom Handbook. It is a book that every preschool parent needs to run out and buy right now if they want to successfully navigate the politics of preschool and beyond!
This post is dedicated to Amy for always putting on her big girl panties!
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama