My little girl started Grade 1 this year – I don’t know where the time has gone, but the first term is done and dusted and I am just left here catching my breath. With this being my very first “big school” mom experience, I had absolutely no idea what to expect – but I honestly did not expect it to be this damn hard.
I think back to that first morning, I squeezed her little hand as I navigated our way through the endless maze disguised as a school, and hugged her tighter than usual before I watched her walk into her classroom. I knew she was nervous to be at a new school with new faces, but her confidence floored me. I learn so much from her every single day. I’m glad she couldn’t see my tears from behind my sunglasses, because I was trying to be brave like her.
I try to be many things, but it is only the first term and already I felt like I was drowning – that I was completely messing up and that I was the only mom in the world that was not quite getting it.
Maybe I am just not as organized and sorted as I always thought I was? The juggling act was what ultimately drove me to resign from my full-time job and start my business – but I will chat more about that some other time. I just cannot seem to make the timeline work in my head… I used to start work at 7:25am in the morning, and I am assuming most parents start between then and 8:30am. School starts at 7:50am – so how is anyone ever on time? Mikayla has arrived to school late more times than I care to admit, hopefully that will change now.
Another thing I found extremely hard was that Mikayla needed to go to aftercare as I only finished work at 4:20pm. She had to make her way through the school grounds to the aftercare center and head of to her extra-murals by herself. She has developed a sense of independence that I was not quite ready for. In essence, she would be at school from 7:50am to 4:30pm – that is a long day for a little kid, but it was necessary. Then came the homework…. so much homework… so much repetitive homework. I really tried to just keep it together and show interest in the work she was doing, but after a long day at the office, having to sit and do an hour of grade 1 homework is not quite my idea of fun. And somehow you still need to cook supper, tidy the house, spend time with the other kid, bath them, read bedtime stories, pack lunches for the next day and spend quality time together. How do people make this work?? How do you manage to get it all done without burning out from exhaustion?
Keeping up with school aged children’s schedules / homework / calendars / sporting events / class parties and PTA meetings…is like living another life. On top of the life you’re already living. So just when you thought you were a pretty “on top of it” mom? You know, that mom that just does it all? BAM…life serves you primary school and you now have 800 extra responsibilities that no one warned you about.
(Either that or they warned you and you never listened. Which is probably the case with me.)
I spent the entire first term feeling awful about my abilities to raise kids. I questioned whether it was my selfishness that kept me from being organized or was it my laziness? Because, when it came to anything else in my life…I was type A and super-duper organized. Why was it so hard for me to get this school thing in order, then?!?! And I have a husband that is extremely involved, so it is not that I am doing it all alone. Do you know that due to work commitments, I have never been able to attend a single school event or fun day? Do you know that this is the first school holiday (besides December holidays) that I have EVER spent at home with my kids?
I’m not proud. But I’m honest.
Honest because I’m certain I’m not the only mom failing at this. Honest because I know there have to be others struggling to keeping it all together like me.
I was spreading myself too thin, but my goal is to be more organized in the 2nd term. I want to be able to truly put my kids first, to focus on them and their interests and be a present mom. I need to be more involved, I need to be there for her… Each day she is growing older, kinder and wiser and each day I will step back a little more to allow her to be the women she is destined to be. But she cannot become that women if her mom is an unorganized, hot mess.
The only clear way out for me was to resign from my highly demanding, stressful and full-time job – a bit drastic, but there are a few other things that contributed to this decision.
I suppose what I want to know from you, after this whiny session – is how do you get it right? What do you do to make life easier? Any tips on how to get started and be more organized?