Oh! You are a Mom, Mom!
Aubrey was born in 2013 and ever since then I’ve been cruising through the parenting role. Sure there have been a few instances of true awakening. Like that day I was at a day party about to or already close to be shit faced wasted when I got the call that my baby had a fever. If you ever need to sober up quickly, that’ll do it! Also, since I live alone with Aubrey, there have been a few night scares, but for the most part, I cruised by, especially since my weeks with her are divided among my mom and her father. But now we entered a whole new ballgame! My kid started school. Not just any school, she is in a charter school that required me to sign a contract to adhere by all their policies including homework completion, attendance goals, mandatory Saturday school participation, and high standards on performance. I’ve had friends tell me how intense it can be but I guess I was more of a “we worry when we get there,” kind of warrior. Well, here we are now, and this is when I realized that now I am a Mom, MOM!
When your child enters school life changes in more ways than one. Mentally, physically, and overall your focus and perspectives on things change. You know that pressure and underlying reminder in your core that you are in charge of a child and their safety, well now add 10 pounds to that because now you are responsible for their future too!
When you sit through the welcoming meetings and orientations, mentally you go into shock and complete surprise, grasping how important your role is as a parent in their education. We are now to pick up this new job as Teacher’s aide and personally I didn’t go to school for Teaching. I don’t have the skills it takes to teach a kid. But, it is understandable that the work does start at home Whichever way we can do it, it has to be done. You need patience and every little bit of energy to do the homework and make sure they are set for the next day. Also you need to remind yourself that you can do it. It can quickly feel overwhelming. I work 9 to 5, and then there is dinner, making sure she is bathe, now we adding homework packets and reading logs, and studying sight words, sign forms, sign up to volunteer, and “Mami can I watch some TV?” Also I have to make sure all of this is done by 8:30pm so I don’t have to drag her out of bed in full tantrum at our 6:15am wake up call. Just the thought can trigger anxiety. I also felt scared for a few reasons. Scared my kid won’t perform up to par because I wasn’t doing what I had to. I was scared the teachers would judge me if I messed up. Especially on week one when I mistakenly skipped a few pages of the homework packet that were due the next day. I was scared of all the ways I could mess up because I wanted the best for her.
Then there was the physical part of it. I was tired everyday. Before school started our wake up time was 8am, if that, and Aubrey would go to daycare half of the week, and the other half to my mom’s house. I had free time twice a week and every other weekend. Now I had to be up by 6:15am, take her to school which was across town, and then head to work. After work I would have to go to my mom’s to pick up Aubrey. I do homework with her there and made sure she had dinner then we would go home. I tried to let her watch 30 mins of TV, squeeze in bathe time, then lights off to make sure she was asleep by 8:30pm. By this time I was exhausted and everything I used to do in my free days was out the windows. Catching up with chores, self care, writing, and catching up with my friends or my favorite shows. I was exhausted. I also felt that due to the routine I wasn’t having quality time with Aubrey. We barely got time to play or talk because there was always something to do. I was bummed.
School is not something I could avoid. I was a single mom with a career and home schooling wasn’t an option. So I had to figure out how to make it work. I wanted the very best for Aubrey so I was willing to make sacrifices for her to get a great education. I believe in my baby's potential and all I had to do is make it work. First thing was scheduling and asking for help! I asked her dad to take her to school a few mornings a week so that I can have time to sleep an extra 15 or squeeze in a chore like dropping off the laundry. I asked my mom to bathe Aubrey as soon as she gets to the house so when I get out of work it was one less thing to do. I also noticed the later in the week Aubrey had less energy for homework. So what we do now is Monday we do Monday’s through Wednesday’s homework from her packet and Tuesday we did Thursday’s and some of the weekend’s homework. This way the rest of the week we didn’t have to worry about homework. We got to do stuff together instead. Also, since I took a 20-30 min cab every morning to her school I used this time to do reading and sight word practice. Lastly, I also started to force myself to get up after she has fallen asleep. I get up and use the quiet hours to take a relaxing bath, to catch up on my beauty rituals, chores, and on my writing.
I am making it work and I know that there will be more challenges as she grows. Next is working on an extracurricular activities during the weekends. The focus is Aubrey’s development. When we have children we must know what we sign up for. We also must have the confidence in ourselves as parents to know that we can and will make it work. I am making sure I get my rest and don’t push myself too hard as my baby needs me. Yes, now I am a MOM, MOM because my role expanded and it requires a lot more of my attention and participation but I am also getting a lot of joy from it. It is thrilling and joyous to see that in less than 4 weeks my baby is reading full sentences and comes home excited about her day. She loves school and looks super adorable in her uniform. I am excited to see her grow in this new chapter in her life and also proud of myself for making it work however best I can.