Back To School

So, this week is Stinkerbelle’s first week back to school. And I have to say? Going back to school is hard.

No, not for her. The first morning she was all OKAY BYE MOM AND DAD SEE YA. It’s hard for ME.

The thing that’s hard about back to school time, for me, is that it’s just like I remember being back to school was like as a kid. There’s all this unknown, all this anxiety. It’s like being a fully grown up kid again.

On the plus side, she’s going to be in school for three mornings a week, plus swimming lessons and soccer on other afternoons. She’ll be busy and the extra learning and social time will be excellent for her developmental issues. And for me, it helps get back into a groove with work, finding decent blocks of time to work in and make some money. Which, being as we are what is basically a single-income household, is all helpful, and was very hard to manage over the summer when she was out and giving up napping and generally by my side every waking minute of the day. So getting ourselves settled into our routine for the next 8 months will be a good thing.

But like every change, it takes some time to get to that point.

Stinkerbelle has new teachers this year. She’s all FINE WHATEVS, but me? I’m all OH BUT I JUST GOT SO COMFORTABLE WITH THE OTHER ONES! And so, now, we have to get used to the new ways of doing things, and struggle through new levels of unfamiliarity when chatting with them, and wonder about expectations. Our school’s director and Stinkerbelle’s teacher last year, Mrs. Alison, decided on a career change and went to work for the school board, and her other teacher from last year, Mrs. Carolyn, has been there this week but it’s only temporary. We had grown to like them and were able to talk to them about anything, whereas now with her new teachers we are back to square one. They’re lovely, but there will still be that time where we figure things out.

And then, there’s the social anxiety of the school run. At our school, you arrive before class begins or lets out and wait until the teacher comes to the door and calls each child by name, while you sign them in or out. (A great security practice, I have to say.) So, this means there is probably a 10-ish minute wait as all the parents come and gather in the hallway, and it’s kind of like being in an elevator and not knowing where to look. Some parents know each other, and they chat, but until you get to know others, you Just. Stand. There.

Now, I am low on self-image. Plus, I’m the oldest mom by I don’t know how many years. So I stand there, feeling self-conscious because I am fat and badly dressed and old and all the Young Skinny Fashionable Moms are chatting amongst themselves. I tend to feel like that kid on the playground who always gets picked last for games. And there are some moms I do know from last year, and they’re from our neighbourhood, but they’re friends with a couple of the more vicious gossips on the street and one just flat out ignores me. So that feels a bit like being back with me mean girls in school again.

Also, back to school time brings out the neurotic in me. I have issues with making sure our kid is clean and nicely dressed and well-turned-out for school. I know it won’t last forever, but I want my kid to go to school bathed and clean and with clean sneakers and her hair done well and just generally looking nice. Not dressed up, by any means — although for the first day of school and little graduations/ceremonies ALL BETS ARE OFF — but dressed nicely. Anything I can do to help her feel good about herself and how she looks and fitting in, I think it’s important to do, until she tells me otherwise. I know it’s silly, but it was important to my parents that they sent me to school clean and neat and tidy, and I’m the same way. We may not have tons of money or the most expensive fashionable stuff, but she’ll always be clean and presentable and look nice.

So, she’s swanning back into a school she loves and ready to make friends with anyone who looks her way and winning over everyone she meets. Back to school time is FINE for her. It’s me who’s all bent out of shape.

I’m never going to survive until she’s in university.

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