Teacher Anxiety

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In parenting, I often ask myself, “Is this normal?!” probably more times than I would like to admit.

Whether it’s something my kids are doing that I find undesirable OR something I am feeling as a mom.

Emma starts 1st grade next Tuesday. We get to find out her classroom this weekend and I am having some major anxiety over which teacher she is going to get. 

We were so lucky with our Kindergarten class last year. Awesome teachers and great group of kids and group of moms.  I think I am afraid we got a little spoiled.

Now that I have gone through a year of elementary school, I have seen firsthand just how IMPORTANT it is to have a stellar teacher.  I mean, it is everything! For all you teachers out there – I can’t tell you how much I admire you!

For 1st grade with the longer days and harder curriculum, I just so badly want her to end up in a classroom that she loves (and I love – who am I kidding?!) and it is killing me at this point because I have absolutely no control!!

So, I ask you mamas with elementary school age kids – is this NORMAL?! Do you get the same anxiety before finding out the classroom and teacher? I thought it would be easier this year because I have been through it before, but I am actually stressing out more.

Tell me I am not alone.  And if I am, please talk me off the ledge.

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Kindergarten Redshirting: What’s a Parent to Do?

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My oldest daughter, Emma, was born on June 11th. Back in my day, most kids with a June 11th birthday would enter Kindergarten at 5 years old, so in my head I had always assumed she would go to Kindergarten the Fall that she turned five.  Am I right?

But then during her second year of preschool, I started to listen to chattering amongst preschool moms on the subject of Kindergarten, and I learned that many of them were opting to delay starting their kids with summer birthdays in Kindergarten until they had turned 6, a choice known as “redshirting.”

I thought this was typically something only parents of fall birthday babies were doing, but it seemed like summer was the new fall as far as opting to delay.

And seeing that Emma would fall into the “summer birthday” category, it seemed as if I had a decision to make, one that I sort of thought would be a no brainer. In my gut I thought Emma was ready, actually knew she was ready, but I started to hear comments from other moms like:

“I want to give my child that extra year to gain more confidence.”
“I want my child to have the advantage of an extra year of maturity.”
“I want my child to have an easier time in school because Kindergarten is so much harder now.”
“I don’t want my child to be one of the youngest ones in the class.”

Hearing their comments, I started to doubt myself, and it made me feel like sending her to Kindergarten as a (younger) 5-year-old would automatically be putting her at a disadvantage.What mom would ever want to feel like they were intentionally putting their kids into a situation at a disadvantage? Was I making the right choice?

I mentioned my fears to my husband who was a little surprised to even be having the conversation. He knew our daughter, and knew she was ready.  He also had the advantage of not overhearing all the comments.  He knew what I always knew, without the self-doubt.

But I still did my due diligence.  After all, it was a decision that would affect her for many years, and was not something I took lightly. I talked to her preschool teacher and I did the Chancy and Bruce Kindergarten Readiness Test, both of which indicated that she was ready. But in the end, I trusted my gut and my five-year-old started Kindergarten last Fall.

Looking back it was the best decision we could have made for her.  She thrived in Kindergarten. She learned, grew, matured and most importantly, she loved it. Knowing what I know now, I believe that waiting a year for her would have been doing her a disservice.

So my advice to any parent looking at this same question with a summer or fall baby would be: do your due diligence, but in the end you have to trust your gut instinct because no one knows your child like you do. It’s easier said than done, but try not to get caught up in everyone else’s opinion about what they are doing with their children ~ their child is not yours.

And once you make a decision, whether it is to start your summer baby at five or six, just know you are making the decision that is the best one for your family. Then I highly suggest staying out of the conversations lest you start to second guess yourself again! I stopped asking moms what they were doing with their kids, because I realized it had nothing to do with us or our decision.

Lucky me, I will have to make the same decision for little sister, a July 2nd birthday. And by the time she goes to Kindergarten, the age deadline will be September 1st, so she really will be one of the youngest. But we will cross that bridge, and at that time, I will have to do the same and trust my gut.

Have you gone through this dilemma?  What did you do?  What is your advice for other moms?

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The Last Day of Kindergarten

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Today is Emma’s last day of Kindergarten.  The picture on the left is from her first day.  I love how she wrote P for 9 in the date.  And there is my Kindergarten Grad on the right.

