Today was the first day of first grade for Arch. I didn’t cry. I stayed with him until the teacher shooed us out. I didn’t need to stay. Arch didn’t need me to stay. He’s in a class with several kids from last year, plus kids from his various teams. He knows the teacher because she sends her kids to the same daycare provider that Arch goes to. Basically, he was in his element. No biggie.
I had an opportunity to interact with some of the mothers who volunteer at the school on this first day and they were all saying what a relief it was to have their kids occupied again during the day. I wish I had more time with Arch. When I hear this type of talk, everything in me turns away from these women. I am jealous and angry. I also know that if I were at home with kids all day like they are, I’d be glad for some peace and quiet too. Isn’t this the way for so many moms who work? We are always in the middle of pursuing things that make us satisfied and whole and caught in the guilt and shame of not being a “community mom.” This was the language that the women used to identify themselves today. I was not included in this group. I guess because I am not a regular volunteer at the school, I am not a member of the community.
Each time I interact with these women, they take pains to remind me that because I work, I am not one of them. I smile and nod and then walk out of there and sit in my car and sometimes cry, sometimes I’m mad. Today I tried to muscle through it with kindness. Today I also wrote a blog post about it.