On your kids first day at school, if you cry spontaneously, that’s ok. If you breathe a big sigh of relief that’s ok too. And if you pour yourself a glass of wine at 930am – don’t feel guilty (just make sure you’re sober by home time)
The first day at school is going to be a strange day for both of you. They are going to have to compete with 30 other children for attention. Whilst you are going to meet 30 other parents that you know nothing about and probably have little in common with except the age of your offspring and your postcode.
My eldest’s first day at school consisted of him running into the classroom and not pausing to hug or kiss me goodbye. I spent all morning crying loudly into a coffee cup about my apparent lack of bond with my child. When I collected him in the afternoon he burst out of the classroom door and excitedly described how he got his head shoved in a bench. A bench. Needless to say, I was not prepared for any of this.
And that’s the thing, you can’t prepare for unknown. Just like you didn’t know how long potty training was going to last or how they’d react when someone first punched them at soft play. You can’t prepare for how you’re going to feel on their first day.
You are going to worry a lot today. You might worry that they will get overlooked or that the teacher might miss them asking for the loo. You might worry that they will fight with other kids. You might worry that they’re going to get left out whilst all the other kids play. You might worry that they are going to get lost. Heck you might even worry that they’re going to get their head stuck in a bench (sorry about that, but it happened)
Speaking from experience. They are going to be fine. Teachers don’t become teachers unless they can handle juggling hoards of children.
So let us flick the focus to you.
As you are standing there waving them off, you are going to see a plethora of parenting styles and this is where it begins. You can approach the parenting playground in two ways. You can either believe all the bullshit about the mummy mafia and cliques, join one, make one, or become a victim of one. Or, you can just act like the adult you are and not revert to ridiculous stereotyping and pigeonholing.
Each parent that has a kid starting school is going through some sort of struggle and the best way to show you are not an uptight bitch is to simply smile at them.
On my eldest’s first day at school, I remember watching a mum in her expensive workout gear blowing kisses at her little girl who was skipping through the door saying “mummy i love you!” – she looked like she had it so together. I also remember seeing a dad nursing the scratch marks on his legs that his son had made when he was prised off by the teacher. Then there was the full time working mum dressed in a suit, who I saw only a handful of times again, she was crying quietly and I now realise that was the only day that term she was able to be there.
I vowed on my first day in the playground that I would chat to ALL of them or the least smile and say hello.
And I did. And it helped. I’ve survived the emotional roller coaster intact.
Don’t let their first day at school define the next 7 years of playground politics. Smile. Just because you’ve stepped into a playground doesn’t mean you need to act like a kid. Life is too short for worrying about whether you fit in or not. If you want to make friends, do! If you’d rather keep under the radar, then that’s ok too.
At the end of the day as parents you do have one thing in common. You made it.
(and the chances of your kid getting their head stuck in a bench are pretty slim)
4 September 2016