My five-year old daughter has been going to school for two weeks now. Yet it felt like it’s only my first time to be a preschool mom. For one, I never had to bring my older child to school and wait upon her until classes were over when she was in kindergarten. It was simply because my work schedule was in conflict with her class schedule. I also do not remember ever interacting with her classmates’ mothers then, although I would see her class adviser and principal from time to time to check her progress or whenever her monthly tuition fee is due.
However, with my younger child, I find myself now in a different situation. For the first time, I am experiencing what I believe is the life of a regular preschool mom. I have to bring my little Z to school, wait for her until her classes are over, even if I have already hired someone to bring her to school and pick her up as well by tricycle. It wasn’t the second day of school that I started interacting with the other mothers in her preschool though–fellow moms who also diligently bring their children to school and wait until their children’s classes are over. Fellow moms who make sure that their children will see them anytime the latter would feel any anxiety in class, especially that it’s their first time to attend school.
Since Z is only five, my husband and I agreed that I would come to school with her all the time. After all, her classes last for only three hours. Moreover, transportation is rather expensive. To illustrate, from our house to my daughter’s school, which is in a nearby village, it would cost us PhP50 by tricycle (the primary mode of transportation, followed by jeepneys); whereas from our place all the way to Alabang (passing through the South Luzon Expressway), it would only cost us PhP45 by an air-conditioned van, and only PhP40 (especially if you’re a student) all the way to Manila by an air-conditioned bus (complete with TV and free wi-fi access). So I’ve decided that I would just stay at McDonald’s or Jollibee, where they offer free wi-fi access, while I do some research for my weekly work assignments and wait for her. Yes, it would still cost me money for some food or drink, but at least, I get very productive.
It’s during rainy days then that I would be forced to stay in her campus and wait for her as I start connecting with other mothers. However, since I’m not much of a conversationalist, especially with strangers, that made things a little difficult for me at first. I’d rather spend time by myself, reading a book, blogging, or surfing the net, instead of sharing stories with someone for hours, unless of course, it’s my hubby, close friends, or siblings that I have for company. Moreover, I used to look down on people, especially housewives, who huddle together, assuming that they’re always gossiping.
Realizing, however, that I couldn’t just keep to myself all the time while I’m in my daughter’s campus–and I was sure that I’d be waiting for her just outside her classroom more than once–I started to do away with my prejudice and reached out, starting a conversation with another mother, until I met other parents as well. I didn’t realize that the conversations we had could be stimulating, especially that I do not go out much and I usually only have my daughters to speak with most of the day, everyday. Short conversations with a few neighbors are okay, but again, I do not go out much. And if my husband’s too busy at work, I usually get to talk to him online for only five minutes or less.
I learned that I had many things in common with my fellow moms. Most of them, if not all, were career moms in the past who readily gave up their jobs to devote more time to their children and household. I was even surprised to find out that some of them also have no helpers, like myself, especially that they seem to have an expensive lifestyle, i.e., judging by the cars they drive. There are also some who held similar jobs like myself, if not have husbands who are in the same line of work or related fields as my husband. One also took up the same graduate course that I was taking up and well, like me, she also hasn’t finished the course yet. More, some of the mothers also have older children who attend the same school as my eldest child.
We’d share our views on education, class management in our children’s respective schools, children’s health, household concerns, and other topics that are of common interests to mothers like us, including gadgets and the Internet. Moreover, we all agree that we have enrolled our children in the best–if not the only authentic–Montessori school in the area.
I never thought that a preschool could be a good place for me to meet sensible and caring individuals who’d share the same interests, even work and educational background as myself. I thought my similarity with the women there ends with being a mother who has a child attending the same school. Or, maybe school itself has something to do with the kind of people one meets?