Last night I had a parents’ meeting with Annabel’s Pre-K teachers. It was your basic info session where they went over what to expect and we had time to ask questions. I recognized several parents from last year, but there were a few new faces. After the meeting was over, most of the parents filed out, but there were a few who lingered, clearly wanting some one on one time with the lead teacher. I hung back as well, as I had forgotten to fill out part of Annabel’s info sheet.
I was engrossed in the form I was writing on when I suddenly realized there was a person crying. One of the moms I didn’t recognize was really sad about her child starting school. The teacher was comforting her when I glanced up to see what was going on. Crying Mom looked around the room at all of us and said, “Isn’t this so hard?!” As the other parents started agreeing with her, I quickly looked back down at my form. My heart really went out to Crying Mom (she was just so sad!) and I didn’t begrudge her her feelings at all, but it’s not hard for me to send Annabel to school. Not even a little bit.
Annabel loves school. She loves being with friends, loves learning, and above all, loves being independent. She’s a child who thrives on routine, social situations, and new experiences. She’s happy at school, so I am happy that she’s at school.
Beyond that, Annabel and I have the kind of mother/daughter relationship where our time together is better because of our time apart. Our personalities are just too similar, and if you leave us together all day, every day, bad things will happen. For a few hours three days a week, we’ll get some separation from each other and it’s so good for us! We’ll have more patience for each other, and as Annie learns better communication skills from her teachers, our trouble spots will be fewer and farther between.
I once told another parent how I felt about Annie being in school and she looked at me like I had two heads. “I miss my children the entire time they’re gone. I love spending time with them.” That’s awesome for her (seriously), but I don’t feel that way. I love spending time with her, but I don’t miss Annie when she’s at school. I’m happy to see her when I pick her up, and I adore hearing her stories about her friends and what she learned, but I don’t spend the entire time she’s gone counting the minutes until those moments. I wouldn’t want her to do that, either.
My Facebook feed over the last few weeks leads me to think that I’m in the minority here, but that’s okay. It’s cool if you do miss your kids, and it’s absolutely fine and normal to have a hard time sending them off. But I refuse to feel bad about not having a hard time. I’m excited! I’m excited about the growth this year has in store for Annie, I’m looking forward to her making more friends, and I’m thrilled that she’s going to be happy.
School starts next week. We can’t wait!
Becca Masters says:
It’s not exactly the same (my daughters only 17 months old) but when we are coming towards the end of the day I’m often like “I can’t freaking wait for bedtime!” Then like an hour after she’s gone to bed I’m like “I want to pick her up and just snuggle with her”
I totally get both sides.
We all need our space and if what you’re doing is working, then that’s awesome.
Anne Younger says:
My kids head back on the 2nd and it can’t get here fast enough. I love them to pieces but being able to send three of them to school full time and having two more at home still, I am looking forward to a calm house.
I totally get it! I felt the same with mine. (Now 18 & 22) I liked experiencing things with them but I also liked to hear about & see them experience things away from me.
We haven’t got to the school stage yet (my son’s only 10 months), but I’m just like Becca above. Sometimes I’m counting the minutes until he’ll be ready for a nap or bed, but then I’ll want to go in and snuggle him or am waiting for him to wake up.
I think it’s great you’re all happy Annie’s off to school
And my daughter also LOVED being with others. She never had stranger anxiety EVER! My son was shy and needed more time to warm up.
Georgine Olson says:
I take care of my granddaughters five days a week and we have a great time for the most part. However, I’m like you in the fact that we need time away from each other. Ellie is in first grade this year and just like last year she can hardly wait to go to school and then come home and tell me all about her day. Addie will start preschool on the 2nd and we are both looking forward to it. It’s part of the growing process.
I’ve felt the same way!! I love my kids but everyone gets along so much better when we’ve had some time doing our own things. School starting in our house is a celebration! The milestones are what get me teary-eyed, but the fact that they’ll be gone doesn’t really bug me at all. YAY SCHOOL!
I’m a work-out-of-the-home mom, or whatever the PC term is, and I’m definitely a much better mom to my kids because of the time apart. They thrive at daycare/preschool, and that makes me happy. So I totally understand.
This is me exactly. I may even kiss my desk when I arrive at the office on Mondays!
I am in the minority with you! When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was a mess because I knew I wouldn’t be a stay at home mom, and that’s what I thought I wanted more than anything. But within a few weeks, I would hand her off to anyone who came to visit and escape for 10 minutes of alone time! I thought it might change as she got older, but same boat as you…..love to hear the stories, snuggle and spend quality time. But when it gets to be just quantity time, bad things do happen! My husband knows when he works Saturdays….basically the 7 year old and I will not be speaking to each other by the time he gets home! Time for separate corners. So I totally feel ya, and I’m so glad my child enjoys school/grandma’s/aunt’s house so she doesn’t have to be in mine 24/7!
THIS!!! You put in to words exactly how I feel. Summer is hard, I am not the parent I want to be much of the time because it is so.much.togetherness. School is good for all of Us in this house.
My oldest started kindergarten this year. I was sad for about a week leading up to it…not about him going to school or being away from him, but mostly sad/nostalgic because I can’t believe how quickly he has grown up. I work full time at a university and I can’t imagine staying home with my kids all the team. I have the utmost respect for parents that stay home with their kids. I get about two weeks off at Christmas and we all are ready for that time to end because we all need time away from each other. My son loves kindergarten and that makes it so much easier for me!
