Dear Momma on the First Day of School,

I see you.

You’re clutching your second cup of coffee as you yawn sleep away.

You meant to make cute signs and put together Pinterest gifts for the teachers. You meant to get all those clothes organized and laid out before this morning. You promised yourself you wouldn’t hit snooze.

But life.

And instead, you’re shoulders deep in the dryer looking for a matching sock and yelling “brush your teeth” for the tenth time. Your eyes roll so far back you see your brain smoking as you remember you don’t have enough time for those pictures everyone else will post before the day’s end.

Maybe you do have enough time for that picture, but the moment you pull out of your driveway, your second grader remembers her lunch. On the kitchen counter.

Maybe you mourn the end of summer. Or maybe you’re celebrating the end of constant sibling bickering.

I see you.

You watch as the baby you held in your arms just a few years ago holds your hand as she walks into kindergarten with her head held high and bows in her hair. She squeezes tight with one last hug before you walk out the door wondering how you got here.

Or maybe your seventh grader, with his cool hair and anxious eyes, asked you to drop him off just a little bit farther back in the line, and your heart breaks just a bit because this is normal. But you weren’t ready for adolescent distance. Not yet.

Or maybe your head is spinning as you watch your senior get in his car for his last first day of school. And you’re just trying to breathe, gulping air but you can’t because your heart is in your throat.

I see you.

Questions swirl in your heart, regardless of their ages. Will she make friends? Will kids be kind this year? Will his teacher show grace? Will she learn?

As mothers, we’re constant in our wondering. Wondering if our children will be safe, loved, and supported. Wondering how long we should wait before we rescue. Wondering if we’ve done all we can.

I see you.

Your hand reaches out to brush his hair from his eyes but he ducks his head. You beg for one decent photo, knowing they hate this part, but you want to clutch this memory forever.

You think all day about them. Did they like their lunch? Were the supplies you bought the right ones? Did they think about you? Did teachers take the time to see your kid? Really see him?

You ask a bazillion questions when you see them at the end of their day. The answers you get? Not ever enough. Ever. Because you want to know ALL THE THINGS.

But I see you.

Because the real struggle we share on this day each year is the passing of time. We find ourselves in the knowing. We feel just how fleeting each moment is, but we also find ourselves wishing some days away because they can be so dang hard.

And we’re caught in this paradox. We want to hold tight to times that were always meant to disappear. Our children were never mean to stay little. We yearn to fix the shirt or tie the shoe of the very humans that are, one day, no longer supposed to need us.

We worry. We fret. We celebrate. We cheer.

This first day of school crashes with waves of doubt and excitement. What will their future be? Who will our children become? What if I screw up?

I see you, Momma.

And here’s the thing you need to remember. No one on this planet will champion your babies quite like you. So if today is a crazy-mixed up mess of happy-sad emotions? You need to know.

It’s okay.

Because being Mom means there is not a right way to feel. You’re allowed to cheer your babies on as they walk into another school year, while quietly mourning the loss of one more summer.

You’re allowed to not shed a tear or feel one single bit of sadness. You’re also allowed to show up to the school parking lot with a box of tissues, puffy eyes, and a red nose.

There is no right way for moms to do the First Day of School.

So as you muddle through with a tender heart, know I see you. You’re not alone. Don’t compare how you feel, how you think, or how you act to a single soul. No.

Be you, Momma.

Be the warrior-mom I see standing as she sends her babies to the classroom. Because she’s beautiful. She’s amazing. She’s a mom who survived this day.

And Momma? You’re doing a fantastic job.

With all the love of a fellow Momma,


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3 Responses to Dear Momma on the First Day of School,

  1. Lynn Wisniewski says:

    Beautiful Heather. Thank you for helping others believe in themselves, accept themselves and accept one another. My son asked me on the way to his first day of 3rd grade today “Mom, I wonder why God made everyone different.” Isn’t it beautiful that we are?
    Thank you for having the courage to share yourself with us. YOU are doing a great job.

  2. Jaci Chasteen says:


    I can’t possibly articulate what your blog means to me. I often times have to flag your emails because I am too busy at the moment to really read your words. But, when I do that, the message is usually one that I needed that day, rather than the one I actually read it. Today, however, I opened and I read. And I cried. And cried some more. Being a Mom is my proudest accomplishment, yet the most difficult job. As a High School Assistant Principal, I know the struggles kids go through at school. When it comes to my 3 precious humans, I worry. A lot. But your words today, were exactly the words I needed to read. Thank you for your vulnerability. Thank you for your raw and real heart. Thank you.

  3. Patricia M Dorsey says:

    I helped in my friend’s Kindergarten class yesterday on their first day of school. I saw all of this! I didn’t see any parents crying but I sure did see 2 little ones crying. I, too, had to let my sons go to school and now they’re 41 and 37 years old! I just shared your post onto my FB page and wish I had it yesterday to distribute to all those Kindergarten parents!