School is starting in less than a month. This causes very mixed emotions for me. I'm alternately: "YAY! the kids are going back to school. Get them out of our hair!!!" and "Ugh. I have to endure parent meetings and lunch duty."
See, I'm not in the "In Crowd." You know the moms: they sit in the parking lot with their Dunkin Donuts coffee after drop off; they chair various committees and sit on the PTA board; they have the prinicpal's ear (Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse).
I go to parent meetings and get there a little before the meeting begins, searching the crowd to see if there is someone I know whom I can sit with. If not, I sit on the sides or in the back, trying to keep a low profile. "In Crowd" moms are friendly, mostly, but they don't talk to me, and I think that many of them think things about me that may not necessarily be very nice. Maybe I come across as standoffish, as stuck up.
I am fully aware that this problem is mostly a problem of my own making. It may not really come across here, but I am a pretty shy person. I am loved and lovable, but I have never felt like people would like me. Growing up I was the weird kid. You know the girl in grade school whose hair and clothes were never quite right? The one who came to school and went home without talking to other kids very much? That was me. And that little girl is still inside, even though my hair and my clothes are much nicer now, I have a fabulous husband and gorgeous, smart children.
Also compounding this problem of mine is that I work for the parish where my kids go to school. I'm the Religious Ed Coordinator and communication about sacrament policies and parent meetings come from my office. I sometimes have to tell people what they don't want to hear. I sometimes have to say "no" to people in the "In Crowd." I think some people think that I am "holier than thou" because of my job and because of my shyness. I have felt a real shift in people's attitudes toward me as we've talked and gotten to know each other a little bit. There is definitely a thawing, like "Gosh, she's not the snot I thought she was!"
And the poor people I am friends with! I stick to them like glue during these meetings and dismissal times because I feel comfortable with them. I hope that I am not annoying!
So, what is a shy mom to do? I don't really have the time to sit on boards and chair committees, but I could probably help out here or there with things: work a table at the Christmas Bazaar, work an hour at the book fair. I can be more outgoing, more "smiley" around school. I can also change my attitude toward the "In Crowd" moms. They are individual women who have their imperfections, too. That they are loved and lovable as well.
I can tell the weird kid inside to settle down and relax. She has to understand that the people who don't like her don't know her. She has to understand that God loves the weird kids and the kids in the "In Crowd" the same, that He wants us to love one another as He loves us. She needs to know that she cannot control how others perceive her. All she can do is try to love others, especially those who make her feel sad inside, and be herself: the wonderful weird little kid that God made her.