Don’t Worry Mom… I’ll be fine.

james_school

Last year’s first day of school!

I used to wonder where James, my five year old, got his anxiety from. I’ve never considered myself an ‘anxious’ person, but as I write about my feelings and experiences, I’m starting to wonder if he perhaps is the ‘apple’ that falls close to the ‘tree’. I wanted to write something today for all the moms who have just gone through sending their young children back for another school year. I had every intention of writing all kinds of helpful advice and about how important it is that we as moms cut each other some slack. But here I am… feeling crippled with worries and anxieties about my son heading off to school. So, maybe this post is for all the moms out there who, like me, worry aimlessly throughout the days during those first weeks back at school.

I remember last year’s first day of school. I was completely unprepared. We had been on vacation and I somehow had forgotten the importance of the ‘first day of school outfit’. Seriously, what kind of mother forgets to get their kid a new outfit for the first day of school? Apparently I did. I drove all over the city looking for a 24 hour walmart that had a few t-shirts and jeans left on the racks. This year, I have my bases covered. I’ve bought a few new pairs of pants and a super cool shirt that says ‘dude’. For whatever reason, my kids think it’s hilarious to call each other ‘dudes’ right now, so it seemed too perfect when I found this shirt. Even with his new outfit all picked out and ready to go, I worry. I worry that some bratty kid is going to make fun of my son for what he is wearing or not wearing for that matter. What if he’s the only kid without a brand new pair of sneakers? His pair from last year still fits and it seems a bit silly to buy a new pair just because. But yet here I am sitting and worrying about it.

Last year we spent the whole school year battling James’s fear of the ‘school bus’. Finally, in May, he decided he was ready to ride the bus. Even though this is a hurdle we’ve already crossed, I sit here and panic about whether or not it will be the same bus driver. What if they’re not as nice? What happens if James forgets where to go when he gets off the bus? Will he remember to grab his backpack? With all of these things completely out of my control, I can’t help but worry about my little guy. I’ve equipped him with everything he needs to know and all the skills to help him with even the unexpected situations, yet still I feel that gut wrenching anxiety that makes me want to tail the bus all the way to the school in the morning.

I look back on James’s junior kindergarten year and despite having an amazing experience, I still remember the few negative things that happened. I can still picture the look on his face when we dropped him off into the chaos of the playground with hundreds of other parents in the morning. I know the exact words that came out of his mouth when he was bullied for the first time. I remember when he was disappointed about missing field trips because he was just too sick to send to school. It’s funny how easy it is to focus on all the things that have caused us stress, even when all of the good experiences are far too many to count.

So today I write this post for all the moms out there who are like me… who will worry all day long while their child has an amazing first day at school. This is for the mothers who will lose sleep over protecting their children from all the negative things that are bound to happen but will be forgotten in an instant. And finally, this for the moms that feel like maybe they haven’t done the best job preparing for the first day of school. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much time, energy and love you put into making your child’s first day of school a good one… there will still be unexpected road bumps to remember. The important thing is that we remind ourselves and each other that we’re good moms, doing the best we can… even if it does mean we tail the school bus for just a few days.

Comments

Don’t Worry Mom… I’ll be fine. — 3 Comments

  1. You are definitely not alone. I think we remember our own challenges in school and we don’t want our kids to have those experiences too. This year we moved between school years and my son is attending a new school. My daughter is starting high school! I was a stressed out mess! So far she loves high school so much more than junior high and my son has a ton of new friends. The anxiety remains though!

    • Wow it sounds like you had a lot of adjustments this year! I can only imagine the stress and anxiety that comes with that. Thanks for letting me know that I’m not alone and sharing your story. I am glad to hear your kids have adjusted so well.