Last school year was quite the debacle for my family. I was nine months pregnant with my 4th, shuffling my kids to a school that was literally 25 miles away. School buses don't exist here in San Diego and I could have sworn I'd give birth on the freeway. Our new house was almost complete, and I thought it was best to let the kids start school where we would eventually plant our San Diego roots. I was adamant on NOT moving schools twice. A decision I am glad I made, however, with an impending birth, I rarely got out of the car when dropping the kids off at school.
Who knew I would miss out on so much? When the baby was born I STILL didn't get out of the car during drop offs or pick ups. The sheer thought of it was exhausting. You would have thought someone had asked me to climb Mount Everest. What do you mean get out of the car? Are you crazy? I was so sleep deprived, I became lazy. The bucket seat in my Chevy Suburban was the closest thing I got to a massage.
Lack of sleep is no joke, and I can say first hand that sleep deprivation is a form of torture. Those first six weeks felt to me like I was on Night of the Walking Dead. Lucky for me, my blog reminds me that there were many moments during that time when I was actually able to pull it together! The school drop offs and pick ups happened during my most fatigued parts of the day. For that reason, I didn't have (or make) the time to meet the soccer moms, the sweet dads, the blogger moms, the room parents, the PTA moms, the millennial moms, the seasoned moms or even the bad moms. If you think you don't need all of these moms in your life, you are sadly mistaken.
During the summer Olympics, I heard the poem, " Human Family" by Maya Angelou play over and over in between games. The message: "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." I can assure you that even though we all have our own unique story, we truly are more alike, than we are unalike. Sure, there might be quite the MOM variety out there, but we all have traveled far to get here. Some conquered an obstacle course, some walked on a tightrope and some were lucky to experience smooth sailing. Regardless, we all took this unpaved road to get to this place called parenthood. Child birth, whether naturally, through a c-section, via surrogate or adoption, is no easy feat. Some have been through pregnancy losses and some braved the fertility battle. Either way, we made it here and we are all MOMS. Whether we go to work or stay home, "we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike."
4 Reasons why MOMs should get out of the car this school year:
GROWING YOUR TRIBE
We know how difficult parenting can be. Whether you are a domestic goddess or full-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom), you will benefit from growing your tribe. You better believe with two of my four kids in school, I am getting out of my car to introduce myself to these other awe-inspiring moms. I want to know who's going to have a glass of wine with me, whose shoulder I may end up sobbing on one day, who I can cheer on in this crazy world called mommyhood... And what about the über organized moms? You gotta appreciate the moms who send the text reminder, "It's spirit day! Don't forget to wear your school colors." I will see these parents for the next ten-plus years, and becoming a community of parents will only make us stronger.
Today I arrived more enthusiastic than normal, kind of felt like a mom cheerleader, ready to walk the track with a handful of other moms on the same journey. Strangely enough, no matter how many times we do the "first day drop off," I still get butterflies. I would even say I'm a little anxious. Whose first day was this anyway? Smiles were sent and returned, numbers were exchanged and so my tribe grows. I left with an awesome sense of belonging that only us moms can feel, and get this... I've already got a coffee date with one of the moms on the books. For this reason alone, I advise you NOT to take the easy road and just drop off and pick up. Listen to me (spoken in the aggressive New York Italian tone that my grandmother Lucy so lovingly passed on to me), park your car, walk your kids to school and meet your new squad... because "we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike."
BE THAT HELPING HAND
No mom is perfect, and we all need help from time to time. Living on the west coast while my family is on the east coast, you'd better believe the parents of my kids' classmates are now my extended family. We all need one another. Whether it's help shuffling the kids to school, intel on specific teachers or even props needed for school theme days, you'll be much better off having an arsenal of phone numbers at your disposal. More importantly, what if someone needs my help? I would gladly shuffle kids back and forth. I want to be that mom. The joy in helping out a fellow sister (or brother), in being able to lend a hand... that's the mom I want to be remembered for. I want everyone to know who I am and that I am here to help in any way that I can.
BUILDING YOUR COMMUNITY
I am new to this community and like I said earlier, I was in survival mode last year. I spoke to no one on the regular, because of that, I didn't remember the names of fellow parents. My kids would tell me tales of their friends, and I could barely put a face to a name. And now, I am over it! I want our family to be part of the community, to be aware of and a part of the community happenings. We get one chance to do what's right, and showing up is part of it. If I didn't get out of my car today, I wouldn't have known about one mom organizing gently used items for a family in need. I also found out from my principal that she is instilling a morning running club so kids and parents could walk the track before school starts. Now, I am all in. I love this new community!
Sure, it's important that I feel good about myself, but the gym class can wait until later in the day. The kids come first. So what if I miss the 8:00 AM Barre class, there is always a 9:00 AM. My kids have been so excited to have ME back. I want to be that stellar role model for them, so they too will want to do this for their kids one day. I want them to feel that my love for them is bursting at the seams. Seeing that sparkle in their eye when I walk them to their class IS what's most important. Who knows how long they will want me there? So I will embrace it while I have it. It's the best part about being their mom. Strapping my baby in the carrier and holding my four-year old's hand and making them part of this process has also been great for the younger two. Even though they are the two littles left behind, they too will be here soon enough and I always want them to put each other first. I know my efforts are paying off when I hear their sweet little voices say, "You're the best, mom."
Like C.S. Lewis once said, " Children are not a distraction from more important work, They are the most important work."