You know that moment when you walk into your new school, the lost, and apprehensive look that you carry with feigned courage?
You know that night when you go to bed knowing that early next morning you have to venture into unchartered territories, and navigate through herds of humans who seem to know exactly where they are going? To you it looks like they’re running mad in all directions, casting an intricate web and you are about to walk into it.
You know that early morning when you take your first steps through the school gates, stretch your cheeks into a tentative smile hoping someone would catch it and smile back, maybe even say Hello?
You know that first day when you look into hundreds of faces and wonder how you can feel that you are being both ignored and watched simultaneously, and by the same crowd?
And they think kids have it hard on the first day at school. No one realizes that we moms, expat moms go through it too only with the added disadvantage of middle age insecurities and the dearth of self confidence that they bring along.
Yes, I’m talking about us, roaming moms not our kids as you your mind might have let you wonder because inevitably, first day of school worries are always associated with the little ones. So if you’re looking for a piece on children and their worries on their first day of school, you’ve certainly come to the wrong blog!
In 11 years of motherhood I’ve done the first-day walk of “fame or shame” over eight times in four countries spanning three continents. All in all I can claim it has been an arduous but not insurmountable experience. But as the kids grow older, coming across as that great super mom on the first day of school becomes an illusive quest.
As a roamer you get to reinvent yourself every time you set foot on a new point on the map. You ask yourself: how do I want to be seen and remembered four or five years from now? What do I want to do with my life in the mean time? There is a sense of comfort in short term planning. You don’t have to carve your standards in stone for life’s eternity. You know your life span in any one given space is no longer than 5 years and it’s up to you to make the best of it.
But there are things that you can’t change about yourself no matter how inspiring your new home may be.
You cant change how shy and intimidated you feel on your first day of school. You can’t hold back your yearning for acceptance and easy friendship. You want your kids to be proud of you and you wonder what image you should project first? Intellectual? Nooo nerdish.
Funny?? That’s clownish mom..
Stylish?? Really mom! You think that’s fashionable?
Kind?? Well, nothing wrong with it, it’s just not cool!
What then?? What impression do I want to give on that walk??
Today I thought I’d try the intellectually funny mom, armed with skinny jeans (thank God I still fit into them), a warm kind smile and a style pair of glasses to mix that kindness with easy style.. I thought I pulled it off quite nicely till I dropped the kids off, and two hours later I made myself a cup of coffee at home and it suddenly hit me.. I didn’t meet a single person today, not one potential friend, or foe for that matter. While my kids will get the whole day to connect with their future friends.. I was given a few minutes in a rushed morning, juggling between three class lists and hurrying through the corridors to deliver teary cheeks and clinging little hands to their new classrooms.
Hmmm. So much for 1st-day-at-school impressions…I might as well have walked in with my PJs on and it would have been all the same.