Back to school is not new to me. I have three kids one is now in his second year of college and two are in high school! By now I should be flying high through back to school madness—not really even having much to do. I was separated back when I still had two in elementary school and one in middle school. Divorced by the time two kids hit middle school and the oldest was in high school. Despite my extensive single mom history, it seems that I might be the only person in the school circle aware of my status.
I seem to encounter the same issues with school administration and teachers every year post separation and divorce. It does not matter how pro-active I am, how many forms I fill out, or how blunt I have been in the past. School personnel still want me married and all of us living in the same household. I am not being dramatic. I want to preface the rest of this article with the following I already know; I live in a big school district with lots of kids, I know a million kids ride the bus each day, I know guidance and attendance are dealing with a ton of kids, I know everyone is busy and back to school is a crazy time. However, you would think in the past 5 or 6 years school personnel would finally understand my kids have TWO homes with TWO separate addresses—neither address more important than the other.
It is really disheartening that many of the on-line forms have room for only name and address. My ex-husband, douche that he can be, always races to fill it all out first even though our youngest lives with me full-time. My ex does not share any info the school sends to him with me. The school still does not send the info to me at all.
Shit finally hit the fan for me last Friday when I realized I had no busing information for my youngest child and, innocently, inquired from both school and bus personnel where I could get the information. I was told that their dad’s address was in “the system” as their bus stop and nothing else. Even though, when I purchased my home last year, I went to the attendance office, deed in hand, settlement papers freshly signed and copies for them. All that information must be in the trash. Cause now I am “an alternative child care provider” and the only way my house is recognized is to fill out that form each year for my child to get on and off the bus at the home he LIVES in. Crazy and sad!
Years of being Ms. Nice and Divorced have ended for me. I am really pissed that each year I have to find myself on the outside of school communication. My ex has the marital home and it seems that no matter what I say or do school personnel refuse to acknowledge my home and my status as the mother. My one child has learning support and some problems and I pointed out to all the administration last Friday, Superintendent on down, that when there is an issue at school EVERYONE immediately calls me at work or on my cell. They know who I am! They know I am the crisis responder for the family—not my ex. So why can they not have my mailing address? Why can’t they e mail me the same information as their dad? Just yesterday I got some signed forms from our last IEP meeting and the caseworker puts in my copy and their dads copy. I guess I have to go make the effort to get the copy to my ex? Why can’t she mail him his own freaking copy?
I remind myself that I do all this crap because I care about my children and care about their education. I try not to focus on the fact that I live in a district that probably has a minority of single parents and really does not care very much about them. I am trapped in a system that pretty much is not open to change either. I, however, have changed this year. I am right there—reminding and correcting things left and right! Hang in their fellow single moms!