Now, I’m A School Mom
Honestly, I hate writing personal posts because nobody ever reads them but I’ve been up to my teeth with stress and bullshit lately that not writing a personal post would mean that this site would become quite the ghost town, so here I am, trying to make this shitty update post a “mom blog post” about my reason for not being here, which is, truthfully this: My kid entered kindergarten. I’m a school mom now. In a pandemic, because OF COURSE!
I have a school-age child now, which did a number on my work-life balance. No longer just a working mom. I’m a school mom! And because of this change, I went from full-time work to part-time work, which in a way is nice but also means I make less money.
Anyway, because this is Canada and British Columbia at that, our Covid cases aren’t near bad enough to deem school a cancelled thing, and so my daughter got to experience her intro to school under very uncertain Covid-conditions. I was scared at first, but things seem to be handled well enough and cases haven’t risen as a result of school, so hey, I get to be a totally anxiety-ridden wreck of a millennial parent putting her kid in school in a very tumultuous time with prospects of an even more tumultuous future.
For a while, I was an absolute wreck thinking of climate change and disease and my daughter’s future job prospects. I couldn’t sleep, which didn’t work so well with my new routine.
The reality is that I have a good thing going. I have my parents. Sometimes it feels weird walking to school as a big group when everyone else is doing it solo. Sometimes I get insecure that I’m not doing things solo and I need like “mommy and daddy” to help me get through my day. The reality is that it takes a community to raise kids and I’m ridiculously beyond fortunate to have parents who are willing to help.
They like the walk in the morning. They like the exercise. They like spending time with their grandkids. I feel thankful that my daughter gets to wave to FOUR PEOPLE every time she leaves for school and then gets to run back to FOUR PEOPLE when she gets out of school. Family. Love. That’s what life is supposed to be about.
My sister and brother-in-law even picked up my kid this past Friday when my husband and I went out of town for a night to celebrate our 10 year anniversary (how has it been this long, what the hell!), so uh…yeah.
Lucky. Lucky. So damn lucky.
I’m sorry that I sound like a V.C. Andrews protagonist right now.
Work, (School Mom) Bitch
The major downside of being a working mom of a school-age child is that you NEVER GET TO SLEEP IN ANYMORE. You see, before, when I didn’t work, my 5-year-old would wake up and do whatever the hell she wanted until I felt like rolling my ass out of bed.
Now I get up at the “butthole of dawn” (my manager’s phrase, not mine!, though I wish I came up with it). I put my face half-on. Then I wake up my kid. I make her breakfast and get her to put together an outfit appropriate for the weather because she NEVER wears the right clothes for the weather and always comes downstairs in fucking shorts and a tank top when it’s frosty AF out there, or vice versa. THEN I put together my own Instagram-worthy outfit for work and THEN I wake up my son and throw some clothes on him.
THEN my parents come over to look after my son while I’m at work and we all walk uphill to the school together (because they like the exercise and the extra family time, I guess?), we drop off my daughter and then I RUN LIKE HELL to catch the bus to get to work on time.
I work 5 hours, run to catch the bus, get to the school, pick up the kid and head on home. Then my parents abandon me and I’m left to fend for myself until my husband comes home.
Is This “Self Care”?
I no longer have those late nights that the writer half of me thrived on to get work done. And I no longer have those small gaps in the day when my son is napping to churn out a blog post or two.
All I get now is a solo bath after dinner. “Self-care”. Which I do a pretty garbage job at, considering that I often spend those baths watching political commentary on the current political and economic hellscape that we’re all living in. Mostly I like to watch Kyle Kulinski because I think he’s hot and I think watching hot political commentators is like some kind of happy medium when it comes to consuming politics during bathtime, but geez.
I never get a lot of calm anymore. Any time to breathe a sigh of relief. No time to get my thoughts down.
AS I’M WRITING THIS AT 9PM on a school night, I just realized that I need to make my daughter’s stupid dumb lunch.
Boom. Carrots. Ritz crackers. A homemade Rice Krispie square. Orange juice. And meatballs. Because for some reason she likes plain old meatballs. Because they taste like meat.
When #MOMLIFE and #WRITERLIFE Collide Again!
I took to writing about this subject once before, but that was back when I was still on maternity leave. Now, well, I’m lucky if I have time to write. Now I often find myself so mentally bogged that I barely have any time to write once the kids are asleep, my husband goes to bed, it’s nearly 10PM and I have like…maybe an hour to write?
I can’t fucking write.