I totally get the nostalgia! I’m sure when Annie starts elementary school next year I will feel exactly like you this year.
I think you’re only in the Facebook minority.
My kids love being at school, and being at school (and being away from me) is so important for them socially, academically, everything-ly. I’m counting down the days (um, minutes) until school starts.
I got the two heads look, too. I am not and have not ever gotten emotional over a kid leaving me for school. My spouse was actually a total ass because I was not crying the for the first day of Kindergarten for the baby.
Aw, Hellzno! Why? Because as a mom, I have always felt my job is to teach them how to leave me and be happy about the adventures they will have and the friends they will make.
When my baby got on the bus, he turned, waved and said, “When I get home I hope you know what you’re going to be when you grow up! Bye Mom!” I was overjoyed because I knew he wouldn’t miss me, have anxiety, and he would embrace everything he was going to experience.
You are such a wonderful mother, Heather. Off the charts terrific. You’ve got it all in the right perspective. Tomorrow I will deliver my oldest to his freshman year in college and this milestone … not quite as easy as the pre-school days!
Keep up the good work.
Okay, I think I will definitely cry when they go to college!! Good luck with that, Karen – and congrats!
My mom used to throw me in summer school because it would literally be meltdown city if I (who loved school–for the learning, not for the social stuff, yeesh) was stuck in the house with her and the siblings all day every day. I think she was sad to see me go in the sense that “oh man, my kid is in school now,” but I think she was grateful I wasn’t at home being a little turd. (Again with the poop references!)
Also, nobody on Facebook is going to openly admit that they want to send their kids off to school and be rid of them, if only because the vipers will come in and take their pound of flesh. Facebook, I swear, is a “who’s the better mommy-or-person” contest. Or at least, my FB feed is.
Your poop references are always on-point!
I totally agree with you, Kate. I love that Heather uses this blog to be open and honest about life. You don’t really get that with Facebook, in my opinion. I don’t miss my kids when they are in school. There have been days when going to work feels like a vacation. I refuse to feel bad about that because in the end we’re all better as a family unit because of it.
Heather’s openess is a breath of fresh air. Like, it makes me happy that she will say the things some people won’t TJ about because you Don’t Say That–whether it is about grief or parenting or, I don’t know, Britney Spears.
Tammy M says:
I always felt the same way. I was happy to have my kids at school as long as my kids were happy.
I remember one friend who was concerned that her daughter would be too close to her daycare provider and didn’t want them to have a close relationship. I never felt that way. I wanted my kids with a daycare provider who loved them and whom they loved. That made my time away from them that much easier.
Let me speak from the pre-k teacher side. I teach 4-year-olds in pre-k. They are social human beings, even the shy children. They desire being with others their own age. There is nothing wrong with wanting to give them that for a few hours a day. And let me tell you, after the day I had with my class yesterday (which was incredibly fun and included excited little LOUD voices doing a scavenger hunt, followed up by a foaming science experiment), why would any parent want to deny their child that opportunity just to keep them home with them?
I’m the exact same with both of my kids, 7 and 4 yrs old, always have been. The only time I’ve cried was last year when youngest had last day of preschool and that’s only because I had lots of other things going on combined with the feeling of my baby growing up.
I’m totally with you on this one! Every parent/child relationship is different, but for me and my kids, heading off to school is a great and exciting and necessary thing! I love seeing the things they learn that I could not have taught them. I love seeing them be independent and social.
I still remember walking my son to the bus for his first day of Kindergarten. We’d had the meet-and-greet with his teacher and the school tour already, and he was beyond excited. As we got closer to the bus stop, he paused and asked me, “Mom, you aren’t going to cry or do something to embarrass me, are you?” I nearly cracked a rib laughing so hard. “Oh hell no. It means I have 5 hours a day of ‘me’ time, kid! Go have fun!” And he did.
I feel the same exact way! And I also feel like I’m in the minority if my FB feed is any indication. I have 4 kids and I love them all dearly, but I love our time apart as well and so do they. I don’t miss them when they are gone either…I’m mostly too busy to miss them, but even when I’m just curled up reading a book I don’t miss them. They are half a mile from me and having a great time and I can get all my crap done quickly (and in utter silence, which is a total bonus) which means I have more time to spend WITH them when they get home. I can’t tell you how many times this week on my FB feed I have read “Little Billy has been gone 2 hours already, does this ever get easier, will I ever stop missing him? Only 3 more hours until I can pick him up”. I am the one going “crap…only 3 more hours until pick up, how I am I going to finish xyz by then”!
HA totally! It’s actually going to be HARDER for me to get stuff done when she’s gone because that means James’ best playmate is gone!
I could have written this! I also have 4, and this is exactly how I feel.
I’m the same way. I work out of the home though and even some weekends I’m ready to get back to work I have a 6 year old who just started Kindergarten (and was in full time daycare before that) and a 1.5 year old. They love being around kids their age and learning – mom just isn’t as fun as school and friends!
My children are a little younger than yours but I can totally relate. I work full time so they go to daycare every day and I actually enjoy the time away from them. Their school can provide knowledge and tools in a better atmosphere than I ever could. When I see them again at 5:30, I’m happy and ready to hear about their day (more from him because our 19 month old is still not quite there when it comes to describing her day).
