04 Feb Am I Class Mum Material?
Karen Miles just signed up to be Class Mum…what has she done?? Here is one mother’s experience on becoming a class mum.
I never thought I’d do this. I don’t know what’s come over me. I replied ‘yes’ to an invitation to fill the role of 3F Class Mum 2016.
In our lead story Permission Note Fatigue in the February issue of CHILD Magazine, which was very much inspired by my life and the lives of the women/mums around me, you’d think I’d lost my head.
I find school life completely overwhelming as a parent. There are too many calls made upon parents to volunteer, attend school events – the majority of which are during working hours when I’M AT WORK supporting my family – and breezily stay on top of an overload of school newsletters, daily notes and permission slips.
My husband Stu looked more than concerned when he supportively quizzed, “Are you sure you want to do this?” Even the lovely Ms F of 3F politely questioned my announcement at drop off this morning.
You see, I’ve never been a class mum. How could I be a super organised/perfect/cupcake-baking type if I wince at the sight of another note requiring ‘pack a pasta school lunch for Italian Day’? I love spaghetti, I’ve been to Italy, but celebrating a country by designing an outfit in the colours of their national flag to wear to school? It’s too much.
The notion of a class mother also troubles me. Shouldn’t it be class ‘parent’, not ‘mum’? Does anyone have the time to fill this role? Why in our modern age of parenting (steps up on soapbox) do schools even ask folks to do it at all?
When the invitation came to me, my immediate and honest response was fear. Fear of letting people down, fear I’d just blown any sense of time management for 2016 and fear of not meeting the Supermum stereotype I’d clearly built up in my mind of what a class mum needs to be. There she was, back again, in all her super capey glory.
Here’s the three key reasons why I said yes, and one caveat: I’m publishing my rationale below so we can reflect back in a school term’s time on how I’m fairing and share a collective chuckle. Let’s face it, it could only be a matter of weeks before you’ll find me rocking in a corner mumbling incoherently.
Why I Said Yes
- My daughter Scarlett’s having trouble making friends at school, still. At home she’s confident, funny and loud, but at school she’s anxious, lonely and upset. This breaks my heart. I can still feel the sting of sometimes being left out and friendless, whether it was Year 3, Year 12 or around the water cooler last week. Do we ever really recover from that? The plan, therefore, is to actively create opportunities for her and her classmates to build friendships. I’m starting with a Valentine’s Day afternoon tea party at our home (on a weekend) for the 3F parents and their girls. We’ll have a super simple craft activity all about making friends, and I’ll bake cupcakes! (I actually make a pretty mean buttercream.)
- I’d like to build a greater sense of connection with my daughter’s school. When I’m at her school, I don’t feel like I belong. I don’t know many of the other parents and I can see they’re forming friendship circles that extend beyond car line and I’d really like to join the fun. The parallel between reason one and reason two is not lost on me.
- Rounding things out, I ‘d like to understand how her school works and possibly even contribute to it. To be the voice of the working mum if that would help, and put my Permission Note Fatigue where my mouth is. Time to walk the talk.
- OK, I know I said there were three reasons, but there’s a secret number four and five. I hope this Class Mum role will provide me with some new and interesting ways to spend time with my daughter – I can’t keep watching My Little Pony reruns with her and remain awake. I want to spend more quality time with my kids doing activities we both enjoy, so maybe this could help.
- I secretly wonder whether being class mum is a path to a greater sense of community and being part of something that helps other parents and their girls feel that too. I guess we’ll see?
Words by Karen Miles // Photography by Film Forum