The First Day of School: Cheers or Tears?

And…they’re off.  As I looked in my rear view mirror this morning and saw empty car seats and boosters, I could feel my eyes swelling up, although I knew that I should be yelling, “WOO HOO….I’M FREE!!!!”  I felt empty, as if I was missing something…or rather someone.  My world was too quiet and it hit me like a ton of bricks that my kids are growing up WAY too quickly.

It’s back to school week where I live and today my youngest, (my two year old “baby”) started pre-school.  I knew the day would eventually come when all three of my boys were in school, but it was still an emotional one that left me shaken up.  Wasn’t I just pregnant?  Wasn’t I just breastfeeding?  It’s as if I blinked and life fast forwarded to this moment.

It will take some getting used to being without child on a regular basis.  I am sure within a few weeks, when I settle into a routine, I will embrace my alone time, crave it and use up every last second of it, racing to get to the pick up line on time.  I will probably look back and wonder how I could ever question this amazing gift of freedom.

If had a dollar for every person that has said to me, “So what are you going to do with your free time now?”, I would seriously be rich.  Well, I will be heading to the gym most days, then heading home to shower and grab a bite or perhaps tidy up, and at that point, be heading back to the pick up line three hours later.

It cracks me up how instead of people asking if I am sad to have an empty nest for a bit, (three times a week from 9-12), they are asking me what I am going to do to celebrate.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love “me time” (who doesn’t) and have worked hard at being a mom and deserve this time to myself.  On the other hand, being a mom is what I do.  Having a child (or three) tugging at my clothes, all yelling, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy”, at the same time, is my life.  I eventually knew my role of mom would shift, but when did eventually come knocking on my door?

The good news is I know I am not alone and neither are you.  How do I know this?  Because there are ‘Boo Hoo Breakfasts’ occurring right now in pre-schools all over the world.  Part of succeeding as a parent is knowing that you are not the only one experiencing a tough stage.  Mothers everywhere are spending sleepless nights tossing and turning, commiserating with fellow soon to be pre-school moms and wondering where the time has gone.  I am one of these moms and I bet you are probably one too.

Today was a rough day, but a proud day.  My little guy went off to pre-school without shedding a tear.  Me, not so much. I, along with the rest of the moms in the parking lot, sat in our cars in disbelief, hiding our tears behind our sunglasses.

Crying MomOur kids get older with each day that passes by, and with those days, milestones come and go.  One day they are starting pre-school and another day, they will be going off to college.  YIKES!

Just as I teach my kids, I am going to have a positive outlook and embrace this change.  I can spend more time building my business, organizing my house, which you all know is a passion (sickness) I have, and tackle my to-do list that has been building for as long as I can remember.  Maybe I can even pick up a new sport or hobby.  Just kidding…who has time for that?

My goal is not to depress you.  I want you to read this and know that you are normal for stressing over your kids going to school.  You are normal for wanting to slow down time and normal to be baffled at the fact this day has arrived.  You are a mom and that’s what moms do!

Sharing my emotions about the first day of school will hopefully help you feel better about your thoughts and feelings towards the big day.  Let’s take a deep breath, raise our coffee mugs and toast to a ‘quiet’ car ride (with inappropriate old school rap blasting in your mommy vehicle) and a few moments to ourselves!

Remember you are never alone in your journey of parenthood!