5 Lessons I Learned in My Daughter’s First Year of School

My daughter’s first year of school proved to be a bigger learning experience for me than I had originally thought. Gone are the days of home day cares, with only a handful of other kids to play with. Gone are the toddler tunes like “I’m a Little Tea Pot”, and “Itsy, Bitsy Spider”. My daughter was now being exposed to dozens of other kids, new grown-ups and a totally different social environment. I was nervous.

But at the kindergarten open house, I saw hope for the year ahead. I was seduced by the pamphlets on reading programs, the centres devoted to fine motor skills, science and math. I got swept up in the romantic idea of being on the parent council, volunteering for school fundraisers and activities, helping to make my child’s school a better place to learn, grow and achieve.

Ya…I know.

Reality came crashing down around February, when I came to terms with where my priorities truly lay: with my kids. Now don’t get me wrong, if I had the time and energy to be an awesome school mom and rock it like a boss, I would…I love that shit. But alas, my school mom revelation can be summed up in 5 simple lessons:

5 lessons I learned in my kids' first year of school

1. I do NOT have time to be on the parent council. That’s it, no time for a meeting at 6pm when I don’t get home with the baby from daycare until 5pm. And I’m supposed to tap dance out the door with a fully-filled-in pledge form to drop off, while my husband stays home to deal with the tantrum of the century….nope. Not happening.

2. Theme Days exist only to make me feel like a bad parent. Superhero day was a wonderful idea, but to go trapsing around the region looking for a cape in the middle of March, just wasn’t high on the list of priorities. Dinner, brushing teeth, making sure people are wiping their bums, was. Luckily, the school came through and made little superhero masks for the kids who’s parents suck ass. *sigh*

3. Fundraisers can wait until after all kids are out of daycare. Why I was such a keener to help with the school’s fundraising initiatives, I’ll never know. Soon enough, my kids will be begging me to take their pledge forms to work to in turn coerce my coworkers to sponsor/donate when they’re already donating and sponsoring their own kids. Someone should really look into school fundraiser saturation in the donor pool. I bet the results would be staggering.

4. Teachers can pull off a Pinterest craft like a boss, and I cannot. I’ve finally discovered the real reason Pinterest exists, and it’s for those wonderful teachers. Think about it.Wouldn’t you be better at executing one of those crafts if you did it outside your home, and had two other grown-ups to help? I rest my case.

5. I have to trust that my kid’s teacher is always there for her when I can’t be. Just like when I started B in daycare, I had to let go of a lot when she started school. She’s meeting different kinds of kids and hearing a lot more voices in her head, from her teachers and principal, to the kid who taught her the “Whip, Whip, Nae-Nae” song. (Let me tell how impressed I was that day.)

It was hard to talk to her about how to handle the social situations she was encountering, when I wasn’t there to witness them, and I had to trust that her teachers were doing their part on their end, keeping a watchful eye out for bullying and bad behaviour, and making sure she was safe, happy, and having fun in class. And as far as I could tell, they did.

I’m excited for B to move on to Senior Kindergarten next year and I think she’s better prepared to handle what comes her way, both in class and at recess. (Where all the real tough decisions are made.) But there are certain things that I just don’t have control over. I can’t be there all the time, and I can’t be as involved with her school life as I want to be. And while that might drive me insane sometimes it’s all part of B’s growing up. And mine too.

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4 responses to “5 Lessons I Learned in My Daughter’s First Year of School

  1. I homeschooled my oldest until this past year and my youngest turned five last summer so I had TWO kids in different grades start school for the first time this past year. They had never been in daycare (okay, my oldest did attend some kind of Korean day care while my husband was teaching English over there and I was here in the US getting ready to give birth but it was for only a few months), didn’t go to preschool. And I homeschooled my oldest from K to grade 3. I’m back in school so yeah, can definitely relate to these (including the Whip It Nae Nae though they have also introduced me to The Final Countdown and Fight Song). They’re in a charter school in the school district that provide a lot of opportunities to do the arts (music, art, drama, strings for grades 1 and up) and they’re in mixed classrooms (K and 1, 2 and 3, 4 and 5). It was a good first year even though their father was initially against it and made sure to point out I was quitting on the homeschooling thing for the months up to them starting school never mind I was in school myself and did not have the time to both go to school AND homeschool and he didn’t help. And yeah, even being a homeschool parent, I sucked at doing the stuff I saved on Pinterest.