Bravo to you for being honest! I 100% agree with you. Annie is going to be an even better adult because of how you’re handling separation, etc. I will say that the first day of actual kindergarten I know I’ll be crying, only because I will remember that 10 lb baby that made me a mom almost 3 years ago.
Um…if my kids were unhappy at school then I guess id be sad for them…but if your kids like school then whats to be sad about?? theres no reason to spend every single second with your children. totally agree with you! I hope she has a great year!
You just summed up my feelings about sendings daughter to kindergarten perfectly! You are not alone in these feelings at all.
Just yesterday, I was talking to my cousin and she said she was very much looking forward to her son starting kindergarten, because they argue so much. I asked her, and yup, same as you and Annie, they argue so much because their personalities are so similar.
Mel G says:
Back-to-school Day is my favourite day of the whole year! And we have 4 blocks of school holidays so I get 4 of them!
I think those women are posturing. Seriously, we all need alone time, away from our kids, and we all love them equally. Being a parent is a blessing but it’s also damn hard work.
Those women are playing world’s greatest mother. Silly.
Yep, sounds like a variant of “that’s all well and good that you work, but I couldn’t do it. I love my children too much.”
School starts today. 12 yo left 20 minutes ago. 8 yo leaves in 12 minutes. Yes, I’m counting the minutes!
I can’t wait for my kids to go back to school. 2 of my 3 can’t wait either! My oldest is 15 could care less. =)
I have a 12 year old and have enjoyed the my time while she is in school. I agree it makes our relationship stronger by having time apart rather than being together all the time. She has grown up very strong and independent – which will benefit her as an adult by making her a strong independent woman!!
Lori Mahon says:
I’m with you on this! My youngest (3 yrs old) just started preschool and I was SO excited to see him go. He is my shy one and while he was nervous to start, he LOVED it and was sad that he had to wait 2 days to go back. He’s only going 2 days a week right now but I may up it to three if this trend continues.
Now, I do get sad when I think about how fast both of my kids are growing up, but I’m very excited for them to go to school to learn and experience new things. There is nothing I can do to keep them little forever, so why not embrace them growing up?
I am sad about my kids growing up so fast and I will probably cry when my youngest starts kindergarten because it will mean the end of the babies.
BUT…it isn’t about being away from him. My kids have been in either my mom’s care or daycare since they were 3 months old. It has up sides and down sides. I do miss them so desperately when I am gone but I also enjoy working and having some me time as well. I wish I could be home with them more, maybe P/t work and p/t stay at home but I don’t think I could do all day every day either. Plus, those pre-k teachers come up with the coolest things to help kids learn. I am not that talented or motivated. I am better at teaching college kids.
I am SO with you! I could have written this post. And I get those “What kind of mother are you?!” raised-eyebrow looks all the time when I try to explain myself. You put it perfectly. Thank you!
Sarah M. says:
I could have written this exact post, except my girlie is in first grade now (and started school back in July). We sent her off to preschool at 2.5 because she needed and wanted it. She’s in after school stuff for the same reasons. We need our time apart to survive the time together. Not that the times together are bad, we just are too similar and both too strong willed that when we spend long periods of time together, we start to wear on each other.
My soon to be 5 year old boy is a completely different story though. He and I have always just clicked in an entirely different way. He’s also not an overly social kiddo and I know he has some weird interests (um, mopping and building robots) so I do worry about him and miss him when he’s at school, but not like some of the stories I see on Facebook. Luckily his kindergarten is only 4 days a week and 4 hours so we still get our time together.
Mopping! Your kid sounds awesome.
Thank you for admitting you prefer one of your children. I love both of mine and work so hard to treat them equally, but I still feel guilty and wish I could like both of them equally, too.
Completely agree with you, Heather! At the preschool open house for my daughter, I met another mom and we started chatting. As we were leaving, she said “See you on Monday, I’ll be the one crying in the parking lot.” Without even thinking, I said “I’ll be the one whistling while I skip to my car!” It has always been better when my kids are in school. They love it and I truly believe when they see how excited I am for them, it makes them more excited to do it.
Nothing wrong with what you said, Heather. Children are like any other relationship; total enmeshment is not healthy and at various times in the relationship, one or both parties will not be at his/her best. If your child enjoys and flourishes in a safe, nurturing, alternate environment, it’s a win-win. While I totally sympathize with the crying parent, I’m hoping her daughter didn’t see, because that will be how she defines her first school experience-as a big tragedy. In the words of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, we give our kids life so they can live it.
I’ll admit I was sad to Jaxon on the first day of Pre-K. Just because my one and only baby is in school now. But I like our time apart. I don’t think I’d say that to anyone around me, just because I’d get that “you’re a bad parent look”. I could never be sad and miss him while he’s at school because I know what a great time he’s having with kids his age and he’s learning so much. It makes our evenings enjoyable when he’s singing his new songs or talking about a book they read that day. I guess there’s about 34 ^ others with us, so we’re not alone in this
I do think there’s a difference between nostalgia over our kids getting older, and being like, overcome with sadness that they are gone all day every day. I definitely am nostalgic for the days of Baby Annie, but I’m also excited that she’s a pretty cool person now and she’s only going to get more interesting in school, know what I mean?
