Pinterest apparently has some thousands upon thousands of trendy “first day of school” printable signs that all the mindful mothers have already downloaded and printed, in color, on their crafty paper. I’m not one of them. I’m just happy that my youngest child now allows me to help with her hair and stand still long enough for me to take a first day photo. My lack of forethought about the sign may mean we’ll all be guessing someday about which grade it is or even which kid is in the picture.
If I hadn’t been so busy scrubbing carseat covers, organizing baskets of shoes and helping inventory an egregiously long list of supplies their teachers say they need, maybe I’d feel guilty about not having cute signs for my kids. I love them dearly, but this school year I refuse to compete for title of Supermom. They still have adorable new backpacks and fun clothes, even glittery notebooks they picked out themselves and some new lunch foods they like. But, I won’t worry if they don’t have everything their friends do.
The kids are happy with school, and I’m happy for them, just not for the reasons they think. I’m thrilled we live in a free country where middle-American kids can pine for the perfect backpack and moms can fret over organic vegetables. I’m thankful we don’t live in a war-torn country where teachers might be risking their lives daily by offering girls or perhaps any children an education. Sure, I’m concerned about the culture of gun violence in America and think we should do more to keep our schools and communities safe. But our daily routines are not even close to what children in places like Israel or Gaza or West Africa or Iraq face. While life there can be unimaginably difficult, many of us are blessed with families free to worry over the little things.
Which brings me back to my resignation as candidate for Supermom this school year. Sure, there’s some first-time Kindergarten parent out there ready to step in and lobby for that. She can have the perfect cupcake recipe plus decorations made for the entire class during holiday parties. She can have the perfectly coiffed hair even during early morning school times after she’s stayed up late working the night before. She can drive the library book to school for the child that forgot to return it.
This school year, I’m all in with the school-involved parenting concept. I’m just committing to be a little easier on myself, especially when I can’t find the time to balance all work-home-marriage-parenting expectations without giving myself a pass on some of the little things. Who says parenting has to be picture-perfect with the sign to prove it or that any of us has to be Supermom to provide exactly what our kids need from us this school year?