I dread parent’s night at my kids school. Being in a sea of other parents always gives me a terrible case of Maternal Imposter Syndrome. They’re older, they’re richer, they’re more organized. They’re doing this parenting thing right and they make it look easy.
It’s gotten easier with time, and it’s easier with my biological kids. I remember the awkwardness when I was showing up for these things as a new stepmother. No one at the school knew me. I never did school pickups or dropoffs. But there I’d be at the parent-teacher conference, the school play, the back-to-school night. A third wheel in an already crowded room.
Those memories surged to the surface reading Joel Schwartzberg’s account of being a divorced dad in his kids’ classroom on back-to-school night.
Joel talks about the delight of getting to peek into his son’s desk, of seeing his daughters’ awkward kindergarten self-portraits. For all the parents, this is a chance to peer into the mysteries of their child’s school life. For Joel, there’s the special thrill of being there at all: school tends to be his ex-wife’s domain.
She does all the drop-offs, all the pick-ups, all the battles over homework and the morning rush to be on time. He gets the highlights when he picks the kids up for the weekend.
Divorced parents: how do you handle these awkward transitions with your family? My husband and I always went to all the school things, and hung out awkwardly with his ex-wife and her partner like acquaintances you don’t quite know how to talk to.
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