Friday, September 28, 2007

I'm In Kindergarten - Again

My son just entered Kindergarten, and by virtue of being his (stay at home) mom, I have, too. I thought I might now have a bit of relief from the hustle and bustle of my former part-time Pre -K son and the requests and demands that came with the package. I was wrong. With Kindergarten starting I suddenly found myself being asked to join the PTA, help with the ice cream social, participate in the wrapping paper fund raiser, volunteer in the cafeteria, help as a hostess at functions, assist with bake sales and the holiday bazaar. There are also requests for donations - prizes, magazines, and art supplies. I don't mind all of this "participation" - I can pick and choose what I wish to do, but it is a lot to take in. Additionally, I want Lightning's school experience to be pleasant and memorable. My mom, Juniper, was very involved with my elementary school experience, and it was wonderful.

This new "involvement" includes working with and being around a lot of other MOMS. This means, of course, that there are cliques - flashback to middle school. Every day as Ginger Snap, Lightning, and I walk to school we see swarms of people, mostly moms. Some people walk alone with their kids (like me) but there are many Mommy Clumps.

I thought about whether or not I would want to be a part of a Mommy Clump and the answer is "No". I am happy to remain an Other. Of course there is no guarantee that you will be allowed into the Mommy Clump even if you want to be included. First you have to follow a few unwritten rules. You must have the right clothes, typically some sort of cargo short/pants and pullover "Polo" type shirt. Depending on the Clump, you either wear full makeup or none at all. If you are in full makeup then you must also have salon-styled hair, and a manicure or pedicure. If you wear no makeup, then your hair is typically short and wet, having that "just showered" look. To make the "look" complete, regardless of makeup or no makeup, you must have the all sporty cross trainer walking shoes. A coffee cup in hand is mandatory and you really should be pushing a stroller with at least one child in it. It is important to talk loud and walk slow. Stopping in the middle of the sidewalk mid-conversation and ignoring other people (as they try to walk around the Clump) is also a key to being a part of many of these groups.

If you are an Other then you don't have a clique (and probably no manicure either), but you can hold your own when it comes to wardrobe. In my low rise jeans, Mary Jane's, and vintage t-shirt, I plan to stay an Other (naturally being a Non-Conformist). In a lot of ways, I am living my child's existence with him, at least to a degree. At some point Lightning won't want me to be as involved. Now is a golden opportunity to embrace Lightning's life and do my best to ensure a happy childhood experience and represent him to the best of my ability.

Can you relate?

Famous Lightning quote on the second day of school: 'Mom, there are 5 million kids in my school.'