My Current Mommy Struggle

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That’s a loaded title, huh?  I mean, I have so many “mommy struggles” some days I almost don’t even know where to begin!  But I will start with my current one.

So I signed my 4 year old up for a little 6 week summer school program for a few hours 3 mornings a week to keep her entertained & allow me some time to work.   We originally signed up with a little boy she has known since birth so she would have a friend to go with.  Unfortunately 2 weeks into the program they decided to stop going due to unforeseen circumstances and subsequently my dear daughter has been miserable this week not wanting to go to this new school without a friend.

A little background on her personality.  At home she is rambunctious, extroverted, spirited, and never stops talking. But at preschool school, she is more quiet, shy and much more introverted.  Which is so weird to me!  It is almost like she is a different kid sometimes.

Last year at our first parent conference in the fall when my daughter’s preschool teacher described her as “quiet”  I almost had to laugh out loud as that would have been the last word to describe her. Luckily she made some best little friends from almost the beginning, which made her love preschool because she loved her friends so much. All good things.

Fast forward to her first experience at a new “school” this summer.  Monday getting her there was OK, but afterwards she said she never wanted to go back because she missed her friend, and yesterday there was so much drama in the morning about not wanting to go, it was almost unbearable.

I went on Monday morning and asked the teachers to help facilitate her playing with some of the other girls and tried to introduce her to some of the other kids.   I named one in particular, and said… how about you try playing with {I will call her Abby to protect the innocent} Abby today? After school on Monday I asked her who she played with and she said “no one.”  She told me Abby didn’t want to play with her.

Oh my God moms.   My heart just BROKE.

So I told my husband, in a total emotional “Mommy Bear” state, if she doesn’t like it after this week I am not going to send her!!!

My hubby and I agree on most everything philosophy-wise in parenting, but this has been one time we are not seeing eye-to-eye.  And it is frustrating the heck out of me – mostly because I can also see his points as well.

His point is we are NOT sending her to a torturous place.  It is a cute program with art, puppets, water play, etc.

He thinks if we say “OK, if you don’t want to go, you don’t have to” and pull her out of the program it will send a bad message that anytime there is a tough situation in life or when she doesn’t want to do something or when she is out of her comfort zone, there is an escape.  She’s a creature of habit and routine (definitely her Father’s daughter!) so it’s new and she doesn’t like change, but we have to give her a chance to get used to it.

Interestingly enough, he was the shy kid in school too, so he thinks it is good for her to be in a situation that facilitates her making new friends.  His point is that she made friends in her preschool last year, and she will make them at this program. The problem is that hasn’t happened yet.  Albeit it’s only been 2 days since she she has been there alone.

What I am also struggling with is the fact that this is only going to be the beginning.  My gut instinct is to want to protect her.  To keep her from anyone or any situation that is at all unpleasant or short of SO MUCH FUN.  But I realize I am not going to be able to protect her from everything in life. That’s just life! Mean girls included. Oh God, don’t even get me started on that one.

As a mom (but also the little girl in me) wants to scream YOU NEVER HAVE TO GO BACK!   But I do think it is unfair to not at least give her the chance to make a friend on her own.

So, I will send her tomorrow, it’s water day, and hope that she can bond with someone (God PLEASE!) over the sprinkler. And if not, well, we will just have to cross that bridge next week…


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  1. 1
    Holly says:

    Awwww….poor Emma….and poor mama!! I completely understand! I hope that she enjoys water day and let us know how it goes!!

    • 2
      Jen says:

      Thanks for the support – will update you tomorrow when she comes home!

  2. 3
    Lin says:

    Aw…I’m sorry she’s having a difficult time bonding with other children. I’m sure with time she’ll find someone to play with & I think it’s a good thing that you didnt pull her out of the program 🙂

  3. 4
    Sarah says:

    I could’ve written something exactly like this about my oldest daughter. She’s a serious creature of habit and any new situation terrfies her. I completely understand where both of you are coming from; I think mommies have a much harder time with this issue than dads. I also know, from my years of teaching Kindergarten, that some kids are slow to warm and crank up the drama just for their parents. Often, the crying and sadness is done within minutes of mom or dad leaving. Hang in there!

