I am officially a school mom or as the ladies on the play ground like to call me school mum. I haven’t had the chance yet to tell them I am American and yet it feels weird to be called a school mum but also inviting. I feel truly like one of them, I am one of them now. I am no longer feel alienated into a different category of parenting. Expat parenting to be exact. I really thought I would be casted into it because that’s all I have experienced in the UK thus far. I usually get the initial stares, comments, looks, questions; like a monster with flashing lights on her head. I am sure by my accent its clear but no one treats me differently like I normally am treated. I am a school mom or mum just like them. All my fears of becoming a school mom have faded and my nonsense worries disappeared. I am relieved at this. I got myself worked up that I would I be labeled an outsider because I really still have no clue about the english school system, what’s expected in terms of uniforms and these split classes of reception or year one is mind boggling. And yet it seems I am not the only one for once, it’s an even playing field. Most of us are new to becoming a school mom there.
Becoming a school mom has been such a weird experience for me, where I am concentrating on making my son feel welcome and him making friends as much as I am doing the same for myself. It helps to make friends with other school moms so I can help B make friends. (not that he can’t on his own I hope). These parents and grandparents alike will be there every morning and every night for years to come so it’s only smart to play nicely. There are already clicks from the years above and others that know each other already from swimming or dance classes but I have been warmly accepted as a school
mom mum and our new school life has officially started.
I didn’t think I would ever like being called mum but it keeps me grouped with everyone else which for once is a nice feeling. Any expat will tell you, we don’t want to lose our culture or identity i.e. being a mom but in this situation I am not the expat, the different one, I am just the first time school parent like most of them. The focus is on my new school boy and not me being from somewhere far away. We talk about how emotional it was letting them grow up and someone else be in control for once. We talk about how the kids are coping at home after school. I am sure it won’t always be roses and cherries but I like to think it’s a nice little community to be apart of for years to come. There hasn’t been a situation where I felt like an outsider as I have done so many times in jobs, play groups and even english group of friends.
Becoming a school mom, I have duties to fulfil and more responsibilities. I swear I am going to need a separate calendar for each child when MM starts school and for myself. There are so many dates to remember, and paperwork comes home in mounds, money for this and sign up for that. I think we are booked with after school and during the day classes between both my kids, every day into February. It’s not even Christmas time yet. It’s like I became my son’s PA overnight and the guilt of not having her brother at home to play with I have signed up MM for everything. Let’s see if I make it until Christmas. After saying all that I was excited for this part of becoming a school mum. I might even join the PTA but let’s not push it so far we are only in our third week of school.
I am getting used to remembering names, pe kits, backpacks, midday snacks and water bottles while also coping with having one less child at home and in someone else’s responsibility. So far we haven’t been late, yet, and trying to find our morning routines a little more smoother still needs work. It’s all new for us but we are finding our feet together as a family. It feels weird during the day to have only one child at home. Sometimes she looks so lost and I don’t know if that’s just me feeling it or if she really feels lost without her brother with us. We are finding our duo days filled with classes and to do’s to keep us busy.
The best part of my day is now the after school pickups. Where we reunite as a trio again with MM and B non-stop chattering about their separate days to each other. Neither would ever tell me what they did at school/nursery if I ask but they always seem to love to share every details with each other. I love their sibling bond. I was really worried at first, how it would affected MM when B started school. She didn’t take it lightly the first two weeks of dropping him off but she now understands he will always come back. If anything it has brought them closer together after being apart all day they truly are each other’s shadow. They run around playing all their favorite games and hugging and cuddling like the very best of friends.
I overheard this conversation today…
“MM did you miss me today?” B asked as they laid on the rug in the living room. “Yes, no go to school tomorrow,” shaking her finger in the air side to side, “play wit me”. MM replied. “I am playing with you now, you will be ok, no crying baby.” B gently told her. “Ok, brother, I not crying now.” MM said close to tears. “You are playing with me and tomorrow you have swimming and I have school so it will be ok and then you see me after school again, silly billy, ok?” B said, laughing at her and cuddling her. She accepted it with a smile and off they ran into the playhouse to play together. I love his long ranting sentences and logic lately. It’s hilarious to hear in person. He does it all in one breathe.
Their conversations get deeper and more silly as MM learns to talk more. I love listening to them when they think I am not there. These after school conversations and play times are our new ordinary moments, our new routines and we are loving it together, reunited. I hope they tell each other things that they may not share with me or Daddy for years to come. They have their own special connection and I am ever so grateful they have each other. It just makes after school every day these bittersweet moments like this where they are laughing and chatting, reunited on the rug of the living room. A simple but loving life together as siblings.
Becoming a school mom changed so much for me as much as it changed so much for the kids; together and individually. That’s what parenting is all about the growing and changing together. As parents we adapt to each milestone passed and each new stage taken in stride as we do our best as do the children. I look forward to our many school days ahead of us.