Kindergarten registration has begun. I’m sad.
It’s true that my “little baby” is now five years old. She is growing up quickly. I’m amazed at her intelligence and sunny personality. Needless to say, I am proud of her. However, I’m also sad that my little chick is getting ready to fly from the nest. I wish that I could wrap her up in my arms and keep her near me forever. That wouldn’t be healthy for either of us, of course, but it’s still hard to let go of my daughter. Kindergarten registration is forcing me to let go of my daughter right now.
I didn’t have this same sadness during my older child’s kindergarten registration.
Then again, he is my older child. In the back of my mind, I realized that I still had my younger child at home with me. Kindergarten didn’t feel like such a drastic change to our family life. Also, my feelings are different this time around due to my children’s different personalities. On one hand, my son is extremely active and outgoing. I had to learn early on to give him space to explore and meet new people. He constantly asks where we are going each day. On the other hand, my daughter is quieter and prefers going places with people she knows. For example, when she attends dance class, she always wants to make sure that I stay in the waiting room to watch her on the monitor. I’m always there to help change her shoes. I love the feeling of being needed.
I’m also struggling more with kindergarten registration this time around because it puts an end to all of my favorite preschooler activities. My daughter and I love going to programs at libraries during the day. While I still attend library programs for school-age children with my son after school or on weekends, it’s just not the same. I also belong to a group for mothers of young children. That will also come to an abrupt end. I worry about losing touch with friends who have younger children because our schedules will no longer be the same.
I also struggle with feelings that my daughter will no longer need me the same way when she starts kindergarten.
Rationally, I know that my job as a parent is to teach my children how to be independent. By the time they are adults, they need to be fully functional people who can operate on their own. The Duct Tape Parenting strategy of fostering independence makes perfect sense to me. I hope that my children will be confident, happy young adults who are able to make good choices and take care of themselves. I don’t want to send children off to college and watch them flounder because they don’t know how to do simple tasks, such as wash their own laundry or cook their own meals.
However, I really enjoy feeling needed. I am happy when my children have a problem and I can swoop in and help them solve it. At this age, they are still impressed by my knowledge. I know this will change sooner than I would like. As they grow older and more independent, they will start learning things that I do not know. They will also begin truly questioning the things I tell them. It won’t just be the endless “Why?” question popular with all toddlers. When my daughter enters the school system, there will inevitably be problems that I just can’t solve for her. The kindergarten registration process is showing me how much my daughter has grown up lately.
I feel like I will lose part of my mom identity when my baby enters kindergarten.
I have been a stay-at-home mom since my older child was born. In addition, I am a pianist, an organist, a singer, a dancer, and a volunteer, but stay-at-home mom has always been first on that list. I’m really sad to see this role come to an end. I will still be a mom, of course, but my daughter will be spending most of her weekdays with her teachers and friends instead of me. Just like my son. The house will seem very empty and quiet.
I also have no idea what to do about finding a job when my daughter starts kindergarten. Right now, I am already a church pianist/organist, but that is extremely part-time. I don’t want to go back to work full-time because I want to be able to continue volunteering at the elementary school. Also, I feel like our family runs a lot smoother when I am home during the day to take care of all the household chores. I feel pressured to pick up some other job, at least part-time, though. My problem is that after seven years at home with my children, I don’t even know where to begin looking.
I am sure that I will cry on my baby girl’s first day of kindergarten.
It is so hard to let your children spread their wings and fly off on their own. I will try to keep my tears at bay until after I leave my daughter at school. I want her to be happy in her new role as a student. My only plan is to take myself out to a nice, relaxing child-free lunch that day to make myself feel better. There are some perks to having older children!