Freaking Out About Kindergarten

kindergarten

The countown begins….

I had a freak-out moment at work today.  I decided to look at the webpage of the elementary school where our daughter will be starting kindergarten in 6 months.  The result?  Some paralysis.  Some fear.  Some tears.  Some concerned looks from co-workers.  I was not OK

I know she’s growing up.  I don’t live in a bubble.  Clearly, kindergarten is what 5 year-olds do.  It’s fun.  It’s part of the American apple pie childhood.  It’s cool and great.

Or is it?  Other moms who have been there recently tell me, “It’s not like when we were little.  It’s not so fun.  They’re making them learn things we didn’t learn til much later like writing whole sentences from dictation, and they don’t get to play nearly as much.  It’s all about the testing.”

Gulp.

So I was primed for the freak out, when I checked out the bus routes (my baby, on a bus, with a 5th grader?) and the bell schedule.  Bells?  Tardiness?  She’s only 5!

The kicker for me, that sent me into near hyperventilation?  The late bell rings at 8:25.  They get out of school at 2:55.  I’m pretty swift at time math, I am.  My work hours and hubby’s are 8:00-4:30.  That means, if I am to fulfill my goal of being home to get her on and off the bus, I have 6 months to figure out how to finesse our lives so that one of us starts work at 8:30 and one of us is home by 3.

Breathe.  Breathe.

My “dream” was to be in a position where I could be part-time by the time the kids started school.  But I just started my job and don’t know if I’ll have enough cred or cojones to ask to go part-time or telework an odd schedule in 6 months.  Last resort?  Hold off on my dream for a little while, hoping an opportunity to reduce hours will present itself.   And just hope that putting off my dream is not an indefinite thing.

Is this one of those, “Well, you just can’t have it all, sister” situations?  This morning, in full freakout mode, it felt like that.  My emotional state made me want to quit my job (which I really like) because my-emotional-self saw that as the only way to make this dream come true.  But I need to work and I like to work.  And despite my clearly genius writing abilities, I don’t think I’d be able to make up for our income loss with freelance writing.

Here’s my self pep talk:  You can do it, girl.  You’ll figure it out.  You will get to help her get on the bus, and you’ll get to be there waiting at home when she gets off the bus.  And anyway, regardless of what happens, you’re a good mom and you’re doing a good job.

Anybody else freaking out, prepping for kindergarten out there?  Can we prep together? Anyone been through this already and have some tips for me?

About the author

Mary Beth is married and works full-time in the public health arena. She has a daughter born in 2008 and a son born in 2010. She's only recently feeling settled as a sane(ish!) family with a nice(ish!) routine. She blogs at blooMBing and tweets as @blooMBing.

19 Comments

  1. Shannon says:

    Even though I’m a teacher and have (somewhat) more flexible hours than many of my working mom counterparts AND even though I’m a teacher and know quite a bit about our school district policies/testing/classroom procedures, this topic STILL freaks me the hell out. I’m sorry you’re facing such a crazy amount of logistics to figure out, but I can give you the consolation that you WILL figure it out and make it work, because you always have, and as working moms, we always will!
    Shannon recently posted..Word of 2013My Profile

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  2. Mary Beth says:

    Ack! it’s not posting my right blog any more. http://blooMBing.blogspot.com.
    Twitter: bloombing

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  3. HeatherK says:

    I know how you feel! I am right there with you! My oldest is also starting Kindergarten this fall. For the last four years I had planned on reducing my hours once he started school so I could be there for the bus pick up and drop off. Because my office was only a quick 5 minute drive away this would be perfect, and I would still be able to work 32 hours/week which my company still considers full-time. Unfortunately, I just found out that my large company is closing my current office and is moving us 15 miles to a different office. I live outside Washington DC: that 15 miles equates to a 1.5 hour commute at 8:15 AM when the bus picks my son up. Basically there is no way that I can work the hours I need to to keep my job and be there for my son. I am pretty devastated. I actually live the closest to our new location, and the other 4 people in my group are also up in arms about the move. We are trying to get a telework schedule in place so we can work from home 3 days a week. Those 3 days would mean the world to me and my son. Please keep your fingers crossed for us, and I will be thinking of you too as you navigate your schedule! Good luck!

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  4. Jamie says:

    My oldest will start Kindergarten next year and while I am a bit sad that he’s so big (that just seems like SOOO BIG!) we’ve attended preschool at the same school for the last 2 years and I feel 100% comfortable with the school and the teachers. That relieves a lot of my anxiety. Bo will move next door to his current room and the Kindergarten teacher is great. He will be in class with several of his best buddies too.

    Our school offers an aftercare program. It costs a set amount per child and then they can be dropped off as early as 7:15 and picked up as late as 5:30. Does your school offer one of these options? It might help if you’re not able to get out every day by 3. My preschoolers LOVE it and I usually send them one day a week — usually when I have a late conference call or something — and then their dad picks them up.

