I'm one of those moms. You know the one. I'm the one who cries after I drop off my kids off at school. The mom who doesn't leave her kids with babysitters who aren't family members, because I can't fathom the thought of leaving them with someone who doesn't love them. The mom who, at the park, follows my kids around the jungle gym like a weirdo, on the rare chance that something terrible may happen and I might have to catch them. It's not like I want to be this way, it's just who I am. It doesn't mean I love my kids any more than anyone else; it's just the only way I know how to parent.
I've heard that most parents are excited to send their kids back to school each year, and I'm assuming it's because they're looking forward to the extra alone time. But I hate sending my kids back to school. That's right I said it, I hate sending my kids to school. I'm extremely grateful for the education they'll receive while they're there and I know they'll benefit greatly from going to school, but I still hate sending them. And if I'm being completely honest, sending my kids back to school makes me really sad. Sending them away for the day makes me miss them so much — and that's really hard for me.
I'll miss their silly jokes at lunch time, their intrigued little faces as they learn something new, and all the other moments I've grown so accustomed to witnessing each day. Deep down, I know my children will be fine while they're at school, but I can't help but wonder, Will they really be fine? I've been the one to teach them, feed them, comfort them, and be with them all day, everyday and now all of a sudden, I'm supposed to adjust to being away from them all week. Honestly, I think I'd homeschool if I had the patience, just so that I could have more time with my kids.
He cried and hugged me as I attempted to walk away, but he chased after me down the hall.
School, however, is one of those places that gives my kids a sense of pride, independence, and courage — and I'm not sure I could give that up for my own selfish needs. The teachers at my sons' school have a way with them. They have this magical power that makes my kids listen and learn intently. They also make friends, play, and create wonderful memories. They truly enjoy school, so for now, I'm set on sending them there — even if it kills me.
But this year, the first day of school was pretty rough on me. My oldest son gets anxiety, like I do, and he started to panic as I left him in his new first-grade classroom. He cried and hugged me as I attempted to walk away, but he chased after me down the hall. Finally, his sweetheart of a teacher took his hand calmly and I jetted out the door, desperately trying to hold it together. I walked solemnly down the long hallway back to my car, holding back tears. He didn't want me to leave, and I didn't want to leave him, but I had to. It still hurts my heart thinking about his anxiety-ridden face staring at me as I left the classroom.
My attachment style of parenting probably makes some parents cringe, and I assume some people think I'm possessive, crazy, and a "hover mother." I don't expect everyone to parent like me and I don't judge others for having a different attitude. I just can't help that I miss my kids when they're gone.
Then came time for my middle child's first day of preschool. I was anticipating lots of tears for us both, but when it came time for me to leave, he hugged me and walked right in with his head held high. To my surprise, it was smooth and there were no tears whatsoever, which left me feeling hopeful for the day to come. Yet as I drove away, I had that same anxious feeling my first grader felt earlier. It felt so strange to leave my middle son at school for the first time. I felt like I'd left something at home. I just wasn't complete. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to be home later that day with all my kids in tow.
I realize that I won't always feel like this — at least I hope I won't always feel like this. Sometimes I even wish I could be like some of the other women I know who rejoice when their children embark on a new school year. My attachment style of parenting probably makes some parents cringe, and I assume some people think I'm possessive, crazy, and a "hover mother." I don't expect everyone to parent like me and I don't judge others for having a different attitude. I just can't help that I miss my kids when they're gone. I know I'll continue to grow as a mom, and look for ways to be better, but for now this is the only way I know how to mother.
I'm a work in progress. I know I need to gradually let go of my kids as they grow up, and I know I should take time for myself and enjoy the times I get to be alone. I do enjoy it — sometimes. I enjoy peeing by myself, making lunch without kids yelling "I don't want that!" and sitting down for long periods of time, mostly unbothered. And even though I miss my boys something fierce, I count myself lucky that my sweet infant daughter is at home with me still.
While my boys are off at school learning about science, nature, and math, I'll be at home, missing them dearly. While they're making friends, memories, and crafts, I'll be counting the hours until I can pick them up. Because even though I'm extremely grateful for the education, experiences, and life skills they'll learn at school, I'm also jealous of the time teachers, educators, and friends will get to spend with my children. I'm sure I'll eventually get to a place where I'm perfectly content about the fact that they spend their days away from me, and I'll probably even learn to enjoy the time on my own. But that day is not today.