It’s September. The flip flops have been unceremoniously discarded in the corner, the bathing suits and beach towels safely stowed until next year, and the air is crackling with the excitement of a new school year. For us, it’s been extra special, as the kids are in their first year of public school after being cyber schooled for the last five years.
Being the new kid isn’t the easiest, I get it. Thankfully, we timed our move during the transitional time between elementary and middle school for one of them, and middle school and high school for the other. While they may not know anyone, at least they’re swimming in a sea of other kids who may not really know anyone either. The youngest is in third grade this year, still young enough that soon the other kids won’t ever remember him being “the new kid.” They seem to all be settling in, learning their routines and meeting new friends. It’s been a positive experience.
I, on the other hand, am struggling just a little.
It’s hard to send your kids off to school after having them under a protective wing for so long – except, that’s not the part I’m having a hard time with.
It’s the moms.
Yep, the moms.
I’m quirky. I’m loud. I make jokes that people might not always get. In short, I’m socially awkward.
I have a really hard time just walking up to a group of parents and introducing myself. It’s not that I’m snobby or uninterested in making friends with the other parents – it’s that often times I have zero idea what to contribute to a conversation. Do you want to discuss last nights episode of Doctor Who? I’m totally your girl. Complain about General Mills taking over our beloved organic brand Annie’s? Let’s kvetch! But if you’re going to talk about sports or reality television, I will be completely lost. So, it’s easier to not engage. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, it means I’m terrified of looking like a totally socially inept loser.
We so often tell our children that they should be kind and inclusive to others, sometimes it’s easy to forget that we should do the same thing.
Take pity on me (and others), mamas. When you see a new parent at the bus stop who looks like a deer in the headlights – use the conversational equivalent of Switzerland as a topic – their kids. Every mom wants to talk about their kids. Talk to them about events at school, so that they can ask questions on how things work. Clue them in that NOBODY likes to buy lunch on pasta day because the sauce tastes like dirty dishwater. Just include them. Our kids aren’t the only ones trying to fit in.