Friday, August 7, 2015

Starting out and winding down

My sister-in-law im'd me at work yesterday:

     Julie: Well... Elias starts Pre-K @ Edison
               I have my very first "Meet the Teacher" on Aug 20th
               I am nervous... any words of advice?

She and I are in different places on this parenting gig. My one and only starts his senior year later this month. While her oldest of three starts Pre-K.  What we share is the commonality of being moms who work outside the home. And so we also share the commonality of specific feelings of guilt.

I'm a deep feeler. But it's not easy for me to express those thoughts and feelings. Verbally, I trip over my tongue and blunder and see the words I want to say march across my brain, but mostly they never find their way out of my mouth. When I write, I'm able to express a bit more, but it takes me a long time. There is no easy flow from thoughts to fingers on a keyboard. And so, in times like these, I am mostly at a loss to find comforting words to give. Yesterday, I spoke/typed from my heart, and while not eloquent, the words are sincere.

1. Teachers are just people. They don't know everything. But the good ones do have your kid's best interest at heart. Listen to what they say (whether good or bad), but trust your gut. And  remember, no one will fight for your kid like you will. Period.

Just be sure what your fighting for is actually worth the fight. Because sometimes, it just isn't. And the thing that NEEDS to be fought for will come along.

2. Sometimes your kid will be the best at things and sometimes the worst at things. But most of the time, he'll be right in the middle. That's ok.  Make your goal be to insure he is doing the best HE can. Comparison is the thief of joy...and all that.

3. Kids will say and do mean things to him sometimes. Teach him that their opinion doesn't matter and doesn't change his worth. You will straight up find yourself wanting to kick a 5 year old's ass. Take a deep breath and hold your tongue. By the way, you will never like that kid. Even when your son is a senior. ;)

4. As hard as it is to watch him lose a bit of his sweetness due to the meanness he encounters, remember that ultimately he is learning to cope in the real world, and that will be character building for him.

5. Be as involved as you can be with school activities, but don't beat yourself up when you can't be there. He will know how hard you tried for him. (I think all mommas carry guilt for a variety of things to do with their children, but the guilt of not being available to attend all the things is a particular guilt for mommas who have jobs outside the home.)

6. And finally, cherish it! You will be sick of signing papers and listening to halting reading and when he counts he may skip the number 15 every time and it may drive you crazy and you may think EVERY OTHER CHILD can do this, why can't you!? And you may take away a toy because you just know that he isn't trying his best. .. He is, mom. That number 15 just escapes him. But he will remember it eventually, and life will go on. And you will carry the guilt of that overreaction...even when he is a senior in high school.

What heart advice would you share with a momma sending her first one off to school?