Oh you are def. not alone!!! I dunno, maybe it’s because my kids have been in a daycare setting since they were 3 months old but even whey they do start kindergarten, I don’t think I’ll feel the same way as –say — a mom whose kid has been with them all day every day. We’re used to being apart. And we love our reunions.
While the initial sting of leaving them lasted a couple months when I went back to work after each baby, once it wore off and I could see how much they are thriving — my oldest is almost four and in preschool and my youngest is 10 months — I didn’t even feel sad about it anymore. Sure, I miss them – and there’s a webcam at school for those moments where I just want a glimpse into their lives–but I, too, love knowing how much fun they are having and learning things I wouldn’t even think to teach them … both kids are thriving and I think part of that is from that distance you speak of. It also makes our time together that much more sacred; our weekends are dedicated family time.
Anyway, I think it’s fine to pine for your kids, but I also think it’s healthy to not feel sad about it — what’s to be sad about?! They are creating their own little lives. And that’s pretty damn amazing.
I’m with you, although I work part time so we have always had some separation. Mine are 17 (almost 18! yikes! how did that happen?) and 14, so they have had summer breaks at home together for several years. By the time school starts each fall, I am excited for them to have some time AWAY from each other each day. lol This summer has been different because they are both so busy they don’t actually have time to annoy each other.
My 17 year old is starting her senior year. Such an exciting time, with adventures ahead. One of my friends posted on facebook about dropping her son off at college that she wasn’t sad because he was going, she was sad because nothing will ever be the same… and I totally get that. So glad my daughter is making choices about her future & I don’t need to push her out of our nest. She’s ready to fly on her own. =)
Oh, I love what your friend wrote! That’s so true – nothing will be the same. The changes are hard (ESPECIALLY college, oh man), but they are so exciting and they’re what our goals are as parents!
I too am excited for back to school. I discovered back when I was on my mat leave (in Canada we get a year) that I am NOT a stay at home mom. I love my children dearly, but I also love their independence and time away from me. I get sad at each new beginning, like starting kindergarten and Grade 3, but only because it reminds me that they are growing up and sometimes the tears are excited tears for them and all the things they get to experience during the next year.
I’m sending my oldest to preschool for the first time in a couple of weeks. I’m mostly excited for her and a little sad too. That being said, it sounds like your attitude towards Annie and school is really well-adjusted and healthy. I’m sure she goes to school with an extra bit of confidence from your enthusiasm for the whole thing. For my part, I am trying my best not to give my kid anxiety because of my own nerves!
I don’t have any children, but I have the exact same relationship with my mom as you do with the exception that we aren’t too much alike personality-wise, we are too different. Our personalities clash and we butt heads often when we spend too much time together. And it’s perfectly okay.
The best thing (seriously) for our relationship was when I moved out of the house. We talk all the time, see each other often, and love each other infinitely. We just do better with space. I love that you and Annie have this kind of relationship. There are all kinds of different parent/child relationships.
Dude, I am in your boat! I was doing the snoopy dance when it was back to school time. Belles and also have the same personality and time apart definitely benefits our relationship. She needs more than just me and her little brother day in and day out.
I feel sad for the crying mom for a couple of reasons… A)She’s sad, so I feel sad for her
B)She MAY just make the poor kid a neurotic mess
C)She (apparently) relies too strongly on her kiddo for validation/purpose!! What a rough burden for the kid, and what a sad thing for her (and all she does/does not have going on in her life!!
Sooner than later, that kid WILL leave the nest, and unless she gets a grip (I know, I sound a little harsh…) there will be NOTHING to look forward to in her future. Get a hobby, read a great book, plan special times for your kid/s and hubby(don’t forget him!!) and, like everyone is saying here, your time together will be even MORE special and valuable. Parent/s who get tooooo wrapped up in their kids lives (sometimes) lose sight of their own.
Not harsh at all! I agree!
Not the minority! I think those people who miss them every second are totally cool, too, but for me? No way. Get those kids to school! They love it, have a ball, and I get to work. Woot!
Yay for school!!!!
I’m totally with you Heather! The relationship you are cultivating with your children sounds very like the one I share with my parents (I’m 28 now). They have given me roots and wings; we all love each other dearly, but the independence they have given me is so, so valuable. There’s nothing funny about helicopter parenting and giving your children the chance to exist without you does not mean you love them less. When I worked in a nursery, it was the parents who were crying all over their kids who took the longest to leave, and it was their kids who got more easily carried along with it/were harder to settle later. The ones who left quickly with a smile and a wave were the ones raising kids who just got straight in there without a look back – a valuable trait indeed! Just keep right on doing what you’re doing
as a school lover and future teacher (loved school so much I decided to practically spend my life in one!), I LOVE how much Annie loves school, and I LOVE how much you love her being in school. My grandma was the same way for me– she was never sad because I was going to school because she knew how much I LOVE it. My Mom was the same way (until college. that was a sad one!). I’m a senior in college and feel the same way about school now, and I hope I always do.
I understand people being sad and missing their kids, but at the end of the day, you should be proud! You’ve prepared your kid and taught them the right things to move them on to the next stage. How awesome is that!?!? I’m so glad my parents, like you, loved me going to school. They were rarely (if ever) upset about it, at least around me. If they had been sad, *I* would have been sad. And I’m an emotional wreck kinda gal, so that would have not been a good thing. Seeing them happy and excited about my school life really did me a service in that respect. It made me love school all the more, and made me excited to come home and tell them about my day.
