Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Field Trip Fear

So, we've established that I'm a super worrier and suffer from chronic paranoia, along with an unhealthy addiction to being with my kids 24/7, even though doing so causes me meltdown moments. Check.

Which brings us to the ever popular field trip.

I hate them. There, I said it. I've been on pretty much all of the "sides" of the field trip excursion and I'm wondering if maybe that has something to do with it. As a teacher, I've led field trips. As a Mom, I've helped on field trips. Obviously as a kid, I've been on field trips!

Whenever a field trip comes up, I cringe a little inside. I know first hand how things can go from good to wacky once you are out there in the "big, wide world". This is why, whenever a particularly concerning field trip comes up, I try to ensure that either my husband or I attend as a parent volunteer.

Well, there's a doozy coming up and I'm stressing about it big time!!!! The trip is for grade 4's and grade 5's and it's an hour bus ride away to another town. It's an all day "outdoor adventure day." They have swimming, canoeing, kayaking, wall climbing, games, trail walks. They will spend the whole day there, even eat supper there, and get back to the school at 730pm. There are two teachers, and two volunteers only, going. The children equal about 40 kids.

All of those activities scream MAYDAY, MAYDAY to me and my mind races with all of the horrible, tragic things that I've read about or heard about that can happen on field trips that involve water activity. Or even travelling by bus!

I wish I was one of those parents that doesn't even bat an eye about these things. They just send their children off and go about their day without even thinking about it. HOW do they do that??? I say I'd like to be one of them, but that's not really true. In all honesty, I think those parents are a bit freakish. I get concerned about their level of attachment to their children. It's why I did attachment parenting for the most part! I'm a nervous wreck most of the time with my children out of my ever vigilant sight!

So, my quandary in this situation is, with only two possible chaperone's picked to go, it's unlikely that my husband or I will be there. I'm tempted, on the one hand, to just keep my eldest home that day. I have the home daycare, her Granny will be in town visiting......It would be so much more peaceful and stress inducing. But I also don't want her to miss out on life experiences because of my crazy. I guess we're back to that holding close/letting go battle. And some days I'm not sure which will win out.

In another month, I'm going to have to let go and try not to need a white coat by the end of the week. My eldest is attending a Bible camp for a week with a friend's daughter. It's several hours away from home and she's never been away for more than a night. She'll be doing all of the outdoor stuff I mentioned there as well. And bonus activities? Archery and riflery! Just put me out of my misery now.

She wants to go. Her friend is ecstatic she's coming. She says she might be homesick but she'll work through it because, "it's only a week, Mom." Only. A. Week.

I try not to let her see my fear. I tell her it will be a great time and she'll love it and not to worry about home because she'll see us soon enough and the rest of the summer. But my heart holds it's beat for a moment or two every time I think about it.

And the field trip.

I'll likely let her go with stern warnings to stay close to her teacher, listen carefully, not wander off, wear a life jacket yada yada yads. And she'll likely have a blast and not listen to one word I've said.

But I'll spend my day talking to myself in my head. Calming myself down. Hoping the phone doesn't ring. Jumping when it does.

Please tell me I'm not the only one that has these thoughts and fears? Maybe it's my innate distrust of other people? Like I said, I've been on field trips as a parent. Frankly, it scares the poop out of me to watch other parents trying to keep an eye on their group. Who ARE these people? And WHY did they volunteer? Their group is running around haphazardly, they don't know where half their kids are at any time, they look frazzled and unsure. Just what I need to see to instill confidence for later trips. Uh huh.

Deep breaths Mommy. Deep breaths. It'll all be okay.



  1. I like to think I'm pleasantly in between both extremes. I can't live my life acting on my fear. I have fear, lots of it, but I don't let it get the best of me.

    Jaden went to a local farm last week and while I volunteered to chaperone...they only needed 5 per class....they did a random drawing and I wasn't picked. What can I do?? Nothing. I would never ever even think of keeping my daughter home and making her miss something so fun.... I just had to hope and pray that nothing bad happened. I taught her right from wrong and hopefully those lessons stay with her when I'm not around.

    When we're home or at the park or at someone's house, yes, I watch my kids like a hawk. That's my job, but they also need to have fun and learn and grow and experience things on their own. I want independent confident kids...not kids who are scared of everything. Kids pick up on their parents fear. I see my sil....her fear of flying (though she's never ever stepped foot on a plane) made her son scared. He flew to Florida with us, without his mom, and when it was all said and done...he couldn't believe she'd made him so scared.

    Can't keep them in a bubble...and even if I could....what kind of life is that??

  2. We let the kids go on field trips and try to arrange it so one of us attends also. It's not always possible though so we send them into the trust of others.

    The one concern I have with your trip description is the water. Having 2 very close calls with 2 of our children at 2 different pools last year, I've now jumped up the ladder in the case of worrying around the water.

    In this case ,perhaps you could talk to the teacher about some of your worries and suggest that they could make an exception to have an extra volunteer or two attend? (that way, you or your dh could go).

    Your kids are smart, they'll make good decisions while they're away from you. It would be a shame for them to miss out on the fun (and it does sound like fun). Use this as a trial day for the summer camp she's doing.

    Let us know what you decide...

  3. Thanks ladies. I know exactly what you mean Steph. That's what I try to do-bite the bullet and let them go anyways. Which, is what I'm doing. She's registered for camp and she's going on the field trip. I haven't told her I'm fearful, just that she'll have fun and that she needs to listen very carefully and stay close. (which she knows) My problem is-and I hate to say this-but I see lots and lots of parents out there that are totally neglectful of their own kids, let alone when they have to watch MINE on top of it. The outdoor education place also has tons of employees running each event-so hopefully they are good at their job and she has a wonderful time.

    Julie-I've already tried begging the school. LOL Said we would drive up in our own vehicle yada yada. They can't have more than the two volunteers. They have two teachers as well, but they assure me that it's a very well run place, that they see tons of schools every day and this is "old hat" to them, and that they are very well trained and man each activity vigilantly. Sigh. So, it's all I can do. I've also been drilling it in A's head that she needs to take this seriously.
    So-think of me on June 24th. :)