    You’re right — it will all work out — and you’ll figure out what is best for your family. :)
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  5. Donna says:

    We register the 1st week of April. This is my second go around with K. My son will be a senior next year so I am in FULL panic mode. One just starting and one finishing. WHAT WAS I THINKING—

    One new thing my DD has to “test” when we register her, my son just showed up and learned. She will be tested on biographical information (name, Bday, family names, address, phone numbers), shapes, colors, numbers and counting. She also has to be able to write all of her letters in upper and loweer case. Right now she is struggling to write most of the letters correctly.

    We were then given a list of 100 Dolch Sight words that she should know. So I looked up these words and 50 are listed as Pre-K words and the other 50 are listed as K words. Why does she need to know all 100 prior to K?

    So I printed flash cards of the words for my DD and she KNEW none of them 3 weeks ago. We practice every morning and every afternoon and she now knows about half of the words. We have a little over a month to get these words all drilled into her pretty little head.

    As for scheduling it should not be a problem for us. I am a teacher in the High School (which starts later than the Ele school), and I drive past her school everyday. So I can drop her off. She will have to attend the after school program for about 1.5 hours each day since I get off after her school day ends.

    I really wonder if I will make it through next year without having a nervous breakdown.

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  6. Linda Cox says:

    Maybe Grandma can move in with you. Problem solved! I love youl. It will all work out.

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  7. cayley rice says:

    This post and these comments are freaking me out, and we’re a couple years away from K! I can’t believe kids are supposed to know all the kindergarten stuff prior to being in kindergarten. I sort of knew that’s what happened b/c of all the testing/funding in schools, and b/c the preschools all tout theory ability to teach kids to read and write so they’ll do well in K, but still, if a kid already knows all that stuff, aren’t they going to be bored? Also, when our daughter was in a school requiring early pick up, we finally realized hiring a babysitter to pick her up and meet us at home made a lot of sense. The only time w/ her we missed out on was the drive home, b/c of the way traffic works here. We basically just hired a driver for her a couple days a week, which made things TONS easier.

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    • Mary Beth says:

      Sorry for freaking you out! I like to think that the testing might be a good thing…. like to get the “lay of the land” so the teacher can know where the kids are starting at. I AM worried about the more limited fun/play time but TRUST ME I plan to ask about these things at registration and every parent-teacher interaction. I’ll probably be THAT parent. ha ha.
      Twitter: bloombing

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  8. mandy says:

    Thank you! I really needed to read this today. My 2nd baby is starting daycare on Mon and I had hoped to figure out some kind of part time work situation by now so I could spend more time with both kiddos, and I feel really upset about it. I’m in the same boat; quit? wait longer for “the dream”? Why aren’t there more part time options out there?! Maybe I just don’t know where to look. Good luck, you have until Sept to sort something out right? So you still have time.

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  9. I’m not panicked yet about my elder baby starting kindergarten in the fall (yet), but that’s because I know she’s so excited to take the bus to and from her daycare with the big kids. It changes our morning/evening routine zero and she is thrilled to be independent enough to take the bus from daycare, so it’s easier. I also guess I have never had the idea that I’d ever be there for drop off/pick up and I’ve let it go. We do what we have to do for our families.
    Ms. Future PharmD recently posted..Considering the end of thingsMy Profile
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  10. Kat says:

    My oldest is going to be starting kindergarten in the fall too! I’m not so much freaking out about logistics, {she’ll go to her current preschool’s after school care}, but just the sheer HOLY CRAP I HAVE A KINDERGARTNER!! aspect. And mine will be riding the bus too…we can handle this! Solidarity!!
    Kat recently posted..I always thought there’d be three.My Profile
    Twitter: lilmissrysmama

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  11. Jo says:

    Wow. I feel like I need to start preparing and my daughter is only 3. Right now I am actually worried about her being in daycare – only daycare and not pre-school. We will likely move her at some point, but we love her daycare and worry about her adjusting. So much to think (and worry) about.

    My husband has a much more flexible schedule so when the time comes he can be there when our kid gets home from school which is great, but I want to be the one to do so. I already feel like I miss out so much because of my work hours, but I’m not sure how to totally resolve this.

    I hope you are able to work something out!
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  12. Michelle says:

    Im freaking out. My son starts kindergarten in the fall and I’m going through the exact same thing. I work 7:30-5:45 and I have no clue how we are going to manage it. There is no before or after school care and even if there were I’m not sure that I’d like it. I can’t imagine my son in a class with 20 other kids! No personal attention. How much interaction will they have with my child? What if he’s upset, will they calm him? Tests??? I can’t imagine tests! And homework?!?! We don’t have enough play time as it is!

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