Letting Your Child Go – To the Mom Who is Struggling with Sending Their First Kid to School
I knew this day would come at some point. The day where you hold your child’s hand, walk them to class and then walk away. I just never imagined it would come so fast.
As I get ready to send my oldest daughter to preschool for the first time, I am consumed with emotions. I always pictured that it would be her crying, not wanting me to leave or begging me to stay at school with her but nope! Not my daughter.
She is beyond excited to start school. Leaving me for a while doesn’t seem to phase her. In fact, it’s completely the opposite of what I expected. It’s me that’s having a hard time which is catching me completely off guard.
If you have followed my blog at all, you know that I suffer from anxiety. I also consider myself a highly sensitive person so, it’s probably not surprising that I am having a hard time with this. However, I still never thought that a normal part of life, such as sending your kid to school, could be so damn hard.
I know my daughter is going to have a blast, make friends and learn lots of new things. So, if I know that she is going to love it, why am I having such a hard time letting her go?
My thoughts on why this is so hard for me:
1.) I Will Miss Her
For almost the last four years, it has been me and her. Our second baby was born about eleven months ago, so we had quite a bit of time where it was just us. She has become my best friend, someone that is always there with me and I truly enjoy her company.
She fills my day with so much joy. Not to mention, she is a huge help with her baby sister. I’m convinced that even the baby is happier when her sister is home. On the flip side, I will get some quality alone time with the baby while my oldest goes to school. I know that this is a good thing for everyone but it’s still hard to let go.
2.) We Live in a Different World
The world is definitely not the same as when I grew up. There are situations that our kids will be faced with that we weren’t, and it scares me. I didn’t grow up in a world where we had drills about what to do if there is an active shooter. I grew up in a world without social media (thank goodness). While now, that has become a big part of my job as a blogger, I can’t imagine the pressure it puts on kids and teenagers to grow up with this.
I think this is part of what terrifies me. Our kids today have to grow up with a different reality and I get that. However, it doesn’t seem to make things much easier in these weeks leading up to her first day.
3.) Lack of Control
Another factor that is making this so hard for me is the lack of control I will have. Unfortunately, I don’t do well when I can’t control things. It’s not my most attractive characteristic, but it is what it is. Not having control over a big event like this causes me severe anxiety. The fact that I won’t know where she is or what is happening with her while she is gone is a huge adjustment to make, especially when I have stayed at home with her for so long.
4.) I Will Worry… And Worry
This goes without saying really. I worry about everything in life. Like I said, I’m highly sensitive and worry about my girls a lot. Now, with school, there is a whole new list of things filling my head with concern.
Will the other kids be nice to her? Will she make friends? Will she have a good teacher? Is the campus safe? Are they careful about who they let onsite? What if a major disaster happens when she is there (i.e. an earthquake)? What if a stranger walks onto the school and tries to harm the kids?
Now, the rational side of my brain (yes, I do have a rational side, although I think it is smaller than most people’s) knows that EVERYTHING WILL BE OK. I know this. However, I think that only time will make this process easier for me.
5.) Some Things Have to Come to an End
With her starting school, other things have to end and some of those things I will miss tremendously. We had a long time where we were able to take naps together. She would cuddle with me and fall asleep while holding my hand and it breaks my heart to know that those days are ending.
I think with her starting school, it’s just the realization that this is one of her first steps to needing me less and it’s a hard thing to go through as a parent.
Being a mom is crazy. There are days I would kill for a break and would give anything for her to go somewhere (like school or Grandma’s) but really, at the end of the day, I LOVE having her at home. She is the most thoughtful, kind, sweet kid I know. She has taught me so much about patience and letting go of what I can’t control.
Bottom line though is that I want to be able to be strong about this for my daughter. I don’t want her to see how hard this is for me and I am determined to cry it out in private. She is so excited to start school and I don’t want to do anything to ruin that.
I recently read a good post on the Reader’s Digest blog called 8 Ways You Can Ease Your Anxiety When You Send Your Kid to Kindergarten. It has some awesome advice for mom’s like me.
I really like what they say about turning anxiety into excitement. I can see how this could help. I am going to try to make everything about preparing for school exciting, such as getting fun labels from Mabel’s Label’s for her stuff, showing her some things that she might learn and doing something special for her, whether it’s a surprise in her lunchbox or a new outfit for her first day.
They also mention having a good cry and I’m so glad they put that out there. I still feel weak sometimes being so sensitive and crying easily over things but this is a big change and I think that us mom’s have the right to have our reservations about sending our kids off into the world without us for the first time.
I guarantee you there will be a lot of crying on my part and I have accepted that. I will just make sure that she doesn’t see any of it. I want this to be a happy event and I don’t want anything to get in the way of her excitement. Therefore, I vow to hold in my tears until I am pulling away from the school.
Are there any other mom’s that had a really hard time letting your child go to school for the first time? What helped you get through it?