I Need An Elementary School Fairy GodMother

I sat at my son’s school last night alone.

I watched Moms congregate to other Moms. The really well dressed ones. The hipster ones. The entirely ready to conquer the PTA ones.

And instead of picking a group. I sat alone.

Sure I introduced myself here and there, made some small talk so as not to seem like the one crazy Mom in the corner…but when it came to finding a tribe, I was a bit lost.

I’m still intimidated by the Elementary School atmosphere. I know. I know. I talk to the White House, yet here I am intimidated by navigating public school.

But it’s chaos. The millions of committees and pamphlets they send home. The forms. The ENDLESS FORMS. Permission slips and volunteer sheets. Bake sales, fundraisers, after-school enrichment.

I’ve been helping out the school when I can. Setting up a computer, volunteering my husband and I for the pumpkin patch bake sale. But I feel like, as a 1st grade Mom who should be a veteran…I am clueless.


What’s today? Where are we supposed to be? Does he have his snack? His lunch? His permission slip? Is today that field trip? Did I send the box tops? A sweatshirt? What time is pick-up again? Is there that PTA meeting today or tomorrow?

It just keeps going.

So I sat last night alone. Overwhelmed. And wishing for an Elementary School Fairy GodMother.


  1. I felt the exact same way at the last PTA meeting. Nobody sat at my table with me and I was the only one not driving a minivan. It’s a scary environment isn’t it.

  2. Wow, I get this more than I could say. I wish your son was in first grade with my son. What are the chances of you guys picking up & moving to the Bay Area? 🙂

  3. Ditto.

  4. Ah, the problems of aging children and mothers. I have been considering this for some time as a post…how I felt lost when I didn’t have preschool mommies anymore. How I sat at open house this year realizing that even though my elementary mommy days were shaped by factors out of my control-that middle school is a different sort of mom life altogether outside of the parenting aspect. There is a strange social aspect to parenting and in relating to the other parents at and after school events.

  5. If you find one, can you send her to me when you’re done with her? I need a preschool fairy godmother. I know I’m supposed to be making connections with these other mothers – but I choke. Which is just made all the more ironic by how I act in business networking situations. AARGH!

  6. I hear you. I went to my first Parents Association Meeting last night. I sat in the back (quick escape route). I’m really not a fan of meetings but thought that it would be too rude to ask, “Could you please just email me the highlights?”

    I ended up signing up to be a class parent anyway. Oh, well…

  7. I want a preschool fairy. It is hard. I am consider the “hippie” mom because of some of our parenting choice. I am so glad that I have found twitter and blogs so I do not feel so alone anymore.

  8. I sat alone at the PTA meeting last night. I don’t know anyone since he just started 1st grade at this school this year and the school has almost 1,000 kids! Yikes! I’ve volunteered to be Room Parent and am trying to get involved and find my way but it is hard.

  9. I so agree, and I’m even on the PTSA, am active in other aspects of the school and have some close friends who I’ve met there… There’s something about it all that makes me feel like I’m in grade school myself all over again, navigating the groups and figuring out what needs to be done. Why did one family have a dinner party and not invite us? Wow…maybe I really should learn snowboarding so I could fit in with that other group….Did I remember the form that was due today, and how come everybody else seems to remember it? Bleh….Thanks for writing this!

  10. You need The White Trash Mom. She has written the bible on how to navigate elementary school.

    Tell Michelle I sent you.

  11. I know exactly how you feel!

  12. oh my gosh! and i thought *I* was the only one that felt this way. I don’t really feel the desire to fit in with the moms at my kids’ school (you haven’t seen my school, trust me on this one) but I am SOOO overwhelmed with everything. I feel like I can never catch up! Crazy! I forget things all the time. Now I force myself to add EVERYTHING to my outlook work calendar, since that’s the one I access the most, picture day,. blue day, red day, whatever-else day, etc..

  13. I remember feeling the exact same way. Funny thing that changes when kids get into first grade —- they introduce you to people.

    Before school they end up playing with the kids of your friends.

