Kindergarten Part I: Mommy’s Thoughts

The first day of kindergarten marked one of the happiest times if my life so far. I did feel a little emotional thinking about how lucky we are to have found such a beautiful, sweet school for Ava, but it was impossible to feel sad about her going since I will be seeing her so much more than I have for the past 3 years.

For 3 years Ava went to the preschool that has helped us become the family we are today. I am eternally grateful to her teachers there and we are already missing the magical festivals, the bountiful feasts, and the natural beauty her school brought into our lives. The first year Ava came home, our friend and Ava’s grandma took turns watching her while I worked half time. Then I went back to work full time and Ava went to school full time. I had lots of mommy guilt and life was stressful nine months out of the year. I felt like I wasn’t being a good teacher or a good mother (not to mention good family member, friend, pet owner, house cleaner, etc). Luckily I felt so good about the preschool, but it was still hard.

Now that we’re expecting Evan to come home soon, I took a year leave of absence from teaching to be at home with the kids. Taking Ava to school for 2 hours and 50 minutes and then getting to spend the rest of the day with her feels like a luxury I could never before imagine. Soon Evan will be home and things will be a little more busy, possibly chaotic, but I can’t imagine trying to do this and work as well. Many women (and some men) have strong opinions about this topic and I’m not trying to condemn or condone either side, but I am saying this is so much easier and even more enjoyable for me. Some parents believe it’s best for their kids to have a parent at home, but I’m not even sure how I feel about that. Ava learned so much from her preschool experience, I’m not sure I could have replicated it. Some women I know say that staying at home with the kids is a hard job, but most of the stay at home moms I know who say it’s such a hard job have very young children (yes, more than one child). Imagine hanging out with a pretty mellow 5 year old who likes to get out and do things. It’s pure fun 95% of the time. (We’ll see how I feel when I have a two year boy at home. Staying at home might quickly become a much harder job.)

So this is why I barely even thought about how kindergarten is one of those milestones where mothers get teary-eyed and weepy because their babies are growing up. I would love to freeze Ava at age 5 and I would especially love to find a way to feel like I didn’t miss out on 2 years of her life, but none of that came to mind this morning as we met the teacher outside the door, gave a few hugs and kisses, and saw each other less than 3 hours later.

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