Because of the politics and the fact that my brain is torn in too many different directions. I do find myself slipping into moments of mental escape. I have found myself conjuring up stories with no time to write them. The ideas slip through all the mental cracks. I started writing some of them.
Some nights I even go a little manic and churn out a few thousand words or so. But then another clogged day hits and my momentum stalls. The breaks hit. The story sits in an open unsaved document. Waiting for me. Needing me to complete it.
I remember reading Tom Perotta’s Little Children in my late teens and connecting with the protagonist, Sarah, in the playground. Much like my spirit mom Sharon Morris in Catastrophe, she finds herself unable to really connect with the other parents. And yet, she engages in the gossip. She goes “back to high school” in a way, giving in to the banter, and even giving to the dare to hug the attractive dad across the yard.
And I won’t lie, being outside (because Covid, yo) waiting for my kid to get out of school and bantering with the other moms (because the dads basically keep to themselves, honestly) really gives me Little Children vibes. And not in a bad way.
It takes me back to being a kid in a way. That insecurity. That need to fit in? Not to mention that need to connect with the parents of the kids who will inevitably become my kid’s best friends, rivals, lovers? I remember being a kid myself, happy that my friends’ parents were friends, or so it seemed.
I try my best to bust out of my shell and talk. Mingle. Ask how the other parents are doing. It’s hard. I’m always second-guessing myself, thinking I’m always over-dressed. Thinking that I look pretentious AF. Thinking that I look as though I can’t handle shit with my parents though. I worry about everyyyyyything.
A little side-story:
The funny thing about this is that one of my old elementary school friends is now a mother who waits outside the school to pick up her son. I didn’t recognize her at first. She didn’t recognize me either. She recognized my parents.
I felt awful asking for a name to kickstart my memory. But holy shit, has this been so strange and eye-opening. She has a son my daughter’s age, and a daughter a could years older than my son. She lives down the street from me. Like me, she is also obsessed with Halloween and her yard is also jam-packed with spooky decorations.
We’ve talked of elementary school often. Of what we thought. Of the boys we dated. Of where our old friends have gone and achieved. I’ve enjoyed these weird nostalgic talks and the things I can pull from them, reconnecting with my old self while connecting that same me to my daughter’s current experiences.
Most of her school days are still pretty mundane in terms of the things that might come her way in school, but she still has Kindergarten trials and talks to me of them. I do my best to express empathy and suggest ways she can learn from her experiences, improve on herself, understand herself.
Intro to #SCHOOLMOMLIFE
And well, this is where I am. Recently a cold passed through a school. My daughter got it. Then my son did. And even though my immune system kicks ass, I got it pretty good.
Everything happens so fast.
Sometimes, like fiction, life is strange and connects (or reconnects) you with people you wouldn’t think of.
So that’s been the first month of my whole “school mom” experience. ONe thing I have loved most about it is the walks to school in the morning. Once winter hits it’s gonna be a real hit, but this week in particular has done a real number on my psyche in terms of feeling the fall experience.
When I went to work day after day, I didn’t have time to enjoy the gloomy fog, the crunchy leaves, the brisk air. This past week I had to call in sick at work for several days (because again, COVID) but because school mom life knows no bounds, I still gotta walk my kid to school. But now, walking to school, I feel like elementary school me gets to relive all that good fall shit. All because I’m a school mom.
See, there are some perks!
For those readers not in Canada, the sneaker picture on this header image is a reference to Terry Fox, a man who lost his leg to cancer and then ran the “Marathon of Hope” across Canada for cancer research in 1980. 2020 is the 50th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope.
Canadian students run their own small runs every September to honour Terry’s mission and raise money for cancer research. He’s one of the most inspiring Canadians in history and you can learn more about him and the Terry Fox Foundation as well.
I actually like your personal stuff best. Makes sense being your sister. My life is chaotic in a different way, but I also have minimal time for self care #whatsthat? I can imagine the weird pressure to fit in with other parents. Usually people look for someone who seems similar to them to connect with, and not many young moms dress like you. In my opinion, you’re badass and they probably get intimidated. Show them they don’t need to be. Tell them you like their umbrella or hat or jeggings (I know you dont). Women love getting compliments from other women.
I do my best to socialize. There are a few groups of moms who talk regularly but most of the parents still seem insecure, which gives off more of those “Little Children” vibes from the book. It’s an interesting dynamic.
I do my best to chat and compliment when I can. It’s tough when people always compliment ME first and then proceed to talk poorly about themselves immediately afterward. I don’t know why women do that so much. “Oh, I love your boots but I could NEVER pull them off. I just wear these trashy garbage boots all the time, hahahahahaha.”