Creative Child

A Mom’s First Milestone

by Alisa Mirabal

With parenting there are always firsts. The first time they smile, laugh, crawl, walk and ultimately go off to school and do independent things. We encourage them to reach these next milestones and then celebrate their amazing achievements. The pride we feel as moms melts away all the stress, fatigue and parental anxiety that we have gone through up to that point. It is pure joy. 

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What happens when our children start exploring the world in a greater capacity, though? Along with parental joy comes parental anxiety, a new feeling I was not prepared to experience when my daughter ran for 4th grade Student Body Treasurer.

As an independent, working mom, I try to teach my children to identify new adventures often and then to work hard toward achieving these dreams. Leadership is a skill that I believe kids should work on throughout their whole lives, so why not start early?

This year we achieved another first in my family; however it was mine. My daughter, Mia, is 9 and a fun, spunky, independent third grader. She is liked by everyone and seems to excel at everything she tries, even when she’s just "winging it".

So I encouraged her to run for a position on the student council.

Mia running for president

This is a pretty big deal, as anyone in 3rd grade and up can run a campaign for one of four positions: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary. She agreed and began her run for treasurer, as she loves to work with money. Mia loves earning money, counting money and selling anything to get it, including random snacks from our pantry in front of the house. The kids were tasked with creating a campaign poster, writing a speech and presenting it to the school in order to run for office. Stressful, right?

Mia handled the prep work brilliantly and wrote her own speech. She showcased her great math skills, fun personality and included a chorus of “Mia is all about the money, money, money I work so hard for.” She had to have this song because it was her differentiator. Then in the days leading up to the vote, she found out that she was the only 3rd grader running and that she was against her 4th grade neighbor and friend.

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Her nerves started to show themselves but we worked together each night practicing her speech so she would feel comfortable on her bigh. The night before the event she was feeling good, but I was not.

As I watched her practice and talk about what she was going to wear, I started to get parental anxiety butterflies, as if I was on the hot seat the next day. I went to bed that night telling my husband that I was really nervous for her. 

So why was I feeling this parental anxiety? It wasn’t that I thought she wouldn’t do well, because I knew she would do her best. It wasn’t that I thought she wouldn’t win, because in reality I was prepping her and myself for a loss due to the stiff competition. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

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