Home > motherhood, preschool > I don’t think I’m a bad mom….

I don’t think I’m a bad mom….

Yesterday was The Child’s first day of preschool.

I admit I was a little apprehensive. She’d been very very excited for it and then Monday, when we were talking about it, she asked, “Mommy, what will you be doing?”

“I’ll be having a cup of coffee, sweetheart.”

“Why am I going to school all by myself?”

“You won’t be,” I said, my heart quailing in my chest. “You’ll be with all those new friends and your teachers and the animals…”

She seemed to accept that. But for the rest of the day and all morning Tuesday, she kept asking, “Why am I going to school all by myself?”

I was sufficiently worried that I spent all Monday evening embroidering a special little token with her bear on it so she could keep it in her pocket, like a kiss, for when she needed it.

But then Tuesday came and she skipped right into the classroom and when I said “Goodbye,” she waved and went back to playing like it was no big deal. I walked out without a blink.

There was a little tiny corner of my heart that was wailing, “You’re leaving your little girl with total strangers!” but there was a much bigger part that was thinking, “Three and a half hours all to yourself!”

Other moms were holding each other and sobbing. The teacher, Miss S., made a point of telling me how she’d cried when she put her little girl on the bus for Kindergarten. My sister-in-law told me about how she just sobbed and sobbed.

I walked out and got a chai and sat and read a Laurie R. King book under a tree in Concord.

Should I have wailed, moaned, sobbed? If she had clung to me, screaming, “Mommy, don’t leave me!” maybe I would have. But she was happy and confident. Should my heart be breaking? Other moms, sane moms (not my sister-in-law), have told me how they cried when they left their little ones.

In fact, when The Child was merely a month old, I left her for an hour with my sister-in-law to go get dinner. My s-i-l made a big deal about it, about how the first time she’d left her child, “it was like a physical pull on me, I had to get back to my baby!” She cried while eating and rushed back.

I ate two plates of dinner and meandered back, thrilled to have an hour with my husband.

Am I a bad mom because I’m not tearing at my hair?

Categories: motherhood, preschool
  1. elcynae
    September 17, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    You’re confident, in her and in yourself. Confidence is good, it’s only overconfidence that’s bad. You checked out the school, you’d met the teacher, this is a milestone and a positive experience for both of you. You both know you’re coming back… so what’s to be upset about?

    Of course, that’s the way I think. Maybe I’m a bad mom too. 🙂

  2. elcynae
    September 17, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Oh, apparently I have something else to say. I think a lot of the reason a lot of people cry at these times is actually related to a cultural feeling that we ought to be sad when baby grows up. When baby grows up of course, she isn’t baby anymore. I have all kinds of theories about this, but the relevant one at the moment is that people feel sad when their children grow up partly because they feel they missed the stage before. It seems to happen more with people who are around their kids less. Oddly enough, these are the people who also haven’t been in the company of a small child every waking hour for the past n months. This may also factor in. 😉

  3. aguane
    September 21, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Honestly, I think it varies day by day. Somedays I was soooooo relieved to have a place to take my child, other days I was overwhelmed with guilt at leaving him there, other days I just missed hanging out with him, and still other days it didn’t phase me at all. I think it has a lot to do with what stage you’re both in.

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