I’m also with you on the whole being better to each other because we’re apart thing. My Mom and I also have similar personalities, and when we’re together during the summer things can get cray cray. I worked full-time this summer so it wasn’t as bad, but it could still be stressful if we spent too much time together. Me being at school (only around 40 mins away) does our relationship sooo much good. I miss her, but I know she’s a text or a phone call away (instead of hovering behind my door. haha).
So glad Annie loves school so much. It’ll do her so much good as she gets older! Go Annie! (AND Heather!)
man, I wrote a soliloquy… sorry bout that! School is my thing. haha.
I loved what you wrote. “Cray cray” is awesome and I use the phrase myself!
I’m totally on Team Heather for this one–both in being excited, not sad, to send kids to school, and in feeling like there is much more validation for the “sad mom” approach to separation. I totally respect the feelings of the sad moms, and I wish there wasn’t such a “what’s wrong with you for not crying” approach to us excited moms!
Also, didn’t Mike once write something about not feeling sad about stuff like this because it’s so amazing and fulfilling to see your kids grow when you have a child who is no longer growing? That one struck a chord with me, but I can’t find it now.
I actually wrote that! And there is a LOT of that here as well, but I didn’t mention that because it felt so specific to me. But it definitely influences how I feel about ALL of these milestones!
Totally and completely on the same page as you! My oldest just started part-time preschool and it has been so good for him! We had no idea the return to school would solve problems we were having with his sleeping schedule and fighting with his sister. He was in FT daycare until May and he has not done so great being home full time. He needs this social interaction and daily routine so much and he just LOVES it. I don’t miss him either but am happy to pick him up and hear about his day. I have had a hard time understanding the sadness some parents get as well. School is a good thing for our kids that we should be happy about and celebrate!
Shannon O says:
I love having my kids home during the summers, but I also love when they go to school. And my kids love school – all three of them. I think part of that is them feeling secure in leaving me. I think Annie will always love school because she will sense that it is a fun place that you want her to go. Plus it is hard to work from home with a little girl who is bored and wants all of your attention. Enjoy this year!!
Those other parents are big fat liars.
You are not alone. I never cried when I sent my kids off to school. We all need our alone time. You write it so perfectly.
I agree with Shannon – the other parents are big fat liars!!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my daughter to death – she’s 8, soon to be 9, and I still smother her with hugs and kisses all day, just as much as I did when she was a newborn. I still am in awe, every single day, that God found me worthy of being her mother. I get weepy when I think that soon she’ll be 9 – which means she is just as close to 18 as she is the day I gave birth to her and held her for the first time. That being said…. OMG YAY SCHOOL!!!!!! You and Annie remind me so much of me and my daughter. We love each other like no one else can, we also know how to push the others buttons like no one else can, basically because she IS me!!! She goes to her dad’s every other weekend and I’m not gonna like – I ENJOY the break. Come Sunday evening I am so excited to see her – because I’ve had the opportunity to actually miss her. I do have some friends that have these totally sweet, peaceful, mellow kids who never get into trouble and I can see how they don’t want to be away from them. But – that’s not my girl – and I love her for it. I love that she asks a million questions. I love that she’s not afraid to test boundaries. I love that she constantly wants to learn something new. Is it exhausting? YES!!! Does it drive me crazy when she questions my authority?? TRIPLE YES!!! But – it means she’s gonna be a great adult. She’s going to want to learn and explore and see the world and grab life by both hands. It means she’s less likely to succumb to peer pressure or be controlled by a boyfriend. So do I feel bad about being excited about her going to school? Not. At. All.
Mine is in 6th grade and I dread school…but my reasons are totally different! I dread the homework battles and the math homework, it’s ALWAYS MATH. Why does it always have to be math?? I hate math. Math, Math, Math…
Otherwise, have fun at school, see ya!
Oh god. I am so afraid of when the homework will start!
Kathy Shipstad says:
I think many more moms feel the same way you do but don’t want to admit it. I am with you!
I feel the exact same way! I don’t miss my kids when they are in school at all. That is my down town for I know when they get home, it will be non-stop until bed time. I cherish my days off when the kids are at school. That is the best day EVER!!! I also don’t feel bad feeling that way. I guess maybe it would be different if they didn’t enjoy school or were having issues in school but that’s not the case (at least right now knock on wood!) and I am going to continue to enjoy my time.
I guess it’s different, but both my girls have been in daycare since they were three months old. I cried when that happened, but I haven’t cried since. My older daughter just started Kindergarten two weeks ago, and I thought I would cry, but she was so excited, I couldn’t help but be happy.
I love hearing all the things they both do and learn all day. Their teachers and caregivers are just so great at art projects and making learning fun. I just don’t have those talents.
And won’t it be nice to have some time one-on-one with James? I know he’ll miss his big sister, but it will be nice to get to know him better without the distractions of his older sister. I know I love those times when I can do things alone with each girl. It’s so special for them.
When my first little boy got on the bus for kindergarten, I was anxious and nervous. He looked so very small and the bus looked so very large. At the time, I had him and a baby and a job, but I remember that first scary day like it was yesterday. He turned 42 in February! It got easier over the years, but I can still remember what he was wearing and how little he looked.
