Edgy Mama: things I’ve learned since my kids have been in school

Now that my children have attended “big” school for several years, I’ve learned how to negotiate, nay, survive, schooling as a parent. Here are some things I’ve learned, the hard way, which I thought I’d share with you.

Teachers don’t like being referred to as baby sitters or even as childcare professionals. While it’s necessary to have a good sense of humor to teach, this is not something that teachers find funny.

School nurses can’t write parents a prescription for Xanax or Oxycontin or Ambien or anything else for that matter. No matter how much you beg.

Your child’s school supply list isn’t a suggestion. The teacher’s wish list is. And granting a teacher’s wish now and again is good karma. But it won’t necessarily help your kid’s grades.

In fact, don’t try to bribe teachers or administrators. Unless you want to spend time with the superintendent of schools — who is scarier than any principal you’ve ever met (because that’s his or her job).

Do instill a healthy fear of the principal in your kid. Remember that you don’t want to ever go back to the principal’s office either.

Also, while end-of-year presents are nice, don’t give soap or bubble bath to your kid’s teachers. That’s what all the other parents give them because they can’t think of anything better. But it makes teachers think you think they don’t bathe enough (take it from a former teacher who would repeatedly sniff her pits after opening 18 bars of soap on the last day of school).

Even if your kid is in the same school as last year, you still need to fill out approximately 15 forms before school starts — even if nothing’s changed since last year.

In fact, you can’t send in an all-encompassing “my kid has my permission to attend every field trip this year” form. You must sign and date every single permission and consent form that comes home. Or your kid will end up sitting in the school library while her classmates are visiting the WNC Nature Center.

Actually, it’s a Media Center, not a library, and the people who work there are Media Center Specialists, not librarians.

Don’t inadvertently turn the school’s Media Center books in at your local public library. Unless you’re willing to pay for them.

Don’t park in the bus lane. School bus drivers need to have patience with students, but not with their parents.

Don’t use the bathroom on the kindergarten hall unless it’s an emergency.

School bathrooms and cafeterias are an important part of childhood purgatory. But since you’re an adult now, there’s no reason you have to revisit them.

Other parents don’t like it if you offer constructive criticism of their kid’s behavior or performance in the Christmas pageant or talent show.

It’s not a “Christmas pageant”; it’s a “holiday program.”

Even if you’re running late or have a hair appointment, don’t break in the carpool line. Unless you want your kids to know what road rage looks like.

Don’t waylay the principal at the end of the day to complain when he or she is trying to make sure 500 kids get home safely and really needs an adult beverage. 

Even if you know the principal needs an adult beverage, don’t offer him or her one on school property. Wait until you run into him or her at the bar after school.

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