I may have once or twice mentioned the following facts:
1.) Walking into a room of strangers causes me great discomfort. 2.) This discomfort often causes me to swear while telling inappropriate stories. 3.) Moms scare me.
So imagine my level of anxiety as I walked into a room overrun with moms, most of them strangers, all of them appearing waaayyyy more savvy and smart and put together than me. I’m pretty sure the moment I walked into the room, I dropped an F bomb. To myself, of course. Nobody was talking to me. (Because I was hiding in the corner like a scared little kitten.) What was the purpose of this gathering, you may ask? Well, here’s something that if you don’t have kids you may not know: the pressure to volunteer at your kids’ school, especially if you’re a Stay At Home Mom Who Clearly Has Nothing To Do But Work Out, is overwhelming. I understand the need for the volunteers. There’s no money, there’s not enough teachers, there’s too many kids, but sometimes it feels like a competition of Who Can Be The BEST Mom? Who Has Their Shit TOGETHER? And I often feel like I do not have my shit together...that everyone is in on something that I’m missing out on. (It’s a lot like those awkward middle school years, come to think of it.) But I’ve gone...light...on the volunteering in the past years, so I decided that I needed to step it up this year. First year of kindergarten and all. Can’t just spend all my time at the gym in Lululemon for goodness sake. So, I took that number 2 pencil and I put my name down on that list and then there I was...at an Enrichment workshop with a couple hundred other moms where we were to be taught how to teach art to kids. (Because, you know, kids don’t get art. Or music. Or gym. Or anything that is fun and extremely beneficial to the rest of their lives.)
Walking into that room felt like the first day at a new school where everyone knows each other and you feel invisible. I had to give myself a pep talk and man up. Or Mom up, rather. I strolled around, grabbed a cup of coffee, found my table. I sat down, introduced myself to the woman sitting across from me and immediately began lamenting to her my insecurities in a curse-riddled monologue. Lucky for me, she did not seem offended, she laughed, and caught me up on what exactly it was I was volunteering for. As the table filled, it was obvious that most of these women were familiar with each other; they had older kids; they had been around the block; but I fell into an easy conversation with them because, as I had to remind myself, this is MY TRIBE. This is not scary. These Moms are not scary. I can volunteer. I will figure out where that “shed” is with all my “supplies” are and I will teach the kids art. I WILL BE OKAY.
And while I will again experience anxiety as I walk into a room full of strange five year olds (I will do my very very best not to curse), I’ll just look to my own personal tribe, my Son, beaming with joy that his mom is there.