As we mark the end of summer vacation, most families are caught with back-to-school blues. The summer break is a much-awaited and well-deserved vacation not just for kids, but for many moms and dads too. In contrast, as June steps in, most parents are likely to be ticking off items in their list. School shoes. Check. Notebooks and books wrapped in plastic. Check. Uniforms pressed. Check.
The school year routine can oddly be both comforting and stressful in the same breath for school parents. Lately, it has become a familiar sight in many schools to find a lot of ‘school moms’ patiently waiting at the gates or nearby from the first bell at the start till the last bell at the end of the school day. In fact, near many schools now, you’ll find fitness gyms and coffee shops for moms who either enjoy working out, who busily write up test reviewers, or avidly play Candy Crush on their iPads while the children are in class. A lot of school moms even turn out to be close friends with lunch dates spent together for years.
Guilty me, I’ve never been a school mom as I should have, but given my work priorities I’ve never had the luxury of being one. I do realize that being a school mom is both an investment and a commitment one makes. A joke my son often blurts out is that I’ve never prepared his school lunch as far as he can remember and that he’s often surprised when I show up at the school gate during dismissal. In some ways, I do admire school moms who are often the most active in PTA’s and even find the time to organize school events. The rewards for school moms must simply be invaluable as their children often get honors and recognition in school. But more so, spending everyday with your child must foster a closeness working moms like me will never know.
As school resumes this June, school moms must feel the stress of school blues most when they need to wake up as early as 4am just to get prepped and to bring kids to school. In fact, a ten-minute delay often makes the difference in traffic troubles in many parts of the city. Yet, for many school moms, the school year routine can oddly be reassuring with the kids’ daytime absence providing a respite to run errands and have some “me” time at the gym or for pursuing a hobby.
However, for first-time school dads and moms, the most stressful school blue has to be the separation anxiety young kids typically go through on the first day or even first week of school. Here are a few tips though for first-time schools moms and dads: bring your child on a practice run, drive your kid to school, tour the school campus together, and even pretend to make him or her sit the classroom maybe a week before classes begin formally.
Trust me, as a former preschool teacher, I had my share of crying tots on the first few days of school. When one tot cried, it was just infectious, with other tots slowly tearing up too. But oddly, by snack time, it was as if no tears were shed as most of them would be running around the room like old friends. My other piece of advice for school dads and moms is: Don’t be as emotional as your little one. If your child senses your own anxieties, so too will they become clingy and teary-eyed. Children soon learn to deal with school anxieties on their own—it’s the first test of character. Just make sure you’re there though the minute your child is sent home, as your presence right after school can make or break their successful adjustment to this new setting. As we all gear up for school days once again, here’s wishing all school moms and dads a great school year ahead!