First Week of School Mom is on her game.
You’ve seen her around—the lady carrying two-dozen homemade cupcakes and wearing a statement necklace before 9 am. Maybe she handed you a PTO flyer or gave you a hug at kindergarten drop-off? You need to know a few things about her.
She makes excellent after school snacks. This year, she finished the pastry-filled first week by taking a tiny little pumpkin and turning it into a batch of chewy chocolate chip muffins. She even used the fall-themed muffin tin liners she’s been saving in her baking cabinet because she is the type of lady who has a baking cabinet. She has buttermilk in the fridge just waiting to be turned into fluffy school-morning pancakes because First Week of School Mom? Definitely has time for that.
First Week of School Mom makes sure her sneauxflakes choose their school clothes the night before school. This is also when she fills a row of stainless steel water bottles to chill overnight in the fridge and signs assignment notebooks and permission slips. She empties the dishwasher before she goes to bed, sets her coffee pot to make coffee 15 minutes before her alarm goes off, and lines up everyone’s back packs by the back door. She resists adding love notes to them but only because her kindergartener is illiterate and the boys would probably eat them to avoid being teased. She makes a mental note to ask Alexa about edible paper.
First Week of School Mom signs up for all of the things.
First Week of School Mom has already volunteered to come into half of her kids’ classrooms on the weekly and throw parties in a third. She has emailed the fourth kid’s teachers and already checked his gradebook to make sure he is on top of his due dates. She has signed up to chaperone two field trips. This month. She made her elementary kids’ teachers a tiny little happy-first-weekend gift that she could totally pin, but you know what? She didn’t even look at Pinterest because First Week of School Mom IS Pinterest.
First Week of School Mom is dressed with her hair done and her makeup on by 8:15 so she can walk her kids to school. She wears an apron over her dress to scramble eggs and wipe down bathrooms while the children enjoy a screen-free morning with outside playtime. She packs lunches at the direction of the children while they eat breakfast because everyone knows morning lunches taste better than bento boxes that have sat in the fridge overnight.
Her middle-schooler has a hot breakfast before his bus comes at 6:50 am. He never has to run down the street waving his arms over his head and pleading “Waaaaaaaait! My mom says I have to get an Uber! Waaaaaaaaait please!”
The only problem with First Week of School Mom is that she doesn’t stick around very long.
By week 2, she only pops her coiffed head in occasionally to whip up a batch of cookies or intuit that her seventh grader has a crumpled-up math worksheet in the very back pocket of his backpack. She’s definitely gone in the morning when it’s time to walk the kids to school. We have all seen their real mom in 5-year-old gym shorts and sandals. And those are her fancy walk-to-school clothes.
Last year, Real Mom waited an entire quarter to check her sixth grader’s gradebook and discover his homework boycott. She started buying Froot Loops by October. When the kids asked for pancakes in the morning, she tossed them a box of frozen sliver dollars and grunted in the direction of the microwave because she can’t use her words before she drinks her coffee.
By second semester, Real Mom is throwing a black banana, a handful of M&Ms, and a hot dog she tore up with her fingers into her kid’s lunchbox and tossing it to him from the front porch as he runs to school. He’s running, of course, because he was so into Pokemon on Netflix that he forgot school was even a thing. Luckily Real Mom heard the school bell, and freedom always makes her salivate and rush the children out the door.
First Week of School mom clearly has some issues. What is she trying to prove? To whom? Real Mom, though, is not a perfect anecdote. She stresses me out and drops a lot of balls. My goal for this school year is to find a better balance. I am looking for someone who doesn’t strive for so many head pats but shows up for the important stuff in February the same way she does in September.
Have any of you wise moms out there seen this unicorn who exists somewhere between Betty Crocker and Betty Draper? How do you stay on your mom game all year long?