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Sunday

A Peek Into the Life of a Working Mom: My toddler is starting pre-school

Toddler at church, the day before the first day of school
 
I have enjoyed being a mom every moment, even those when I have been complaining about the extra laundry and my fatigue.
I cherished the baby stage. The smells, the snuggling and the cute little feet… What’s not to love?! However, before you’re ready, the time passes and the next thing you know your sweet baby is slapping you in the face when you go on your first business trip. (Visit this link for the tale of "The Slap Heard Around the World") Then again, that could just be my story...
There were other milestones like when my daughter learned to crawl, learned to walk and when she was finally weaned from breastfeeding.  All of those milestones were manageable because at the end of the day I knew where she was every day. She was at home within the care of the woman who watched her and I was able to focus on work. Tomorrow, she starts pre-school and our world is about to change and I am more than a little nervous.
As a working mom, a reliable schedule and reliable childcare is the foundation of success. Up until now, we have had a somewhat blissful existence. We haven't had to adhere to a strict bedtime or wake time. My daughter has been able to live in a world where she has defined her schedule and her "curriculum" has been influenced by her interests. Her parents have been relieved of getting her ready in the morning and rushing to leave work to pick her up from daycare.  Relying on one person to provide childcare is not without its frustrations and sacrifices, still it was the best option for our family. And from a scheduling perspective, it was somewhat idyllic.
One of the things I have learned about motherhood is that things change just when you start finding a groove. And sometimes the child nor the parent is ready for that change.
The toddler has been resistant to starting school. When I asked her a couple of weeks ago whether she wanted to go to school she responded by saying, “No. I want to stay home.” As a mom that made me wonder whether I’m doing the right thing. She’s only 2. She won’t be 3 until the end of September. In prior years that would have disqualified her from entering pre-school, but they changed the rules this year.
Other than her statements to the contrary, I think that she’s ready. She is precocious. She is curious. And she loves to learn. I think that she’ll benefit from being in a structured environment. And I am fairly certain that she’ll thrive. Still, this is a huge adjustment.  And even though she is becoming increasingly more independent, has demonstrated a fearless streak on the playground, and desperately wants to play with the Pittsburgh Pirates when we go to the games… She is my baby. And my baby is flying the coop.
Fortunately, had some foresight. Despite my misgivings about her leaving home to attend pre-school, I decided that I would do everything that I could to ensure her readiness. So, I developed a plan...
Stay tuned for details about my "back to school" plan and how the first day goes. Wish us luck!
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