It’s funny how everyone thinks that school stress is for the children. The start of every school year is, instead, a time of mixed emotions, anxiety, fear, worry, apprehension and stress for the parents – aka- mostly the mom. Dads are cool like that – or they pretend to be. They also have a reason to be, since mom is the unstoppable continuously thinking machine that runs on batteries that Duracell would be so envious of. So moms are mature and logical about stuff like this so they begin thinking about the new school year as soon as the last ones end, which totally makes sense.
This year my youngest daughter, Emilia, also started school so the stress and anxiety were doubled and they reached a dangerous point today. While, during a really hectic morning, I was running around to get everything ready, talking to myself at the same time so I don’t forget anything – two relaxed, happy children and a totally care-free dad were playing and enjoying breakfast.
I had a flashback of when I sat through my final year’s University exams, or of me doing a presentation for my Masters degree. I used to believe that this kind of – OMG what do I do now – feeling would never come back after graduation. I was so wrong. In the car, I went through with them every single thing I could remember of – be nice to other children, listen to your teacher, be polite, speak your mind, be brave, mommy loves you, smile, etc. – only to get the -yes, yes we know mom – reply.
While waking through the school corridors and observing the other moms and their own reactions I was glad to see that they all looked like they badly needed coffee and 5 minutes of breathing exercises. In my youngest daughter’s class, things weren’t that smooth. A couple of children were crying a lot asking for their moms, and a third one was screaming for her to come back while pulling her top.
I have been in a similar situation and I know how stressful and heart-breaking it can be. Some schools follow a strict technique which I don’t personally agree with, where they ask the parents to just go and leave their children in this state of distress. Luckily, ours is quite great and the teachers are really understanding, open minded and professional (Read: ‘Mom’s Secrets #7: Starting School’.)
Emilia squeezed my hand, looked at me and said: ‘that girl is scared, she needs her mommy. I won’t cry, don’t worry’. It would have been so great if I heard these lovely words in my previous experiences with first days at school 🙂
Emilia quickly settled in, had a brief chat with the teacher, smiled at the other children and send me goodbye kisses. Next was Sofia, who was over the moon to meet up with her friends again exchanging cuddles, kisses and lots of giggles. I walked away from school with a huge grin on my face, grateful that we avoided possible drama and outbursts and feeling really proud of my children.
The first day at school IS a very intense time for all brave moms. The children are mostly doing great, possibly displaying bad behavior as a result of their parents’ stressful feelings. The secret to a smooth first day at school is for you to try and be as relaxed as possible. If you haven’t spend some quality time with your children explaining everything they need to know about school, asking them how they feel about it, helping them open up and express every thought, fear or worry they might have, you still have time.
Children need reassurance, understanding, they need to feel like thy can safely communicate a variety of emotions to you, especially the negative ones without being scolded or punished. Even when you think that certain issues are not of a great importance, always remember that for you child THEY ARE.
My first school day was a success! I met up with a friend of mine for some nice warm coffee afterwards and now I feel better. I didn’t even cry. Just came close to it. Very close. 🙂 I really hope the whole school year will run smoothly for all moms around the world. How was your first day? I would love to hear your stories!