Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Beyonce Mom

When my oldest was in kindergarten I used to freak out about all the little things.  Did he have the right backpack? Were his crayons the right brand? I read all the newsletters and emails from the school and he was early to everything.  For someone like me, an unorganized, non-email reading person, this was a hectic time and a struggle.  

When it was time for his first big project, something that involved decorating a shoe box, I pretty much lost it. I remember worrying because we used a boot box instead of shoe box. I took him to school that morning so his boot box wouldn't be crushed or ruined by that rough school bus ride through town.  Making our way down the kindergarten hall we passed many kids and their mothers freaking out over their projects.  One mother ran past us yelling for her son to "waaaaaiiiit!" and that she brought "the box he forgot!" like she was saving him from a catastrophe.  

Everyone was freaking out.  Everyone except one mother.  She was calmly walking down the hallway, holding a latte from Starbucks, her chin up and I swear her hair was blowing ever so slightly.  She looked like the Beyonce of suburban moms walking through all the kindergarten craziness--all confident and cool as hell.   Her daughter was following behind her carrying her own shoebox project.

"Who are you, and why aren't you freaking out?," I asked breathlessly, admiringly, as I balanced my baby on one hip while holding the precious boot box project and trying to keep my toddler from pushing his big brother, the kindergartner.

"Because she's my third kid, I don't get freaked out about kindergarten projects anymore," she said kindly, bending her head down to me slightly.  "You'll see, it will happen to you too."

I've held onto that prophecy given to me by the Beyonce of suburban mothers.  

Last week, it sort of finally came true.  I was dropping off my preschooler (my fourth kid, my fourth time through preschool) and all the moms balancing younger sibling babies on their hips were up in arms about why the school wasn't encouraging Valentines' cards.  

"Why are they taking everything away from us?," one young mother who had a crazy look in her eye said almost on the verge of tears. 

I recognized that look. It was the look of moms hoping they are doing everything right and wanting to make sure they do everything they can for their kids.  It was also the look of being tired because they have younger sibling babies at home and probably not getting a whole lot of sleep.  

Then they started talking about kindergarten registration and whether or not they should have their kids wait for kindergarten or not.

I knew this could be my time, my time to be that wise, calm mom. I stood up a little straighter, lifted my chin and hoped for that slight breeze to blow my hair like a Beyonce video.  

"I know [pause for effect] it is always a good idea to wait," I said in my most calm, wise voice.  "We waited to put my oldest son in kindergarten and it was the best decision we made for him."

Three moms stepped closer and looked up at me.  I spoke about the why's and how's and when's of our decision to my captive mom audience. They looked at me with adoring crazy, tired eyes, just like I had looked at that mom years ago.

"Each child is different, so you just have to do what you feel is right," I began my conclusion getting ready to make a dramatic exit with maybe a little Beyonce strut.  "I'm just speaking from my own experience as an older, more mature mother.  Not that you guys aren't mature because you are totally mature, I mean not old. I just meant that I'm probably more immature and I'm really old.  You know because I'm like an old mom and you guys are young, but not that you don't know anything..." I was losing my audience.  They smiled and nodded a maybe this old mom is nuts and we should just ask the preschool teacher for advice smile.

Okay, so my moment didn't last long and I may never be as cool as that mom I met years ago or Beyonce.  But I do feel a lot more relaxed about my youngest going to kindergarten next year. No freak outs for me.  

What being the older mom, and about to go through having a kindergartner for the fourth time, has really taught me is that it doesn't matter if everything is just right or if it's a boot box or a shoe box. What matters is showing up (when you can) to the class performances, being proud of your kid's work, encouraging them and not worrying so much about everything.  I've also learned you need to let go of the guilt, don't worry about what the other moms are doing differently and try to enjoy it because kindergartners are really cute.


  1. I am right here with you. I keep saying "this isn't my first rodeo" and I'm SO glad for that! :D