Well, it’s been almost four weeks of Ella being at school, and myself being a rookie school Mum and I pleased to report we are still here and smiling. I tell you though, whilst I have been a teacher for 15 years, nothing prepares you for the roller coaster of juggling drop offs, pick ups, work and family life. We have done ‘double drop offs’ before, however there is a new level of stress when ‘school hours’ are thrown into the mix. Like all families, we have done everything we can to try to make the transition smooth, both for Ella and ourselves. Luckily, the best part of all has been the wonderful school and community that we have been welcomed into.
Both working in a school, and being a school Mum has given me a whole new perspective on how hard families work, to make it all work. Our saving grace has been the amazing support of our Mums and family. Honestly, I don’t know how we would do it without them! Me and Dan have had to be flexible with our work commitments as much as we can. Our timetable is a finely tuned piece of art, with drop offs and pick ups changing each day. I live my life by my calendar, and have even invested on installing a cork board / white board in our pantry, just so I can make sure that we keep on top of notes, dates, reminders and parties.
That gets me onto another point. Information. My friend (who is also a fellow rookie school Mum) recently told me that she has never been and felt so informed in all of her life. As a teacher, I know and understand the frenetic stream of information that is constantly being shared with our community. School events, learning news, canteen, fundraisers, school photos…it goes on and on. It’s important that everyone knows what is going on, and often goes out to the community in various forms. Email, newsletter, sms, Facebook! However when you are on the other side of it, it can be cray cray! In a good way that is, but I’ve learned that when an email or newsletter comes out…the best thing you can do is get your calendar out then and there and make sure you take note, and send your hubby a calendar notification!
As a rookie school Mum, I’ve learned that your super power needs to be ‘organisation’. The night before means laying out their uniform, packing their lunch box – but not with everything as to keep some things fresh. Making sure that you have a routine. Check the school bag. Sign the notes. Check your emails each day, because there is sure to be a change of date somewhere. I’m yet to slip up…but I’m just waiting with bated breath!
Ella has been great so far. Seeing her smile has helped easy my worry! She’s met some gorgeous kids and made lots of friends. That said, mornings when I drop her off are still hard. For some reason, it is always the Mums who cop the tears. It’s not that she doesn’t like school, she just doesn’t want me to leave. Talk about pulling at my heart strings. If there is one piece of my ‘teaching’ advice I’ve been good at listening to is knowing how important it is to just leave. Give her to someone she feels safe with, and leave. Whilst my heart might be aching for her, I know it’s kinder for her own resilience. That and the fact that when I pick her up at 3.30 I see her smiling…I know she is ok.
Personally, it’s been wonderful to be supported by a fabulous group of parents who have been so welcoming. Coming into a school community can be daunting for anyone, and I’ve been so lucky to have had such lovely people share their happy experiences with me at the school and reassuring me when I’ve been worried about something. There is something about school Mums and Dads sticking together, and pepping each other up when you are feeling down. It’s like an unspoken language that we all just ‘get’.
So as we find ourselves almost half way through term 1, I hope you are all feeling ok. It’s hard at times, but its also so exciting seeing our kids finding themselves belonging to a beautiful community.