Wednesday, April 08, 2009

No One Said It Would Be This Hard

Back when I was in school, life felt really hard. There was pressure from parents, teachers, fellow students. Conform. Be creative. Do what I say. Study hard. Pay attention. Add in a cup of divorce and a pinch of bullying and you have your sterotypical crappy school years.


I loved school. I loved the learning and the teachers and finding out things I was good at. I still keep in touch with at least two teachers. (Grade Two and Grade Ten teachers)

But now that I'm a mom, I see this whole other side and it's HARD. It took me a year or more to learn the names of the other moms. My daughter was two weeks old when her brother started school so I couldn't volunteer as much as the rest of them. Then I went back to work and had even less time.

Just this year I started on the PTA/School Council and I am getting to know a lot of other moms. And they are all great. I've missed a few meetings and I feel bad about that, but getting to know the other moms has been great. As well as getting to know the teachers a bit better.

Yet still. There's politics on and off the playground. Which teachers are doing great, which aren't. Who is the best teacher to get next year and who to try avoid. Conflicts that I know are THERE, without actually knowing what they are about <- that's a big one. I'm heavy on the intuition and I can usually tell when I walk in a room who likes who, who doesn't like who... and sometimes that's helpful. But sometimes I feel the stress and strain and there is nothing I can do about it.

I want to be a peacemaker. I want people to get along and I do believe that every parent, volunteer, teacher, administrator, etc... is in this to help the kids. None of us would have chosen to be together if it weren't for our children.

But it's so .... emotional.

Something happens in a classroom or on the playground or after school and feelings get hurt or egos get bruised. And I'm just talking about adults here. Nevermind the underlying pulse of "your kid doesn't like my kid" that can happen occasionally.

I'm never sure where I fit in. I like my child's teacher a lot, but when I hear another parent say "none of the kids in that class are happy", I want to scream. Because no one can make a blanket statement like that and it's SO frustrating to hear. I don't have to be a teacher to know that every classroom is going to have kids that click with the teacher and kids that don't. Parents are going to click with one parent and not with others. Administrators are going to rub some people the wrong way and others not at all. Kids are going to love each other one day and hate each other the next.

But we have to remember that despite the fact that we are all the main characters in our own stories... when it comes to school, we are the supporting actors. It's the KIDS who are the main characters. Each one of them starring in their own show with us all behind them. Can we stay focused on that?

I struggle because I want to do the best I can for my son. What does that mean? Does it mean I have to be on the PTA or Council? Does this have to be my experience? I want to help out and do my part for all the kids... but there are days when I forget that I'm doing something for my son. There's a fundraising letter or an event or a topic of discussion and we start talking about fiduciary duty and casino funds and AGMs and budgets, and I think "where do the kids fit in here?"

I loved school. I thought it was going to be like that. That I'd be loving it. I didn't think it would be this hard.

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