Lori Moore says:
Yeah, um, I don’t think you’re the minority. I have a paper countdown chain for the start of kindergarten for my youngest. Fall 2016, baby!
I think I’ll feel the same as you. Baby is only 3 months old, but already experiencing some differences from other parents. I got a lot of, “I can’t believe you’re out with him” when he was a newborn, and still get “you go out with him alone already?” We took him on a road trip to visit family at 3-weeks and I let someone babysit him while my husband and I went out to see a show. Got a lot of, “How could you leave him?” It was pretty easy to get some alone time with my husband. I have no problem letting people I trust babysit him. I’m not constantly scared that he’ll get sick. I’m just not overly emotional or protective. I worry sometimes people think I don’t love as much as they do. It’s so not true. I sit rocking him while he’s smiling at me and just cry. I love that baby. I just don’t need to cling to him so intensely.
Wow, this is exactly me. I was happy to hand my baby over to anyone I knew from day one. Trusted that everyone would take care with her and never worried. Now she’s 9 months old and shows people so much love. Makes me proud to be the mother of such a happy baby. I surprised myself with how relaxed I felt about it all. Doesn’t mean I don’t have times where I sit in her room late feeding her and cry about the love I feel for her, or the idea that something might happen to her. But I’m just not overly emotional on a day to day basis. Everyone says the sound of your baby crying will make you cry, but I haven’t felt that at all. I also worry that people think I don’t care as much, but I love my daughter with every part of me.
Martha H. says:
Both of my children, my now 17 year old son, and my 7 year old daughter, have always loved school. They go in so confident and come home so happy. I love sending them to school knowing they will enjoy it and learn something I can’t teach them as a working mom. I certainly do not mind the time away from one another either. I think it just makes our together time even more precious. However, I work from home, so I do appreciate the summer with no time schedules for them.
I am sorry if someone already said this, but I wonder if it has something to do with loss of a child. I know this is not nearly the same thing, but in between our oldest and our youngest, we lost 3 babies. I remember feeling sad when my oldest was going to school because it seemed like it was happening so fast. With my youngest, I am not sad, because I am more happy and excited that I get to see him grow up. I have enough what ifs, and thinking about the ones that we lost. I don’t want another child to be permanently frozen in time. Just the fact that he made it to birth safely, and I get to see him grow is more of a blessing than I ever thought I would have, so I cherish every stage. I can’t wait for potty training which is our next big hurdle toward independence. Will I look back and miss them when they were small, possibly, but I also know first hand what a blessing it is that I got to have them at all. My job as a mother is to help them to become mature and responsible and productive members of society. I want them to experience the parts of adult life that I have had the pleasure of experiencing like falling in love, meeting their child for the first time, professional accomplishments, etc. Sorry for the novel, but that is my take on letting my children grow up.
I’ve actually written about this, not in relation to school specifically but growing up in general. Losing Maddie definitely influences how I feel about all of these milestones. I do think that her being a preemie colors my feelings as well, since milestones are such a big deal for kids who are born with additional difficulties.
Kristine B. says:
I don’t often comment because my kids are so little anymore! We just sent our youngest off to college two weeks ago. I’ve never been the parent that cried or was sad when my kids started school, moved on to middle school and then to high school, or even at graduation. With both girls now away and the house soooooooooooo quiet at times, I’ll admit it’s odd, even awkward. But I’m still not sad. I always felt in the minority. My friends (other mom’s) were upset and crying at graduation and I just wasn’t right there with them. I guess I’ve just always looked at those milestones as great things for my kids. They are getting ready to start a new chapter, experience something new, start the next phase of their life. I’ve told both of my girls, that I will die happy if I can do so knowing I’ve raised two competent, caring, productive citizens, and that they know how to take care of themselves through the good and bad. So I don’t think it’s a bad thing to not be sad at your child’s progressions through life.
Kristine B. says:
That first line should have said NOT so little. I put brackets around it and I think that got it stripped out of the sentence!!
Nic S says:
I don’t feel like you, but I wish I did!! The anxiety I feel about sending her to pre-k on the 2nd is making me feel like crazy person. I’m losing sleep over it, I have a pit in my stomach, I’m just SO anxious. This is her first time going to pre-k (she just turned 4) and her first time regularly away from me. I *do* look forward to hearing her stories about her day in class, and know she’ll love it — but knowing that isn’t helping me. I’m a but case.
Maybe we should switch fb friends, most of mine are SO excited to send their kids to school that I don’t dare say I’m anxious because they’ll all jump on me telling me to get over it and rejoice in the silence.
I’m hoping my anxiety will subside after a few days, once I realize she loves it and once I realize that my one-on-one time with her little brother is special.
Nic S says:
Also a but case.
It’d be weird if I were a but-case.
Nic S says:
I hate when my phone corrects my spelling for me.
Aw mama! It’s OKAY to feel like this! It will get better, I promise.
P.S. I am totally cracking up at the But Case autocorrects!
Don’t worry! Once you see that she likes it, and when you get all the little homemade things she makes, and you are going to the Mother’s Day Tea, you will also have a blast. Hang in there. It’s new for both of you and you’ll get through it!!
As a former, now retired, teacher, I think your outlook is very healthy. Of course we all love our kids, but watching them branch out in the world and become more independent is the goal of parenting, isn’t it? Keep doing what you’re doing and keep talking about it!
