There. I said it. Converse shoes are not for me. I just can’t stand them on my feet. Of course, that statement comes with an asterisk, but before you rage, let me explain.
My oldest son started kindergarten last fall. With the exception of an acquaintance (my husband’s old boss’s wife), I did not know a single kindergarten parent. Heck, I only knew three other parents in the whole school. I showed up on that first day, more nervous than my son, and for the first time in a very long time, I felt very insecure. Most of the other kindergarten moms stayed home. They all seemed to know each other very well (hugs and lunch plans.) Almost all of them knew the teacher, who I had only met for 30 seconds a few days earlier. In short, I felt like an outlier, I didn’t belong.
Our school doesn’t have buses, so the kindergarteners have to be dropped off and picked up by a sibling or adult every. single. day. Enter working mom guilt. As if I didn’t feel bad enough, I had my neighbor drop him off and pick him up for me four days a week, but arranged my work schedule so I could pick him up one day. So on that one glorious day per week, when my sweet boy ran to my arms at pickup, I began noticing things. Like nearly every single mom was wearing Converse shoes.
I love shoes, so it isn’t unusual for me to check out other women’s shoes, but it was almost comical. Black Converse, high top Converse, wedge Converse, sparkle Converse, pink Converse, white Converse (like old-school Chuck Taylors) and of course, the mom with the Converse that matched her daughters. The Converse were everywhere. Even my son noticed, asking why I didn’t have any Converse. (He does.)
And just like they all wore Converse, the moms were all hanging out together. I was the only mom who stood alone on my single pickup day. My son hadn’t gone on any play dates or been invited to any birthday parties. I started to wonder if my alienation was affecting him. I started to doubt myself and my choice to work. I knew I was a good mom, but I wondered if he knew it.
As we planned our Spring Break trip, I pulled out my beloved Sperrys. They were worn and a bit smelly. I knew I had to get rid of them and replace them with a new sneaker. A-ha! I thought to myself, I’ll check out some Converse! And so off I went, for weeks, trying on different Converse, ordering different Converse, only to be disappointed over and over. Finally, one day at DSW, I stared, disappointed, at the umpteenth pair of Converse on my feet, and I had an epiphany. Converse shoes are not for me! I can’t stand them on my feet! Do they look adorable on others? Sure do! Do my kids have them? You bet! Are they for me? NOPE. I can wear my preppy sneakers or high heels and just be myself and that is perfectly fine!
And once I accepted this fact, it grew into something so much more. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and started approaching other parents. I made friends with a few of the parents in my son’s class. We aren’t quite having lunch together yet, but we text and I have someone to stand with at pickup.
So Converse shoes are my metaphor for life: they aren’t for me and that’s okay. Turns out my kindergartner wasn’t the only one who learned something last year.