The pain, agony and defeat of getting your kids to school
If you are a working mom, you know how stressful a morning drop-off to daycare, babysitter, or school can be. Now that we are officially in back-to-school mode, Biz e-Moms everywhere are feeling the pain. I know you are because I am too.
Our family has a very specific routine that must be adhered to in order to avoid drama of massive proportion. Sometimes, even when the routine is followed, there can still be a breakdown in the system. (And, by system I mean children.)
Our routine goes something like this:
6:00 a.m. – I wake up to begin the process. I get dressed and put on make-up.
6:30 a.m. – Biz e-Dad wakes up. Usually, my three-year-old daughter, Biz e-Baby1, is first. My husband or I go into her room, draw the curtains, and don’t say a word. (Let the sleeping giant awake on her own s-l-o-w-l-y.) Abrupt awakening can only lead to a meltdown.
6:35 a.m. – We take my 17-month-old son, Biz e-Baby2, out of his crib making sure he has his pacifier before laying him on the changing table. We change his diaper and get him dressed. He is easy, usually.
6:40 a.m. – Biz e-Baby2 and Biz e-Dad go downstairs to the kitchen to eat breakfast. Biz e-Baby1 wakes up. I finish getting ready.
7:00 a.m. – I dress Biz e-Baby1 and we go downstairs to eat breakfast. I play Dora The Explorer (the La Maestra de Musica episode) on DVR. Biz e-Dad takes Biz e-Baby2 back upstairs to brush his teeth (he has tons of teeth—like a shark!)
7:10 a.m. – Biz e-Baby1 goes upstairs to brush her teeth.
Biz e-Dad or I usually check the bags that need to come to school. We must have one bag per child containing the following items: blankie and pillow for nap time, stuffed animal, pacifier, lunch boxes with sippy cups and name labels, and any other signed paperwork or supplies that may be required by the school.
(I don’t know why, but this is always the hardest part. You’d think we would have it down to a science by now, but somehow something always gets left at home! Don’t even get me started with summertime when on alternating days of the week we need to bring swimsuits and sunscreen.)
7:15 a.m. – Everyone walks to the car (my beloved minivan), gets strapped in the right car seat, and off we go.
Then there’s the drop-off.
There are good drops-offs (such as the one I was fortunate enough to experience this morning.) Or, there are bad drop-offs (such as the ones that took place every day for the last two weeks.)
The good drop-offs involve smiling children, hugs, kisses and a wave goodbye. That’s pretty straight forward.
The bad drop-offs (those sobbing, clinging to your leg, dry-heave coughing, gut-wrenching, bad-drop offs) are hard on both the kid and the parent. But, I think mostly on the parent.
My daughter’s recent series of bad drop-offs was directly related to two factors. First, we had just come home from our family vacation in South Carolina. It’s always difficult to come back to the grind after a long period of time together with mommy and daddy. The second contributor was that by the time she came back, she was no longer in the same classroom (the toddler room) anymore nor did she have her favorite teacher. She had been moved up to the preschool room. These two issues were too much for her to bear and thus made our transition into preschool ugly.
No matter how much I tried to reassure her or prepare her for the events that were to come, each morning for two weeks Elise was overcome with fear and had a major meltdown prior to 8:00 a.m. This translated into me having a spike in blood pressure, pit-out sweats in my newly dry-cleaned shirts, and handprints in my pressed trousers before getting to the office. It was exhausting.
However, today the tides changed. I am not sure how or why (and don’t really care) but today it was over. Like the picture-perfect vision of what a morning drop-off should be, we all got ready on time, left the house on time, and smoothly greeted our teachers at the door upon arrival at school.
I watched my babies excitedly run into their rooms and begin playing with their classmates. There was hardly a backward glance in my direction.
That’s what we all long for, right? I should be happy. But, a part of me was sad. I was a little hurt they didn’t need me or cling to me before saying goodbye. Once the perfect drop-off happened, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I know in my heart of hearts, that it is healthy for children to transition and also for them to gain independence. Yet, in that moment, the first day of kindergarten, high school graduation, college, and their weddings all flashed before my eyes. I choked back the tears and got my wits about me. It was the right thing to do.
I’m not the first and certainly won’t be the last to face drop-off drama. I consider it a rite of passage. This morning, I just hit the next milestone of many in busy mom motherhood.
Motherhood To Do List:
- Birth – CHECK
- Nursing – CHECK
- Potty Training – CHECK
- The Drop-Off – CHECK
- First day of kindergarten: harder on the parents … (sfgate.com)
- Upstairs, Downstairs (prettybabies.blogspot.com)
- How to Get Your Children to School (parenting.blogs.nytimes.com)