  4. 5
    Jen says:

    She definitely saves the MOST drama for her mama. No doubt. My husband is going to take her tomorrow, I am interested in how that goes. She is considerably less dramatic for him. Fingers crossed!

  5. 6
    susie says:

    isn’t it the worst when our kids (not on purpose) tug just the right heart strings to make them break! i am so sorry for the trouble your daughter is having. being a working mom i\’ve seen a lot through my son\’s preschool. everytime he moves up an age level,its like starting all over again. he is very much like your daughter, a creature of habit. he\’s found his friends and sticks with them. he\’s so outgoing at home, but does a 180 out where he\’s unfamiliar. i think talking to the teachers and asking them to help facilitate is wise. i try this trick too, when i am leaving and my son won\’t let me go. i say, \"you know if you need extra hugs today and i can\’t be there, miss XX is really good at giving them. so ask her if you feel sad!\" i usually mention it with the teacher in earshot : )

    it will happen, she\’ll bond with her teachers as well as other classmates! the more they go, the more it becomes a part of the new routine! i\’ve had more days than i can count crying as i walked out of school. hang in there!! i hope things go better with your hubby tomorrow and from now on : )

    • 7
      Jen says:

      Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment. I love the advice on the hugs part. I am most worried that by time she settles in, the program will be OVER in 3 weeks. Geesh! Oh boy, one week at a time! Thanks again! 🙂

  6. 8
    melissa says:

    We had a very similar issue with Halia when we moved to Kansas City and she started preschool. It was DREADFUL, and Sasha insisted she keep going (good thing he dropped off and I picked up because it would have never happened in reverse!) and she definitely did do better as time went on (and was ALWAYS happy and playing when I picked her up, so I knew it wasn\’t THAT bad). But, funny enough, we switched her to a new school (for many reasons) three months later and there hasn\’t been ONE tear. Not one. It\’s SO amazing and I don\’t know if it\’s because she\’s now been in a communal setting away from me/home and had a chance to get acclimated to a new setting, or if it\’s truly the kids and teachers. I have to say, the boys are nicer to her than the girls!!! Funny/sad how the \’cliques\’ can start so young…Sasha said some kids that have been there for a year or longer still cry in the morning. Go with your instinct and what feels right.

  7. 9
    Melissa says:

    Awww! I am a kindergarten teacher and have had many similar situations. The truth is the kids are usually just fine while they are there. I am sure the teacher would tell you if there was a real issue. I would suggest planning a play date with one of the other kids in the class to help facilitate a new friendship! Good luck! My little guy is only 13 months but I know it is going to be tough when I have to send him to school, it is so different as a Mommy! P.S. I posted this on the wrong one at first sorry!

  8. 10
    N says:

    I totally understand where you are coming from! My daughter often tells me that she sits alone at lunch and at recess and doesn’t have any friends or that someone said they didn’t want to play with her. It makes me want to burst in tears! My husband is like yours and says she has to figure these things out on her own… ack!!! Other than constant communication with the teachers, I have found it extremely helpful for me to go and covertly observe her at school. I then see that she does communicate, even if it’s just a little bit, with other kids and she does sit by someone at lunch, as the teachers report to me. She’s not the most social, but she’s very independent and the absence of a “buddy” with her all the time, doesn’t seem to bother her in the least, like it does me sometimes. It has helped me so much to actually see this and puts my mind at ease. Maybe you could give it a try and see if it helps you to see her interact in the class or recess setting. Best of luck!

