Teary preschool dropoffs, coffee and mom guilt
As the school’s glass doors closed behind me, I could hear my daughter’s signature high pitched scream fill the airways. My face cringed briefly before I pulled myself together, restraining emotions in front of the sea of parents and teachers milling around at drop off. They had all seen enough of my tears the year before, as we made several transitions with our son, to finally get him in the right placement. I was supposed to be a pro at this now, but I felt as fragile as ever. I made it to the car and turned on the ignition, but just sat there. I needed to let it all out for a few minutes. I felt myself drowning in mom guilt, tears and the coffee I‘d been overdosing on to combat a week of sleepless nights.
It was my daughter’s first week of preschool and it definitely didn’t go as smoothly as I’d originally envisioned. She is an active and social child, who loves to play with other kids and makes friends easily. I had taken her to school a few times prior to the first day to test the waters. She did great each time and I thought her transition was going to be “easy-peasy” and tear-free, but that was wishful thinking I suppose!
For months building up to her first day my emotions battled with each other. I desperately longed for a few solo hours in the day to work on my writing and other professional aspirations and get our increasingly cluttered home in order. As my little baby girl grew into an active, daring and curious toddler, it became harder and harder for me to juggle it all and my frustration with myself grew. I wanted to continue to develop ispeakmom.com and share my motherhood experience with the world, but ironically those same aspirations were distracting me from the very mommy moments I was writing about! I didn’t want my little one to be babysat by Daniel Tiger and Disney Junior while I sat typing away at my laptop.
The solution was clear. She would attend pre-school with her brother! It would be so good for her to play with other kids, explore and learn new concepts, listen to stories and have a ton of fun while doing it all. But at the same time, I felt guilty to send her off. She is still so little and we all know that the days of “being little” are much shorter than we would like to imagine. As we weighed the pros and cons over and over, we knew that putting her in school would be the best decision for our family. I would work on what I needed for the first part of the day and then I would have the whole afternoon to give them my undivided attention (almost, as there are never enough hours in the day).
But oh how those tears threw me for a loop. I sat nervously looking at my phone, waiting for the school to post pictures in our class group, so I could get a glimpse of how she was doing. The first few photos of her tear stricken face and sad eyes almost had me changing my mind. But as the days went on the smiles started creeping up and she began to enjoy it more and more. Today at two weeks in, she still cried at drop off and it still stung my heart. But I’m trusting the process. I have learned that these parenting decisions are never easy, especially when they aren't easily accepted by the kids, but I know we’ve made the best one for our family. We are blessed to have found a school environment that is safe, loving and a perfect fit for us.
As I sit here focusing on my writing this morning, I know that my kids are at school learning priceless lessons, while I’m doing something of value for myself. When I pick them up this afternoon, I know I can look forward to cuddles, giggles and lots of fun without too many distractions.
Cheers to an amazing new school year!
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