Work Life Balance

Back To School Week: Confessions Of A Former Class Parent

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There won’t be class-parenting this year. I won’t have the close connection to my children’s classrooms. I won’t be able to go on most field trips or visits to the library. Last year, as all of the parents were giving the teachers end of the year gifts, my son’s teacher actually gave me a gift. This year, I will probably only see the teachers at parent-teacher conferences.

This new reality is hard to adjust to, but I’m trying. There’s guilt. Which, well, isn’t there always? As a mother it seems like I can’t do anything without feeling like I could be doing it better. It’s been hard to explain to my kids that I won’t be in their school as much as I used to be. And it’s been hard to reconcile within myself that while there is definitely guilt involved, I also feel a sense of freedom. Even though there are a hundred little things that I will miss by not being in my kids’ school so much, I am going to have a whole new appreciation for the stories they tell me at dinner time and the rare field trip that I will get to go on.

And, really, to be totally honest, there were plenty of times when I didn’t feel like being on those field trips at all. There were the times when the only other parent coming was someone who I didn’t get along with, so I would sit on the bus trying to make conversation with a woman who would rather stare resolutely out the window than talk to me. Ouch. And there were all the kids who sneezed all over me and the juice boxes that got squirted on my shoes and the tangy smell of someone vomiting in his lap after the school bus hit one too many potholes.

This year, I’m looking forward to not having to deal with any of that messiness. It’s going to be somewhat of a relief to look on the class website and see all the grinning 8-year-old faces gathered in front of the Museum of Natural History and not have that colored by having been there, stressed out for the duration of the trip for fear of losing one of the kids in the squid and the whale exhibit. I’m just going to get to enjoy things from a distance, and I have to say that this is a huge relief.

After all, how many times does one woman need to go to the Staten Island Historical Society? I’m going to say four. I think my time there is done.

You can reach this post’s author, Kristin Iversen, on twitter.

(photo: archidea/ Shutterstock)

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