When I consider school stress, I immediately imagine the chaotic rush in the last 10 minutes getting out the door. Shoes, book bags, gloves, coats, sweaters, realization(s) that there is an urgent need to use the bathroom...all of this flying in every direction, coming from both of my children. And then, after seeing my little-one off to school, I stand there in shock, possibly wearing mis-matching shoes and maybe a bra, asking myself "what just happened?" --Every day.
Planning helps and is the only relief I have. I take comfort in setting-up school outfits, out door apparel, packing book bags, setting my alarm clock early, and anticipating lunches. -Every night.
But yet, it is a daily effort getting out the door early in the morning.
Once after being questioned on early morning routines, I mustered up the courage to confide this information to a fellow playground mom, who frequently boasted how perfect things were. Maybe she had advice, right? She had asked the question and I had provided her with an honest answer. Big mistake. My line of questioning was not followed with helpful advice, but rather judgment that was quite snide. Lesson learned? Never point out your short comings to boastful, slightly competitive mothers...never.
I had experienced my fair share of mother's competitively questioning me on issues like: birthing, breastfeeding, sleeping through the night, potty training, transitioning to solid foods, teething, budgeting, laundry, first words...the list goes on. These situations felt like landmines exploding. And with practice, I would dodge these encounters, but this one got me. And it hurt.
After I arrived home, I'll admit I cried. I cried a lot -like a toddler informed (s)he could not take their cash register into the bathtub. I thought to myself, "I am trying so hard, so very hard. Balancing a small business and a family is not easy, sometimes I just need a little help **when solicited. After pulling myself together, I vowed to avoid this woman and any possible negative encounters. It did not work...
Sometime later I saw this same woman un-packing her car, late for preschool school drop-off. Ah-ha! I recognized this look, it was the mis-matched shoes, no bra, "what is happening?' look. Victory alas!
I stepped up and held her 16 week old, while she grabbed her sons and rushed them to the school door -all while, me running behind her, reminding her I still had her baby. We had a good laugh and it reassured me none of us are perfect, and to be honest, we are all in it together. Just trying our best.