My daughter was 3 when I put her in preschool 2xs a week from 9-12. She wanted to go because her older brother was in 1st grade. I put her because she needed that time with other 3 yr olds. She didn’t cry and I didn’t cry. She grew independently and as a parent that’s what you want. You want your kids to take the world on and fly as high as they can. Be their OWN self, and that has nothing to do with the bond you share with them. Way to go Heather and Annie. A new school year.
Riahnnon Stormo says:
I am also overjoyed when my kids go to school! They are 12 & 9 and started last week! I’ve also always worked outside of the house, so it may be a little different as I have always been gone all day anyways so it didn’t make a difference if they were at daycare or school! I think it’s great that you aren’t sad. It makes it easier on the child if the parent isn’t having anxiety about it! Happy School year everyone!!
Thank you for this. I am not a crier, and sometimes I feel like an outcast for not being more emotional at events like the first day of school (kindergartner and 1st grader this year!). For me, it is bittersweet and the sweet obviously outweighs the bitter. Of course going to school means growing up, but it is so exciting to hear about their days and what they’re learning. My older son actually let out a whoop when we got out of the car to walk to class. How can I cry or be sad at that? Education is a wonderful thing and if I can support them in their excitement, that’s what I’ll do. (Let’s see if he lets out a whoop when he’s 16 and starting school again ).
cindy w says:
I am not a mom who cries about various “growing up” milestones. I just don’t. I’m a little nervous on the first day of school because I want it to go well, and I hope she likes her teacher and finds her friends, and all that good stuff. Other than that, I’m not thrown by it much. Like you, I am a much better mom when I get a regular break from my kids.
Well, ok, amend that. I’m pretty sure that the first time I had to leave Lucy at daycare, I cried. But she was 2 months old, so we can blame post-partum hormones for that one.
I think this is the healthy response. The parents who get over-emotional and weep for the four hours a day their kid is gone end up being the in-laws who stalk their married adult kids and tell the new wife how to cook their son’s dinner. This is why I think it’s SO important that parents maintain their sense of self by having interests and friends outside their kids! Get a hobby! Take up painting! Whatever, just let your kid go to school without feeling guilty.
chris mello says:
I love reading your blog ..brings back so many memories ! I am of course WAY older than you , but as the mom of three young adults In college and grad school (USC grad school I might add !)who All still live at home, I think back fondly of the first day of school when they ALL left and I was home alone ! I Never cried and I had the home all the kids came to after school so I cherished MY time and I am looking forward to having it again some day!
I can guarantee you are NOT in the minority. The parentss who truly (as in not trying to look like “Perfect Mommy Barbie” by publicly lamenting their kids’ being at school) miss their kids every moment they are gone are generally crackpots. Yikes! So harsh, I know. I am feisty today, apparently.
It is so good for the kids and the moms to get separation. My oldest went to a 3 night sleep away camp for the first time this summer and I did truly miss him by the third day. After about 60 hours without him, not 60 minutes. Hope it’s a great year for Annie and for you!
I don’t think you’re in the minority!
I’ve seen this article making the rounds on Facebook and it cracks me up! Have you read it yet?
I was not sad to see my son go to school. He has endless energy and some developmental challenges and he needs the help and focus that he gets at school. And he is super social and loves school and his friends. Summer cannot end soon enough for both of our sakes!
I totally believe both viewpoint and feelings are good and healthy and signs of being a good mommy!
And I’m with you. I have plenty of mommy friends who never want to be apart from their babies, and that’s awesome too. My baby is only 14 months old, and I stay home with her, but we’ve had a nanny one afternoon a week since she was 7 month old, and ahmagerd, it’s made me such a happier, better mommy. I’m so much more present for her the rest of the week when I know I’m getting some time apart. And the baby loves the nanny! She’s super excited and happy every time she sees her. I also try to get to yoga once a week after my husband comes home, and I kick the two of them out of the house every Saturday morning (usually for swim lessons or the park). I’m totally fine being away, I don’t think I’ll have a problem with preschool (3 half days a week) at all. Like a PP said, college is a different story! I’m sure I’ll be a wreck.
Funny, I am writing this as I sent my daughter back to school for her final year of college. Heather, I feel exactly like you. I never was sad to let my daughter go off on adventures because she was always running towards each one with her arms wide open. I suspect it’s harder for parents when their children are fearful or nervous.
Oh, pish posh.
I cried a little when leaving both kids in daycare the first week. They were babies back then. These days, I’m thrilled that my daughter goes to peek five days a week. She loves it. More importantly, she’s thriving from having a very structured day. She doesn’t do well with spontaneity, and with a baby at home I had a tough time keeping her schedule consistent. I will miss her in the sense that if we’re doing something fun at home (baby stays with me unless I’m in school), I go “Aw man, I wish she was here”. But bawling out sad? Naw. Seriously, a 4 year old needs independence, too.
Same boat here! My 20 year old just went off to University two weeks ago and everyone wanted to know how bad I cried. Not a single drop. I am so proud of her and she has been working so hard to get here (did two years at a community college to build up her grades/studying skills) and I can’t wait to see how she grows and blossoms while away at school! I feel the same about my 10 year old when she goes off and does things. I LOVE watching my children learn new things So don’t feel like you are the only one!
It’s been many, many years since my kids were in school, but I was always glad to see them go.