In the first picture I can sense some anticipation and a little fear in her eyes, today they are filled with joy and excitement.  And so are mine, as well as a few tears, but they are tears of happiness.

When I asked her how she was feeling about school coming to an end, she said, “Happy ~ Sad,” and I thought that was just the most perfect description for me too.

Looking back to that first picture, I remember how nervous I was for her to start Kindergarten.

Would she make friends in her class?  Would she like her teachers?  How would she be as a student?  Would she like going every day?

I was filled with so much anxiety, just wanting so badly for her to like school and be OK. Sending your kid off to Kindergarten in a way is sort of an exercise in letting go.

I wish I could go back and tell the mom on the left,

Relax. Everything is going to be OK. Actually, better than OK, everything is going to be GREAT.”

For me, this year has also been a lesson in having faith.

And with that, when we walk out today at 1:30pm, I will officially have a 1st grader! Hello summer!  

Are your kids done?  How were your last days?

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Surviving a Surgery with a Toddler: Things I Learned

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For anyone that missed my blog last week, my two-year-old daughter Morgan, had a minor surgery to remove an umbilical cyst. Here is the first post to get you up to speed just in case.

I am so happy to report that she is doing GREAT.

I learned so many things from going through this experience I wanted to share my tips on surviving a surgery with a toddler.

Many of the things I learned I have YOU to thank for. The support and advice of my readers’ comments were so helpful. I was so grateful I wrote that first post and got such awesome advice. It was easier knowing what to expect going into it.

Morgan’s procedure was fairly minor in comparison to many. We were lucky. But for any parent that has had to endure their child being put under anesthesia whether it be for ear tubes, dental work, or something else, can attest, the thought of your child being put under is downright scary.

Here is what I learned:

1. The surgery was WAY harder on me than it was for her. The day before I felt sick to my stomach and had so much anxiety.  Much more than I expected.

2. The “happy juice” is real.  It is called Versed (Midazolam) and they gave it to her about 30 minutes prior to taking her in to the operating room. It made her VERY loopy and relaxed. I now know what my toddler would look like if she was drunk. The medicine also takes away memory of the event. When they wheeled her off she was so relaxed it didn’t phase her.

3. I wish they had a “happy juice” for moms.

4. The time that the procedure takes seems like eternity. Bring mindless magazines to thumb through and busy your mind any way you can. Seeing the surgeon come into the waiting room with a good look on his face and hearing the words “everything went great” washed this intense wave of relief over me.

5. Watching her come out of the anesthesia was not fun. Thank GOD my readers commented to prepare me that kids can be inconsolable. She was upset and confused and pissed off! She had an IV in her hand and a heart rate monitor on her other hand and those two things set her off. She was fixated on taking them off and was screaming.

My husband and I had to restrain her to keep her from trying to pull them out. But she got so wild she tried to pull out the IV with her teeth. It was awful!

This part lasted about 20 – 25 minutes but it seemed like forever. One of my friends who has been through this said her child was like a “wild animal” – which is a very appropriate description! Once she was settled down, she was fine. The nurse said this part usual takes about 30 minutes and on a scale of 1 – 10, Morgan was about a 4 and did pretty well. So, just be warned that this is NORMAL and to be expected. I also can’t imagine what a “10” would be like…

6.The iPad was a lifesaver. Definitely bring an iPad with shows/movies or a DVD player with you. Once she calmed down, I put on a show on the iPad and they gave her a popsicle and she was much happier. The distraction was just what she needed.

7. I forgot to pack her socks and I wish I would have brought them.

8. I was scared about her being nauseous or throwing up from the anesthesia, but the nurse said that they give an anti-nausea medication via IV when they administer the anesthesia so she was totally fine and we had no issues.

9. If you can, line up childcare for your other children and get help for the rest of the day. My neighbor was nice enough to take Emma home from school for the afternoon so when Morgan went to sleep, I did too. I felt like I got run over by a train and was completely exhausted.

My mom then came down later and brought us dinner and was there to help until my husband got home. All Morgan wanted to do was sit on my lap on the couch, so it was so helpful to have my mom to help with Emma so I could sit with Morgan.

