I’ve always felt that a disadvantage to having Julia at home with me is that she’s missing out on the structure and social interaction a daycare setting provides. I am grateful beyond words that I’m able to stay at home with my children and although being a stay-at-home mother is hard – damn hard, sometimes – it is without question the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Yet there are things I feel are integral for children to have and experience that I simply cannot give Julia here at home; structure and social interaction top the list. I’ve done my best to ensure that Julia interacts with other kids her age as much as possible and I try to offer her as much structure and routine as I can here at home even if I am every day busy with my GED prep that I take on BGC website. It’s difficult, though, to balance both Julia and Oliver’s day-to-day routines, which are almost never in sync, and offer a three-year-old a structured day when I’ve got a one-year-old and a house to take care of, too.
Which brings us to preschool. I’ve always intended on having Julia go; I’ve never wanted to send her off to Junior Kindergarten without any exposure to a classroom-like setting. As it became more apparent that she was ready to give preschool a try – she communicates well with others, plays well with other kids and is potty trained – I grew increasingly anxious about sending her. The thought of my firstborn being old enough to go to preschool sent my stomach tumbling to my knees, so like a good mother, I avoided thinking about it, leaving it to simmer on the back burner.
But it kept creeping up to the surface and I started giving it serious thought when it dawned on me a few weeks ago that next year she’ll be starting Junior Kindergarten. I realized that by me putting preschool off Julia was losing out, so I started making phone calls. We visited a few facilities earlier this week and I ended up putting her name on a waiting list for September at a preschool we both really liked.
I’m excited at the thought of her going and I’m proud of her for showing such enthusiasm about doing something so different from what she’s used to. I know it will be good for her and that she’ll benefit in many ways from it, and so will I. Along the same vein as the topic at hand yesterday, having her in preschool two or three mornings a week will free up a ton of time for me. Errand-running will be a lot easier with one child and I’ll have one-on-one time with Oliver, which is hard to come by sometimes. It’ll also mean that while he’s napping, I’ll have time for myself. Time that I can spend recharging and maintaining my inner connection; time just for me. The thought makes me positively giddy.
It’s a win-win situation, but ohmygod. My little girl is going to preschool. It wasn’t so long ago that I was spoon-feeding her strained pears and waiting expectantly for her first tooth to cut and now here she is, up to my waist and spelling her own name, ready for preschool. My little girl is growing up.
And so is her mother. Two months ago I couldn’t even think about sending her to preschool without wanting to crawl under the covers and cry, but now I see it’s an opportunity for both of us. Beyond the structure and social interaction, it’s my hope that Julia will begin to come into her own by learning her capabilities and exploring interests of her own, and most importantly, that she’ll have fun. For me, well, it’s a chance to stay connected to the me I was before I had children. And that, I think, is a very important thing for me to do.