I wasn’t sad with my son, he was such a handful that I needed a break from him. With my daughter though it is a lot more emotional, though I do enjoy the break from her. Also my son has taught me really how fast time flies… it feels like he just started kindy last year but this is his first year of college. He’s really taught me to slow down and enjoy the time with my daughter. And I have to say that I have, but it seems like just yesterday she started 1st grade only she started 4th grade today. So HS really is just around the corner no matter how hard I want to reject that though…. she’s already participating in clubs and classes there at 9. Today I missed being able to communicate with her when I wanted to via text, to have her open the sliding door for me when I got home so I didn’t have to open the building door and then our apartment door. This summer she had a lot more independence and started staying home on her own more communicating with me via text and Skype while I was out. Her brother either in his room or just down the road at the apartment pool where he worked. I miss those 2am feedings with just her and me and the TV falling asleep on the couch. And now in a week I send my son on the train down to Chicago daily for college. I cry taking my son to the circus and taking my daughter to concerts, those are the things that push me over the edge due to their utter excitement at them (though I doubt that will happen with my son anymore)
This year I have a son off to college and a daughter entering Kindergarten ( I know, right?) He got all the tears; so hard to see him off on his own! I’m excited for my little one to begin her journey.
You are not alone. I am the same way. Our family has a tradition after the kids arw off to school. We say a blessing to wish them a successful year and seal it with a shot of irish whiskey. My grandmother’s family has done this for genarations
I am right with you! I remember feeling so guilty for wanting to go back to work after my first daughter was born. I would see posts from my friends about how sad they were to leave their children and I felt like there was something wrong with me. She is four now. I am just not “that mom”. Thank you for your honesty!
space is healthy, Annabel learning to form relationships with out you by her side is so important. I embraced my girls going to school, whole heartedly. I think crying when your child goes to preschool is the minority here (with first day cuteness exceptions of course)! I will confess, I cried my eyes out as the bus pulled away when my oldest went on a 4 day outdoor ed trip in 4th grade.
SCHOOL!!!! Best invention ever!!!!! We started here in Maine yesterday and I was doing the back to school dance all day!!!
Everybody is different. I’ve always had to work, so sending my kids off to school was natural. I would feel guilty if they had a hard time being left behind, but that didn’t happen very often. I am just so grateful that I have children to be able to send to school, that I want them to learn as much as they can and have fun while they are there. I don’t think that is wrong at all. So glad Annie enjoys school. It is way better than the alternative.
I am so glad to see I’m not alone in this. When I see my Facebook friends posts about how upset they are to send their kids back to school and how much they’ll miss them, I almost feel abnormal because I don’t feel that way at all. I have 4 kids, ages 3 to 16 and I have never been one of those parents that linger outside the door when I drop my child off for the first day of Kindergarten. We need time apart or we drive each other absolutely nuts. I love them with all my heart but that old saying about absence making the heart grow fonder? Totally true.
I am sooooooooooo right there with you. Two hotheaded, stubborn, mouthy ladies in one house all day long only means more time spend knocking noggins.
Totally agree with you! I have never been sad about sending my kids to school. My oldest started Kindergarten this year and everyone kept asking me how I was doing. I’m fine! Kind of made me feel like I should be sad, but I’m just not. Of course I’m nostalgic about how fast she’s grown up, but I’m excited for her and for me to get a little break. I think most people, if they’re honest, would agree with you on this post.
“Our personalities are just too similar, and if you leave us together all day, every day, bad things will happen.” I busted out laughing reading this sentence! This is totally me and all three of my kids! I love them so much but if you leave them alone with me for too long something major always happens! Someone is always having a meltdown! And my friends whine and complain when school starts early (August 11th this year)and I’m like, “where’s the glass of wine” and celebrate!
Thank you for sharing this because I feel like I’m in the minority among my friends in feeling like this too. I could relate to so many things in your post. Both my kids and I appreciate each other more when we’ve had our time apart!
kris (lower case) says:
my son started high school last week. while i don’t miss him everyday and really was always glad he was in school, i miss him being 3 or 4 and having that time. i miss reading to him, i miss spending time with him. i miss things i will never get to do with him again. i can’t even explain what i miss exactly but i know i miss it. i will be the mother sobbing at graduation and him going off to college..i know that now.
Great post. I don’t miss my kids while they are away at school, with family, etc. My youngest (of four) started kindergarten last week and the first day of school, a bunch of the parents were standing around saying that they were sad, I said ‘I’m not sad’ and everyone looked at me like I was weird. I know it makes me look a little mean or like i don’t love my kids, but thats not why I don’t miss them when they go to school. They all need that time to be away from me and meet new people and become who they are. I’m calling BS on all the ‘sad’ parents on Facebook. I think people think they have to say they’ll miss them or that they are sad about it even if it’s not really true.
I’m with you. I love being a mom, and would do anything at all for my kids. But I am NOT sad when they go to school. Putting my son on the bus for his first day of kindergarten last year was hard, but more out of a sense of protectiveness (he looked so LITTLE getting on that bus!) than out of missing him.
I have not yet shed tears over either year of my daughter’s preschool. Like you, she and I do better when we have some time apart. And my third is a handful, so I don’t think I’ll be sad to have a little break from him next year, either. I love watching their brains soak up new information and perspectives that I just can’t provide.