When Magdalen reached 18 months, I started considering Mother’s Day Out programs. I had a thousand reasons why I wanted to send her. The list started with getting her more socialized with children her age, and it ended with me keeping my sanity. I took a couple of tours, made a few phone calls, confided in a few mommy friends, and just like that, I was waiting in line for registration in March.
I heard horror stories of lines being wrapped around the building, spots not being available, and just pure craziness, but thankfully they were all rumors. Registration went as smoothly as it possibly could, and I was even told that Magdalen was accepted into the three-day program! As soon as I left the building, I wanted to jump for joy. MY GIRL WAS GOING TO MOTHER’S DAY OUT!
August came along and the first day of school photos were starting to flood my Facebook and Instagram feeds. Of course, this last-minute momma was running around the week before trying to get an outfit together and get a sign printed! Sunday rolled around, and we finally had our parent open house. As I walked in by myself ,I tried to hold back the tears. The desk and chairs were so small, yet the classroom felt so big. My little girl was not so little anymore.
I listened to the teacher speak, introduced myself, took pictures to share with my husband, and slowly walked out of the building looking around. Instead of jumping for joy before making it to my car, I was holding back my tears. Was she ready for this? Was I ready for this? As I closed the door to my car, I could not contain my emotions. I was full out ugly crying.
I got myself together and began the drive home. I knew the next few weeks were going to be rough on me, but I had no idea what was about to take place over the next few weeks.
Open House was day one. Magdalen seemed to like it. She played and left seeming confident. The only tears that were shed that day were from this momma.
The two days of school started with excitement and ended with me picking up a hoarse, crying, tired little girl. It was absolutely horrible. She was excited about showing me her crafts from the day so I decided it would get better the next week.
This was the week of pure madness. She would immediately start crying when we walked up to the classroom, and she would immediately start crying when she saw me at pick up. Her teacher told me she was doing great and that her actions were normal. I was battling with major mommy guilt.
Weather advisories left us with one day of school. Magdalen seemed excited this week! I decided to go in and watch her play as I spoke with her teacher about a note that was sent home the week before. Sadly, the teacher told me that she was separating herself from the rest of the class, but she assured me things would get better. I politely smiled and left my crying child for the day. I called my husband and hysterically asked him if I had made the wrong decision. We decided we would give it until mid-October. Maybe she just was not ready.
Week Four & Week Five
I was trying every trick in the book. I would show excitement about her new school and reassure her that I would be back to get her in the afternoon. I talked to her about all of her friends and teachers, and we had a strict schedule in the morning ending with a hug and kiss before we got into the building. Tantrums were thrown as I left the classroom, but I tied that to short separation anxiety. The teacher would send me pictures of her, taken minutes after I left, with her smiling and playing with her classmates. Things were finally starting to get better. Now instead of tears, I was getting hugs and smiles as I picked her up, and after school playground trips were a must.
This week was THE WEEK. I walked her to the classroom gave the teacher her backpack, and I got a wave from my sweet girl. “Bye Mom! Love you!”
By week nine, I was dropping her off in the car-line. She waves and smiles at all of the teachers, and the place where she once cried is now a place of joy for her. She loves her school and it shows through her crafts and our little conversations about her day.
Although it was rough at first, I’m happy I, I mean we, stuck it out. I see my sweet little girl growing and thriving everyday, and I now know that I did make the right decision.
All children are different, but remember moms, one day it will click for your little one. Maybe it will be the first day, or maybe it will be 3 months down the road, but just remember to be patient. If it does not work, that is okay too! Schools will always be here, and there is always next year!