For any parent out there who wants to cling tighter to their baby whenever they think about their babies going to school, and a physical pain sits in your heart like a boulder on your soul...I have hope for you.
My therapist once told me that one of the cruelest things we endure as mothers is that we grow and carry our babies inside us for nine months, and when we birth them into the world they don't belong to us.
It was a statement I didn't want to dwell on. My baby doesn't belong to me? I understood what she meant though. Being a parent is bittersweet--watching them grow, and become their own person. Our job is simply to guide them, provide love and security...but our children belong to the world.
So, even just a few months ago, as I signed my son up for preschool, I felt very emotional and attached to him. I wasn't sure I was ready. My son will be attending the preschool where we've been attending a Parent and Me class and the director said if we wanted we could do one day a week of preschool along with Parent and Me during the summer to ease our son into preschool, or we could even start him in preschool during the summer. So, I decided to go with the former. Ease my son into preschool. Really, I was easing myself into preschool.
But you know what? Starting maybe a couple weeks before the summer session started, I suddenly was feeling like maybe one day is not enough. When I sent him to his first day of preschool, dropping him off was hard because he cried, but I knew it would get easier, and soon he'd get used to his new routine. Sure enough, one day was definitely not enough. Haha. And his preschool days are only half days right now...so 3.5 hours to get as much done as I need to is not enough!
This reminds me of our nursing journey. When he turned one, I wasn't ready to wean him, and neither was he. And WHO recommends 2 years of nursing so I was happy to continue. But what pushed me to eventually wean was the exhaustion I felt. I think around 18 to 20 months was when I started to feel like okay, let's start to gently wean, if possible. And by two, I was like...okay we gotta do this, baby. Band-aids on. No mas nenes.
So, part of my readiness for preschool also stems from my own exhaustion and mental health needs.
Preschool is great for both of us. And how happy he is to see me when I pick him up...it's like when you come home and your puppy jumps up and down and won't stop licking you.
And that's why I say, that for those of you who maybe are like me, who have been holding on tight and don't want to let go but know that you have to, know that there may come a day when you're like...damn, I'm tired. Damn, if I could have at least one time during the day when I can go to the bathroom in peace, that would be beautiful. And then you'll think...okay preschool, take my child. Help me raise him. Teach him discipline and manners and songs I don't want to sing. Socialize him. Educate him.
The nuclear family was a grave mistake. We were never meant to raise our kids by ourselves...so if you don't have a village around you helping you with child care...know that preschool is your village (which is why finding the right preschool is so important!). When you're by yourself, you're the teacher, mother, playmate, chef, ass-wiper. But when they go to preschool, preschool takes so much of that weight off. And I'm lucky I have my parents nearby who help out a few days a week. But it's not enough. When they say "it takes a village to raise a child," it's because that's literally how children used to be raised. Only now we have to fork out give or take $1,000/ month for our village.
Anyone else feel me here? What do you love and don't love about sending your kids to school?