A few months ago, I wrote about our struggle with whether to send our July baby to kindergarten or red-shirt her. We ultimately decided to go ahead and enroll her in kindergarten. After lots of in depth discussions with her daycare director and 2 months of speech therapy, we were confident that she was ready. It’s been one month, and I’m even more certain that kindergarten was the right choice. Our daughter has learned so much, and we love her teachers and school. Thankfully, she’s excited to go to school each day and has adjusted to her new school with no issues.
Me on the other hand? That’s a different story. It turns out that I am the one who wasn’t ready for kindergarten. And no, it has nothing to do with being sentimental about my baby growing up. While my daughter was in daycare, our routine was easy. She was dropped off in the morning and picked up in the afternoon. I knew she was loved and taken care of, and for the most part, there was nothing else to worry about. Kindergarten, on the other hand, has me constantly on edge!
It all started with transportation. I am blessed to work from home and have some flexibility in my day. I looked forward to being able to pick her up in carpool so that she was home early. It did mean that I would use my lunch break to pick her up and that I would have to do an hour or so of work when we got home. After a week, my stress level was through the roof! Trying to perfectly time when I should leave to make it through the carpool line quickly combined with the unpredictability of Baton Rouge traffic was a disaster. By the 3rd week, I had determined that it would work better to send her to aftercare so that I could complete my workday at 4 then be able to pick her up without having to rush. While this has lifted a weight for me, my daughter is disappointed and wants to be able to leave right after school. So now we’re looking at alternatives to aftercare.
Then there’s the daily folder and the homework binder. A folder comes home and goes back each day. In it, there is a form to sign acknowledging the review of her day. Ok, not too bad. It also has any other random notifications that we need to know about. There are always more forms to sign, sheets to read, and activities to keep up with. Always something to be on top of! Homework binders are sent home on Mondays to be completed through the week and returned on Fridays. Each night, I’m praying that we can get a few minutes of homework in and still have time to play and relax and eat dinner. None of those things are all that big of a deal individually. But somehow, the totality of it weighs heavy on me. I constantly feel on edge about balancing it without forgetting anything.
But it’s all the extra stuff that’s making me feel like I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. I’m thrilled that my daughter is at a school where the parents are incredibly active with a strong Parent-Teacher Association and receptive administration. But that also means that there is a lot going on! For an introvert, it becomes overwhelming quickly. In the past month, I’ve downloaded what seems like a dozen school related apps, filled out t-shirt forms, snowball day, a field trip, a fundraiser and now there is a superhero day coming up. And that’s just the stuff that I can remember!
And of course, the cost of these activities adds up! One of the most exciting things about my daughter going to school was no longer having to pay for daycare. Uniforms and school supplies are to be expected, but there is always something else to pay for. Fundraisers and muffins with mom and donuts with dad and holiday celebrations, oh my! These events are all awesome and I’m truly glad they are happening. But I still have trouble wrapping my mind around all the things I need to remember and all the money I need to spend.