You felt like the day would never come, and as cliche as it is, you blinked and it was here. Your child just started kindergarten. Hello milestone moment! While you knew the beginning of elementary school would bring a plethora of learning moments for your children, you find yourself surprised at the lessons you, as a parent, are learning these first few weeks.
Top Ten Lessons a Parent Learns When Their Child Starts Kindergarten
1. Your child suffers from short-term memory loss.
You are so excited to hear how your child’s day went! They get in the car or off the bus after an entire day away from you, yet, the second they spot you, their memory gets erased. All questions including “What did you do today?”, “What did you learn in class?”, “Who did you sit with at lunch?”, and more will be answered with “I don’t know” and “I don’t remember” and you will have zero idea what happened for six hours of their day.
2. Adults still cut in line.
Trust me, I know. I drive my child to school for drop off and pick up. The school has outlined a clear policy for the drop off and pick up procedures. They’ve emailed it, sent letters home in backpacks, talked about it at Meet The Teacher, and it was even reviewed at the PTO meeting. Sure enough, here comes that same minivan (every day we might add), peeling around the corner on two wheels acting like they didn’t get the email, read the letter, or attend the meetings, and somehow cutting in front of the 37 cars following the outlined procedure. And you know she knows the rules. She was at the PTO meeting. As a matter of fact, you sat right behind that mom (she had the best hair, like she had actually had time to shower that day, so you noticed) and heard the same message she did. Yet, every day, here comes that minivan.
3. You’ll wonder about them constantly throughout the day.
It’s not like you haven’t had your child out of your care in the past. Maybe it was daycare, maybe it was preschool, maybe it was Mothers Day Out, or maybe it was a sitter for a few hours but something about kindergarten seems like So. Much. More. than those other hours away from you ever were. Are they eating lunch by themselves? Did they meet a new friend on the playground? Did they love learning something new today? Did those new shoes give them a blister during PE class? You’ll pause during random times in your day and just wonder what they are up to.
4. Those dreams of having long conversations with your kids’ teacher about how brilliant your child is won’t happen.
“Oh Mrs. Smith, Tommy read to you today? That’s wonderful!” “Samantha told you that hilarious joke? She’s so witty, isn’t she Mrs. Perez?” You pictured it all summer, bonding with the new kindergarten teacher as she discovered how wonderful your talented child is. Little did you know that you’d get approximately three seconds per day to interact with little Tommy’s teacher as she flung open the door, plopped your child in, and with a quick wave and “have a great night!” was off to help the next child. You totally get it but you’re slowly waving “so-long” to those intimate coffee chats with your little Einstein’s teacher.
5. Say sayonara to your Fridays.
Fridays use to be all fun and games, right? “Wee! It’s the weekend! Let’s go out to eat! Let’s go to the football game! Let’s all be happy!” That was until Kindergarten entered the picture. Just thinking of Friday night makes you shutter. That angelic sweetheart that skips onto the bus on Monday morning? By the time Friday afternoon rolls around, it’s the spawn of Satan stepping off that big yellow dog. Tears, screaming, falling on the floor in a rage….all because you asked them if they wanted an apple for an afternoon snack. And you get it. They are so flipping tired. This new schedule is brutal. But you know what’s more brutal. Friday night. Don’t make plans. Don’t leave the house. You’re best to just stay put until the tidal wave of tired crazy exits by crashing out in bed at 6:51pm. Wine anyone???
6. After four days of making lunches, you’ll already be over it.
Oh my gosh! It’s barely been a week but you are already loathing packing lunches….and you have 248 more lunches left to pack this year. Not to mention the fact that she’s befriended Margaret who’s mom is “Pinterest Mom.” Margaret came to school with a unicorn-themed lunch yesterday, complete with a rainbow mane made out of fruit and hand-squeezed carrot juice from organic carrots grown in the Himalayan mountains. Suddenly, your Lunchable is being shunned by your five your old, you’re expected to up your PB&J game to epic proportions, and you don’t have an ounce of Pinterest in you. You find yourself searching for that email the school sent way back in July about how to sign up for the hot lunch program. Margaret’s mom can go jump in a lake. Pizza Friday – here we come!!!
7. You can’t seem to get a grasp on time and how quickly it passes the second the alarm clock goes off.
For all that is good and right in this world, how did 45 minutes go by like 10 minutes? Crap! Your child is supposed to be at their desk in 9 minutes and you’re still in PJs, trying to cheer your kid who is currently snoring at the breakfast table into finishing their Cheerios. Morning minutes tick by at the speed of light and now your kid has two yellow slips from the office for tardies and they are 100% your fault. You are that mom that you swore you never would be – the one at drop-off in PJs with morning breath masked by coffee. Perfect.
8. You thought you wanted summer to be over until the minute you see that kid walk through their classroom door.
You were so over summer and so ready for routine to be back. Now, you want to yank them back from that classroom and enjoy three more months of slow down, no schedule, sleeping in, and summer nights. Only 9 more months. The count down is officially on.
9. You will cry.
Convinced you were so very ready to send your baby off to kindergarten, you just knew you weren’t going to be the mom crying on the steps of the elementary school. You were excited as your first born (or even your last born) woke up on the first day and got ready. You smiled, chatted, and high-fived all the way through the drop-off process. But the minute that kid turned their back, walked into the classroom, and didn’t look back, you were a heaping pile of tears and could have been scrapped off of the floor of that school.
10. They are more capable than you think.
For the last 5 years, you’ve been so used to being on-call to do everything: reading books, making sure they eat their lunch, tying shoe laces, setting up play dates so that they have friends, and organizing every detail of their lives. And now here you are. They are ready to spread their wings and fly. They’ll make friends you’ve never met, you might not know if they ate their entire lunch that day, and you can bet there will be tears you aren’t there to wipe away but rest easy. You’ve done your job right mama. Now sit back and watch those precious babies become little people.
you find yourself surprised at the lessons you, as a parent, are learning these first few weeks
How about you? Did you send one off to Kindergarten this year? How did it go?
About the Author | Brooke Meabon
Brooke Meabon is co-founder of Alamo City Moms in San Antonio, Texas. Brooke balances life as business owner, mom, wife, and community enthusiast who has a hard time sitting still. She loves any and all things about the city of San Antonio and you’ll often find her out and about around town dragging her husband and kids along. Brooke is a runner, a foodie, a volunteer, a self-confessed sufferer of FOMO, and loves throwing a good party!