    When they get to school, you get to meet the parents of their friends. Let’s hope he picks good ones!

  14. I hear you – I’m still a reject when it comes to all things school. I tried for a while but you know what? Some of those women just will drive you CRAZY. As in batshit.

    I hope that you find your tribe – which you will – I’m sure of it.

  15. That’s because some of those moms are evil….

  16. So true! I feel that way with my son starting kinder – it’s like I’m back in freakin’ junior high! There’s the cool kids, the rich kids, the popular kids – UGH!

    My son’s school sent home fundraising material THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL – and the forms and paperwork and MONEY out of my pocket has not stopped since.

    Maybe you just weren’t feeling up to being uber-social? I feel that way sometimes, kinda off-my-game, not funny, not chatty, not charming.

    You’ll get your groove back – promise!

  17. My oldest daughter started Kindergarten last month, and I’m a former elementary school teacher.

    So friggin over-whelmed.

  18. What they don’t warn you about is your tribe will change a lot more than you will like. Every time my kids changed schools, sports, or activities, I had to find a new tribe. Sometimes it was easy but most of the time it wasn’t. My oldest went to college this year and my youngest started at high school and I am once again without a tribe. I wish I could say it gets easier.

  19. YES–the endless forms! And I haven’t found my “tribe” at school either. When I am forced to go to school functions without my husband, it is torture.

  20. They don’t let me at these things. I don’t have the correct feathered hair and required camo coat to attend. Besides, most of ’em can’t understand my correct English anyways (note: we live in the country, eh).
    But you know what’s really scary? Walking down the halls of your kids’ high school during class change.
    ::shudder:: Hold me.
    Good luck girl and don’t let the Stepford moms bring you down. Shine bright and fly high. And never volunteer to bring the cookies.

  21. Those Grade One classrooms can sure rocket you back to junior high school in a flash, can’t they? And speaking of flashes. . . . here’s how I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the PTA.

    Setting: Grade One meet-the-teachers assembly; classroom 18A. Silver-haired 46-year-old mother jammed inelegantly into pastel midget chair looks at 22 much younger (thinner, richer, more flexible, dentally superior, Beemer-driving) mothers who are nursing their babies, or waddling about pregnant and glowing, or making athletic runs to the bathroom with their toddlers. Silver-haired mother starts a slow freak out. Should have put on make up. Should have changed out of t-shirt. Should have walked instead of driving rusted-out station wagon. Should have tried to make Cool Girls like her. Now Kid will be alone on playground for rest of life. No play date invites for Kid. It’s his mother, you know. Very odd. Old, you know.

    How old? Look at her, over in the corner HAVING A HOT FLASH. But that hot flash turned out to be a power surge in more ways than one. For through the heat and the sweat and the mud and the blood came the answer. My age is a diadem: I am clearly the Queen. Cookies? Are you mad? I AM THE QUEEN. What sort of Queen would be caught dead in Juicy Couture? Of course my knees creak: I AM THE QUEEN.

    And like all queens, I have people who do things for me. Things like phone to remind me that Kid has come to school without his agenda or his sweater. Things like board school buses and go to wind-swept outdoor areas to observe insects and humus and the sad but true things that go on there. And especially to attend PTA meetings and then inform me as to what has gone on there, preferrably via email.

  22. Lorraine,

    I wish our kids went to the same school…I’d want to be your best friend :)!

  23. Thank you so much for posting this. My oldest is in 6th grade, and I still feel the same way. I also feel guilty whenever I have time to go to school to attend a function and I don’t know anybody there: I should have been there more often to help out! Instead I work. To make you feel better: I forgot to tell sitter that my son would be at an afterschool activity yesterday so she freaked out when only one kid got off the bus. I freaked out too when she called because I forgot too. And I am OOT on business… Today I told husband the wrong place to watch my son’s crosscountry race, so he missed half of it. I don’t know how people do it with even more kids… AND could you please also write a post on school fundraising please? I friggin’ hate them! How about if they don’t go to the poll to vote down school budget increase then our kids don’t have to sell stuff ALL THE TIME?!

Speak Your Mind