Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Being a Preschool Mommy

Our oldest (4 years) has been going to a wonderful church preschool for the past two years. We love it and so does he. You know they're doing something right when he asks if he can go to school!

Anyway, I'm not friends with any of the moms in his class. We say "hello" in passing and make small talk when we happen to stand next to each other during pick up times. I believe most of the families that attend the preschool also attend the church. So it makes sense that a lot of the moms know each other and have lots to talk about. Sometimes, I get a feeling of being an outsider when I see small groups of moms chatting and laughing, but I'm not in that mix. I'm pretty shy, so I'm certainly not going to walk up to them and join in on the conversation.  Ugh, feelings of middle school start popping up. Don't get me wrong...when I do chat with these ladies, they are all super nice.

However, the things I see going on there make me question whether I'm a good enough preschool mommy.

Sound crazy?

It is. But it's true.

There is pressure to being a preschool mommy.

I have no idea what preschool was like when I was four back in 1981. (There, you now know my age!) I assume there was the usual birthday party invitations, bringing snacks for the class, having a Christmas book exchange.

Well, let me just tell you what goes on nowadays. It stresses me out. It has made me question myself. It has made me a bit angry, too.

At my son's school (and let's face it, this probably happens at most schools across the country) I've seen mommies this:
  • When unable to attend another kids birthday, they bring a gift for said child. OK, while I think it's sweet and thoughtful to bring a birthday gift for a child, is it going a little far to bring one for the kids that you don't know on a personal level? Where you and your child's only interaction with them is at preschool? Am I being unreasonable? 
  • Speaking of birthday parties, these parties for 4 year olds that cost minimum $300 just for the party (not including cake, decorations) just drive me crazy! What expecation is being set for next years party? Why do we need to invite every child in the preschool class? And what happened to having a fun party at home with just simple cake and ice cream? We did this last year with our oldest and it was a huge success. We invited his three closest friends, they played inside and out, ate cake, hit a pinata, and opened gifts. It was so much fun! 
  • And lastly, as I dropped him off Thursday for the last day before Christmas break, I caught wind of at least 3 moms who brought Christmas 'gifts' for each child. OMG, am I now supposed to bring gifts for 16 kids?? 
Please hear me: I LOVE TO GIVE. I'm HAPPY to give. I LOVE being involved in my boys' preschool class. I get such joy out of seeing him learn, participating in Zoo Days, Fireman visits, etc. But I don't feel the need to buy 'things' all the time. We don't have the money for it, and even if we did, I'm not sure I would spend it on those kinds of things.  

I guess I don't understand the reasoning behind it. Is it out of true kindness? Is it out of a sense of wanting your child to be well-liked (or wanting to be well-liked yourself)?

Those scenarios mentioned above are what stress me out about being a preschool mommy. And make me question myself as to whether I'm doing it 'right.'

On Thursday, as I was stressing to my husband about whether I should've bought gifts for all the kids in class, I was tagged in a Facebook post with a link to this article: Why You're Never Failing as a Mother
It was a true reminder that I don't have to be the 'perfect' mommy and bring Christmas gifts to each kid in my son's class. I'm doing a great job just being a mommy in general. I love my boys, I spend all my days with them interacting, baking, creating, singing, playing, name it. That's good enough. That's more than good enough.

Are you a preschool mommy? Do you ever feel pressure in the preschool classroom? I'd love to hear your thoughts!