How This Mom Deals With The Dreaded Back to School Night Sign-Up Form
My two sons have always had a working mom.
At our house, the nightly ritual consists of all of us sitting down together, my two boys working on their math or spelling, and me working on whatever project I’ve been assigned for the week. At dinner, we fill each other in on what our day looked like, and at bedtime we talk about the day to come. We set off each morning on our own adventures, I head to the office and my boys head to school. We repeat this routine, and it works for us… most of the time.
Why I Dread Back To School Night
I have to confess, I’ve always dreaded back to school night each August--the time when teachers pass around the dreaded parent-volunteer sign-up sheet. I used to cringe when I saw the amount of activities available to sign up for: field trips, field day, birthday and holiday parties, and so much more.
Of course, I’d love to be a super-mom with the ability to bend time and be at all of them, but that’s just not the case. Reluctantly, I’d put my name down to help grade papers and make things at home, hang my head low and hope that the other parents didn’t think I was lazy.
One year my son’s teacher pulled me aside afterward and told me that she noticed I hadn’t signed up for much and tried to get me to sign up for more. Under pressure, I over-committed and regretted it, growing more tired and frustrated with each passing event. Being stretched like that made me feel bad, like I was somehow hurting my kids because I had a job. I looked at the other moms at times and wished I could trade places with them.
My Back To School Turning Point
Then something happened. Last year my youngest son started first grade and it was the first time I had both of my kids in full-day schooling, which meant that the time I could devote to helping in each classroom was divided in half. You can imagine how I felt.
Midway through the year, however, I noticed something: my kids were still happy. They still came home with smiles on their faces, excited to tell me about their days. All the pressure I’d put on myself for not being able to help in their classrooms was for nothing.
Sure, they probably would have liked me to be there more, and I would have liked it, too, but my ability to sign up for events and tasks didn’t change my relationship with my kids. In fact, our relationships have grown stronger this year because we treasure our time together.
God Helps Me Balance My Roles
I learned that my working status doesn’t define me as a mother. And neither does yours. If you’re reading this and you work – or if you’re reading this and you don’t work – you need to hear that as much as I did. Let it sink in for a minute.
I wholeheartedly believe that God gave me work to do, and he also blessed me with my kids. Since God provided both of these roles, I have faith that he’ll help me balance it all. Of course, each family is different. Sometimes God calls you to work out of the home, sometimes he calls you to work in your home – a full time job in itself sometimes – and that’s okay. Your working status doesn’t define you as a parent.
So this school year I’m cutting myself a break. When the sign-up sheet passes by, I’ll take on only what is realistic, knowing that I’m fulfilling God’s calling both as a mother and an employee the best I can.