Saturday, September 29, 2012

Preschool Regrets by Alexandra Kuykendall, mom of four

I sat in the classroom on what felt like a doll-sized chair, my knees up to my ears with the heavy three-ring binder on my lap. I didn’t have to open it to know it was full of school policies (read: expectations for parents to give in many ways) and class rosters. It was preschool orientation. What am I doing here? I asked myself. I quickly counted six years of preschool mothering under my belt. Like I need to be taught how to have a child in preschool.

And this was not just for any preschool. This was our neighborhood cooperative preschool. Despite the three minute drive from our house and the perfect Tuesday/Thursday afternoon class schedule, I was beginning to regret my decision to return to this school where the expectations felt like a second job.
"Helping in the classroom
had sounded quite manageable
months ago."

The classroom helping requirement felt daunting. Once a month I would have to figure out somewhere to send the baby so I could help in my 3-year old’s classroom. Helping in the classroom had sounded quite manageable months ago. What’s one afternoon a month? I’d thought. But I also knew from experience come November with sick siblings home from school and Christmas errands, I’d be resenting the classroom requirement. Why did I sign up for this?
But as well as I knew the scrambling involved to make classroom aiding work, I also knew how happy I was each time I helped. Sitting with my knees up to my ears I remembered as each month rolled around with my previous preschoolers how glad I’d been that I’d made time to see my child outside of our familiar home environment. I looked around the room at the easel, the play kitchen area, the reading corner with its bean bag chairs and display of “back to school” themed books and imagined my newest preschooler exploring it all for the first time. The regrets melted away as I readied myself to join her as she took one preschool-sized step into the big world.

Lord, help me to be present in the mothering duties I avoid. Help me to see them as opportunities to grow along with my child.

Alexandra Kuykendall is a writer and editor for MOPS International and regularly blogs at

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