10. By the next day you wouldn’t have even KNOWN she had surgery. She was running around like nothing happened. Kids are pretty amazing at how resilient they are, she was completely oblivious and it was such a RELIEF.

I SO hope that no one reading this has to go through surgery with a little one, but if you do, please feel free to contact me if you need support.  The advice, love and good thoughts from my readers, family and friends meant the world to me. It’s times like this that make you feel so blessed to have the love and support by friends in your life.

XOXO
Jen

Here is my Umbilical Cyst-less Easter Bunny one week later!

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My Thoughts on “Don’t Carpe Diem”

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My sister, a fellow mommy of a toddler in the trenches, forwarded an article on HuffPost Parents a couple months ago with two words: GOOD READ. In CAPS. She never forwards me articles so I was intrigued.

The article obviously struck a chord with mamas all over, as it has been shared and shared again, so I am sure many of you have read it already, and if you have, it is worth reading again.

But for those who haven’t, I wanted to write about this article today because her words have stayed with me.  And because the article stirred up so many emotions in me, I also felt compelled to share my thoughts on “Don’t Carpe Diem.”

At first I was intrigued by the title. I am sort of a “Carpe Diem~glass half full~positive” kind of gal, so I couldn’t see myself totally agreeing with whatever was going to come next.

But after I read it, through a mixture of emotions including laughter and tears, I immediately wanted to share with moms everywhere so I posted it to Facebook, where one of my friends so aptly commented, “AAAAAAAMMMMMMEN!”

Which is exactly how I felt.

One of my biggest challenges as a mother has been dealing with guilt. Now days, not only is there the pressure to be enjoying every moment, but we also have the pressure of  “being present.”

I know we have all heard we should ditch the dishes for the moment, forget the laundry, turn off the devices, and get down on the living room floor to play with our kids because, as we have been told over and over again, “IT GOES SO FAST.  ENJOY EVERY MOMENT.

But to those people I have often wanted to scream, then WHO is going to do my dishes and fold the laundry?? Many days I feel so much pressure I feel torn. When I am doing the dishes, I feel guilty I am not playing with my kids, and when I am playing with my kids, I often feel guilty that I should be doing the dishes. Sometimes I feel like I just can’t win! 

When I read her article, I didn’t feel alone. And I feel like us moms need to give ourselves one monumental break! 

Like my cousin once said to me about parenting little ones, “The years go by fast, but the days are long.

This week, I registered my youngest daughter for three mornings of preschool starting in September. Some have said, “Are you sentimental that your youngest is growing up and will be going to preschool?”

But, if I am being honest, after putting in 6 years of juggling the stay-at-home and also work-from-home gig, inside I feel ECSTATIC that she will start preschool in the fall and I am not feeling misty or sentimental in the least.  I feel READY.

Yes, she is growing up, but I am ready to graduate to the next phase. I have had to work on accepting the fact that feeling this way is OK without the guilt.  

I can’t end this post without talking about the author’s views on time. Please read it all the way through, because her words on time are such a great reminder at the end.

The Chronos time is REAL time. The “I am most certainly not enjoying this moment/phase/long afternoon of parenting time.” And can be hard, and exhausting. There is no way around it. A lot of days I am just doing the best I can, and if I make it through the day without completely losing it, that is a success.

The Kairos moments are “I AM ENJOYING THIS MOMENT” time.

If it weren’t for those, I honestly don’t know how parents could make it through.  Many days it’s like running a marathon, and the Kairos moments are the ones when you spot a friend or family member cheering you on from the sidelines, the Kairos moments of unparalleled joy and overwhelming love are what give me that burst of energy to push on.

The cute sayings, the small victories, the snuggles, the laughs, those magic moments that make you want to SCREAM “it is all SOOOOOOOOO worth it! Being a mom is the best thing in the entire universe.” I thank God for those moments, and in those moments, I can look parenting in the eye and say, I AM ENJOYING THIS TO THE FULLEST.

Thing is, it’s just not EVERY moment.

So, if you couldn’t tell, I loved this article. It was honest and raw and forgiving and real and I too wanted to jump through my screen and give Glennon a huge high five and say, “AMEN SISTER!”

You gotta read it. Click here if you haven’t already.

And I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

XOXO

 

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