Tuesday, August 13, 2013

First Day of School & Mommy's Blues!

Yesterday was our children's first day of School.

Ms. Bree started Pre-Kindergartner and Lil Man started First grade. I can honestly say that the children were excited and they promptly got out of bed, okay, it was not that easy, but it was not the usual struggle either. 

Do you remember your first day of school? I personally can't remember any of them. If we are being honest here, my first day in first grade was about thirty years ago… phewwww that was a long time ago.

This school year, both children are attending a new school. When I realized the kids were no longer going to be attending a private school, I had a thousand questions and no answer. 
As most of us know, the Public School System class size range from at least 22-24 children and it can be intimidating for someone who is used to attending a private school where the class sizes are of 8-10 students.

As the date approached, the kids were counting the days, hours and minutes because they were ready to go to their new school.  I was not as ready as they were.  Thankfully, one of Ms. Bree's friends from the private school is in the same class, and Lil Man's best friend is in his class as well.  Part of me knew that the transition was going to be smooth for them. 

I walked out of my daughter's classroom and when I looked back, she was so at ease, at peace, in her new class that she didn't even think about the fact she was on new school grounds, new teacher, and 22 new classmates and prospective friends. 

Ms. Bree is my youngest child but has always been a social butterfly.  I constantly worry about her because of her carefree nature and how petite she is.  I literally spent all day thinking, "Is she okay? will the teachers be watching them closely during play time?, Will she eat her lunch?" 

Lil Man's class is on the other side of the school, a long way from Ms. Bree's, and to my surprise Lil Man walked into his class room with his chin up, greeted his teacher and found his seat and promptly went to work completing the worksheet that was placed on his desk. 
He gave me a kiss good bye, and whispered "I love you mama, but I will give you more kisses after school".  

My son, the one who was never too shy to give his mama good kisses, has finally told me those words no mother wants to hear… "no more kisses in front of his classmates". Although it made me sad, it was just another sign that he is growing up. 

I found the above poem and I thought, "wow, how true", I then realized that while my kids were probably having a good time, I was the one having the hardest time with this transition. 
While there are plenty of tips, guidelines, and books on how to prepare our children for their first day of school. As I parent, I need a guide too!  A "How to Cope with The First Day of School- For Parents".  

After all, I'm entrusting the safety of my children to a new school, and new teachers.  Can we get a guide too?

How do we prepare for this day as parents?  

#1: Be honest with yourself:  I often have panic/anxiety attacks when it comes to my children.  My tension levels are always high and I get so stressed that it really drains my energy and patience!   Knowing your feelings and your reaction to those feelings will help you plan ahead for the big day.

#2: Plan Accordingly:  I am known to be a planner, but that doesn’t truly alleviate me from the stress of the big event, but it minimizes the running around, and the screaming in my head.
      a.  Get uniforms ready for the week;   I actually had the children helped me with this task.  We selected a uniform for each day including shoes, socks and undergarments. 
      b. Plan Lunches/Snack for the week:  The children and I made a list of meals and snacks they were interested in taking to school.  This can be very helpful when you do your grocery shopping as well.  Print a calendar, have each child personalized their calendar by coloring the page or by placing their favorite stickers. 
     c.  Breakfast:  While my son is really good about eating breakfast, Ms. Bree has developed my bad habit of not wanting to eat breakfast.  We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Therefore I try to give her a light but healthy breakfast but she sees it as a "snack".  Instead of preparing a heavy breakfast full of protein which most likely is going to make her sleepy, I give her a snack bag with ten to twelve blueberries, a small "Dora" yogurt and a glass of juice.  Our other options are a granola bar, toast, cereal and/or oatmeal. 

All of the above did help me getting them ready for their first day of school and will continue to make my mornings somewhat easy.  The steps made certain that I didn't forget anything and sent the children to school unprepared. But in no way did the steps minimize my fear. 

Emotionally I was unprepared and did experience the "blues". But after discussing this with all of you, my loyal readers on our facebook wall, I came to understand that it is perfectly normal to have all these conflicting emotions, sad, fear, happiness, pride and a million other feelings parents experience when their children are reaching a milestone in their lives.
The key is to take time to acknowledge those feelings, understand that it is very common to experience them and that as parents, we must take the time to prepare ourselves for what is to come. 

Once the children arrived home from school, they had so many stories to tell.  They told me from how much fun they had during recess and how many friends they made.  After reviewing their folders, the teachers have given them happy/green faces for listening and good behavior.  They came home with empty lunches, dirty uniforms and very big smiles on their faces.  I automatically wanted to kick myself for worrying so much, but the truth is and one of our lovely readers pointed out, if I didn't worry about my children then I wouldn't be a good parent.  Yeah, I'm a bit in the over protective borderline obsessive line but I love my kids, and their happiness and safety are always before my own.

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