Tales of an Awkward Mom: First Day of School

21 Aug

The first day of school is always tough for any parent, but for folks like me it can be downright brutal.

I am not the most graceful person when it comes to social interactions and being surrounded by a bunch of parents who you are secretly judging doesn’t make me into a functioning member of society by default. I have no filter on what is appropriate conversation – do you talk about the amazing photos your friend took of a riot or that you are really close to paying off your student loans? I am 10 to 15 younger than most parents at my kids’ school – not to mention a whole lot poorer. It makes for a bad combo when I have only had one cup of coffee and I have some super mom breathing down my neck to join the PTA or volunteer 1-2 hours a week doing database entry on the school’s massive phone list. Responding “Does it pay?” is frowned upon – learned that the first year.

I have gone through the first day ring-around before, but this year I felt like I was starting from scratch. My daughter is entering 3rd grade while my son is going into Kindergarten, so it was double the awkward social interactions. The parents and kids in 3rd grade I feel like I have gotten to know. I have settled into truth that some kids have parents who I don’t like and some parents have kids that I don’t like; its just that simple. And if your mom or dad still don’t know who I am (and no I am not the nanny) then more than likely they never will – sorry buddy. 

But the pressure of having to do this all over again for another set of parents is too much for me. I don’t like making new parent friends, I am not good at it. Somehow I always end up sticking my foot in my mouth or leave feeling that I am never going to be good enough to hang out with a certain crowd. It’s like high school all over again, but this time I can’t just cut class and hang out with the stoners (I draw the line there, got to set a good example). 

Dropping my son off at his class, I found myself avoiding eye contact with the other parents. For crying out loud, I will talk to the little children before their parents. I rushed off once the drop-off was done, not sticking around for the chit-chat. You will not find my name on the volunteer lists in the cafeteria either, not because I don’t want to help out – I just don’t want to talk to people. I feared being cornered by some parent who is a Realtor and spends the next hour telling me how it is a great time to buy a house, ignoring that I have said multiple times I can’t afford a $800,000 home right now (yes that is the average price around here). My fear of Realtors and interior designers is holding me back from contributing to my children’s education – help me Oprah!

There is no Glamour quiz to take that will help the situation either. So what is a socially inept mom to do? 

Well, I can apply what I have learned from my daughter’s years in school. Save everything till the last minute or as a wise mom told me once embrace becoming that fruit tray mom. There is nothing like showing up to help out on the last school party or field trip with a fruit tray to have the other parents ask you who’s mom you are. This is always followed by some wonderfully pleasant story about my kid. By then they have gotten to know my child, I have gotten out of some dangerous situations. I always follow up with “Let’s get the kids together over the summer?” We look at our calendars and it never works out since our schedules are already full. Easy peasy as the kids would say. 

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