  9. 11
    Holly says:

    So how did it go, Jen? I am willing to bet that it went much better for your hubby when he dropped her off. Why is that?! Seriously. My husband gets waaay less drama from my girls than I get. 🙂

    • 12
      Jen says:

      I am so touched by your responses! And, Holly, thanks for checking in again! Friday went MUCH MUCH MUCH better. I was relieved beyond belief. She said she played with TWO girls. Can you believe it? It seemed like it had to take her the week to adjust. Crossing my fingers for tomorrow, but afterwards on Friday she actually said she had FUN. What?! I am so happy my husband knocked some sense into me and forced me to give her a chance. More update tomorrow!

  10. 13

    So glad to hear she did better. My recommendation was going to be to give it a few more days before pulling her out. I’m lucky because I have two very outgoing boys. It’s a good character trait to build – ability to make friends easily. Just remember she needs practice. 🙂

    Hang in there mama bear! It gets harder. 🙁 We had to deal with reporting a school bully this year…

  11. 14
    Holly says:

    Just checking back in…(I was out of town) and SO relieved to hear that it went better for her. My oldest (4 and a half) starts kindergarten in FIVE weeks and I am already freaking out. She is so excited but I am a wreck. Ugh, I am not looking forward to this whole school thing!! 🙂 Can’t I keep them home forever?! 😉

    • 15
      Jen says:

      It is just like Murphy’s Law. By that Friday, she was so much better. Talked about two little girls she made friends with, and we were totally on track. Then last week, Monday, she came down with a bad bug, so she was SICK all week, so I kept her home, including yesterday, and ended up at the doctor for an ear infection.

      So, now I am in a total pickle, because if she is 100% by Wednesday, that would mean we would have only 5 more times to go, and I am not in the mood to start all over.

      Oh, what to do?! She is still coughing today, I will see how it goes.

      Between you and me (and all the readers of this post on my blog!) I am leaning towards just saying “forget it!” Our regular preschool we love is only 6 weeks away.

      Kindergarten!!!!! WOW WOW WOW!!! That is a huge milestone!!!!! You will have to prep me for that one. Still have one more year until I face those emotions! Good luck! Keep ME posted!

  12. 16
    Holly says:

    Ohhh, that stinks! So what did you decide to do? I totally know what you mean though- I probably would have wanted to just forget it also.

    Yeah, kindergarten is going to be tough- not to mention, Ava is probably going to be on the young end, as she won’t even be 5 yet (bday in November). So many parents ‘red shirt’ their kids, so she could be starting with 6 year olds! Yikes. But she is so very ready; I can’t see keeping her in another year of preschool for that reason alone. I will keep you posted- she starts one month from TODAY!

  13. 17
    Jen says:

    I am just keeping her home. As it turns out, the illness turned into a massive sinus infection for me too, so I wasn’t even up for dealing! Luckily the entire house is finally healthy!

    We started talking about her regular preschool today and she told me how much she missed her friends from school last year, so I am just looking forward to her starting back next month (THANK GOD!) And getting back to our normal routine. We love our preschool so much. It will be good to be back.

    You are SO doing the right thing by starting your daughter “young” if you know she is ready for it! She will do great and love it. So much stimulation and fun things to do! Does she have kids she knows going to school with her?

    Funny thing, I too have a November bday, so I was always the young kid, but it didn’t matter at all. In fact, I started “old” because we lived in Colorado and the cut off was 9/1 and my mom had to wait to start me until the following year. She said she knew I was also ready to go at 4 and it was hard doing an additional year of preschool when she thought I should have gone to kindergarten. Fast forward a few years and we moved to Arizona and I ended up in a combo 4th/5th class. I was a 4th grader. I ended up making friends with the 5th graders. Because I was more mature, my teacher recommended I skip 5th grade and go onto 6th with them, which I did and it was the best thing to happen. Not like I was a child genius by ANY means (LOL), it was just where I was supposed to be all along!

    You know in your gut it’s the best thing for her. I am excited for you guys to start on this adventure. I might need tips this time NEXT year when we will be anticipating the same!!!!!!

    Thanks for checking in!

  14. 18
    Lidia says:

    This forum neeedd shaking up and you’ve just done that. Great post!

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