Come August 24, 2015, my role in life will change. Yes, I will still be the mother of Tiny Tot. Yes, I will still be a full-time employee, part-time writer, and no-time housekeeper. However, at the end of August, I will stop being The Bad Preschool Mom, and become The Bad Kindergarten Mom.
There’s a nice ring to that, right?
At least I know my flaws.
With preschool, my role as The Bad Preschool mom is widely accepted. Tiny is rarely–if ever–on time. His Homework Folder is usually forgotten, or turned in the Monday after it is due. I never bring snacks to parties, because I refuse to sign up for snacks. Tiny’s dad, however, knows the reason I will not sign up for snacks, and fills in that position for me. He always offers, when those lists go up, to bring a jar of pickles. And, every time I see “Tiny Tot–jar of pickles,” I cackle like a hyena circling its prey.
… I mean, it’s a jar of pickles.
But, because I’m me, I also tend forget things like St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Easter, Go Texans Day, … and every other random holiday in which parties, costumes, and “extra” stuff has to go to school. I don’t remember to dress Tiny in green for St. Patrick’s Day. I only remember to buy Valentine’s chocolates as I’m rushing to the store on February 14th. And, in the event that I manage to create a Christmas card before Christmas, it rides in the car with me until sometime after January 1st.
If we own glue, I’d be surprised. If we own construction paper, I’d be astounded. If we own tiny human scissors, I’d be shocked. If we own string, … well, we don’t own string. But, we do have as many dried-out markers as we have broken colored pencils. That counts for something, right?
Yes, I am that type of mom.
I accept my flaws; I know them well.
Which is why, now that August 24th is looming like the great, big, Kindergarten shadow that it is, I need to become an adult. I need to turn into the mom who remembers the homework, remembers the party days, and remembers to buy a silly stick of glue.
See, as I’m writing this, as I’m begging my child’s new venture to make me a better mom, I’m rolling my eyes, and gnashing my teeth. I’m griping. I’m moaning. I’m annoyed at the prospect of what’s to come. Because, I know what’s coming. My Facebook, Twitter, and mommy friends explain the joys of Kindergarten–with enthusiasm–but I view it as a chore. I am in a full-time job, as a full-time mom, with a part-time writing gig, and a no-time housekeeping position.
When is there time for all the stuff Kindergarten moms do, and enjoy?
To get it out of my system now, and slap on a huge, fake smile come August 24th, here are the aspects of Kindergarten I am dreading:
Standing on the corner, waiting for for the morning and afternoon bus.
Luckily, thanks to my wonderful boss, and the preschool that takes most of my hard-earned paycheck, I will skip 80% of these days. But, man. Seriously? I remember waiting for the bus growing up. I remember riding the bus. I remember getting off the bus to go into the school. I remember the animosity.
I do not like school buses, period. To this day, I don’t like the memories, I don’t like the hassle, and I do not like how many times I missed that neon yellow bus growing up. I don’t like admitting how many times I had to get my mom to drive me to school. Except, now I’m the mom. Which means I need to grow up, set an alarm, and be the one to get my child to the bus on time.
Getting my child to school at 8 AM.
By the time Tiny and I get dressed, eat breakfast, put on our shoes, and walk out the door, it’s well after nine. I don’t care how early the alarm is set in the morning. I don’t care how fast I hurry my dawdler along. Unless I need to be at a hospital by 7, and I am dressing my sleeping child at 6, we’re not making it to preschool on time.
This is why we are always late. Putting on a shirt? 10 minutes. Putting on pants? 20 minutes. Putting on socks? Usually 3, because I’m irritated and shoving them onto his feet by then. Eating an orange? 30 minutes. Eating a banana? 50 minutes. Drinking his milk? One freaking hour.
Oh, and then there are the countless times in which I don’t set an alarm in the morning, and I’m the reason we’re late. I’m just as bad as Tiny.
He gets it from me.
Volunteering for events, programs, and school functions.
My sister is involved in every function at her child’s school. She shows up. She’s smiling. She greets people. She talks to other moms. She’s happy. How does she do this?
I know this is about to be my life. I know I’m going to have to smile, chat, and join. However, I’m already dreading it, and I may use my gimpness as an exit strategy on those days.
“Oh, Tiny Tot’s mom? She’s not here. Don’t you know? She’s crippled. This field day was just too much for her, bless her heart.”
Patiently sitting through parent-teacher conferences.
Okay, these I will be on board with, but Dear Lord, save the teacher. I mean, seriously. Save the poor, unsuspecting teacher. As a former Language Arts teacher, I know how these meetings go. I know what gets said, I know what the game plan is, and I know what I’m supposed to say, as the parent.
Keeping my mouth shut, and trying not to control the meeting, will be my hardest task. If there are teachers reading this right now, they’ll nod along as I say: teachers–and former teachers–are horrible listeners. We’re talkers, people. We think too much, we speak even more, and if you present us with a problem, we’ll come up with ten different strategies to solve that problem in the span of three minutes.
But, listening? I’m sorry, my brain doesn’t think like that.
Completing school projects over the weekend.
I see the dioramas. I see the poster boards. I see the science projects. You’re all overachievers, setting the bar too high, and I don’t like any of you right now.
Okay, okay, I am like that, too, sometimes. And I will probably be zealot mom, helping with poster board projects Saturday afternoon. But, in order to be that mom, I need to buy glue. And scissors. And construction paper.
Can’t he just write a letter and draw a picture? Isn’t that just as awesome, and just as relevant, as a glitter-infused, papier-mâché sea turtle?
Completing homework assignments on time.
For homework to be completed in my house, I need a clear mind, and oodles of patience. I need a day in which I didn’t work long hours, start dinner after seven, or hold bath time at nine. My son needs a mommy who can sit beside him, guiding him through his spelling words, math problems, and reading assignments. He needs a mommy who’s better at all things time management.
I’m not that mom.
Some days, I am too tired, he’s already late for bed, and so I mentally amend homework for the next day.
This is my fault, and I know it. I’m the reason homework doesn’t always get accomplished in a timely manner. I find excuses to push back what I know needs to be accomplished, because I don’t have the time, nor the energy, to help.
In four short months, Kindergarten will come. Although I’m ready for Tiny to enter school, and eager for him to learn new concepts, I’m not excited for me. I’m not ready to be an adult, get up on time, wait for the school bus, participate in school fundraisers, join in PTA meetings, or complete massive projects.
So, please, Kindergarten, when you come, can you make me a better adult, and remind me to buy that stick of glue?