As a mother, I’ve found that you fall into one of two camps: You LOVE back to school season, or you HATE back to school season. I have my feet planted firmly in the latter group. Many moms will tell you that your feelings on school will shift as your children grow older. The stomach-sinking feeling of sending your kid off to kindergarten supposedly turns to feelings of freedom and joy as they move up in grade levels. I’ll believe it when I see it.
This year, we sent our first born off to five day per week, full day kindergarten and I would be lying if I said I feel any better a week in than I did that first day. I hate knowing that someone else is getting to experience the best parts of her days with her, us only receiving the highlight reel after her school day. I hate even more knowing that it will be like this forever now – having to share her with the world until she eventually leaves the “nest” and heads off to college. (An event I literally can’t even think about without crying like a maniac.)
Don’t get me wrong. There have been some good parts about kindergarten so far. I’m already seeing her excitement for learning and we love hearing about the new friends she’s making. Her teachers this year seem wonderful, she’s gaining so much confidence from playing soccer two nights a week, and I’ve been enjoying some extra one-on-one time during the days with her little brother.
There have also been some not so good parts. For instance, the fact that five days into the school year, I received the dreaded “Your kid threw up in art class” call from the school nurse. Or that she came home the other day and burst into tears after telling us a story about a kid who was saying “naughty words” at the lunch table. (The word, we later found out, was “chicken butt.”) I know there will be times that test our patience with this whole back to school routine, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. There will undoubtedly be mornings when she isn’t so excited to scramble off to school, afternoons when she’s too tired to keep her composure, and Lord knows we’re already dealing with trying to organize the mountains of paperwork and notices being sent home in her backpack!
I guess I don’t really know where I was going with this post, other than to say that motherhood is hard.
The difficulties ebb, flow, and shift as we go – from newborn to toddler to school-age… and then bracing for the impact of teenage years (God help us all!). Sending your hearts off to be cared for by others at school is not an easy task. It’s one that has been accompanied by my fair share of tears. I guess the most we can do is hope and pray our children are able to stay true to themselves when they are surrounded by behaviors of others. To be kind and sit with the lonely kids at the lunch table. To never be afraid to answer or ask a question. To be proud of themselves for their accomplishments – no matter how small they might seem.
As a mom, I also realize I need to loosen my grip a bit – even if it takes prying my hands open finger by finger, day by day and week by week as I start getting used to this new normal. To trust that the teachers will guide my child in the right direction, squash any bad habits that may arise, and be an extension of us – the parents – to the best of their abilities.
And last but not least? Let my daughter never lose the innocence of thinking “Chicken butt” is a swear word.
WRITTEN BY SAMANTHA JO
Samantha is the founder and owner of BuffaloMoms.com. Her friends call her Sam, Sammi, or Sammi Jo. Her two favorite people call her “Mommy.” Follow along with her ramblings on Twitter and Instagram, or on her personal blog, Kin + Kindling.