Expectations Vs. Reality Of Your Kid Starting Kindergarten

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It's a monumental occasion when your kid finally starts going to school, and I'll admit it: I was looking forward to it long before it actually happened. My daughter has always needed constant interaction and stimulation, and I knew she would thrive in school where that could happen (I guess I'm not the only friend she needs). But I have to say, what I thought kindergarten would be like for her (and me) is slightly different than what kindergarten is really like.

Many of my friends have children who are already well into their school years, so I kind of feel like they forgot to warn me what things would be like in this first year. There's a heck of a lot of trying to nail down a routine, I'll tell you that. That relatively newfound independence that your kid has been feeling is either going to retreat entirely for a while (as they adjust emotionally to being in school) or rear its ugly head and cause you to be late every single day for the entire school year. Good luck with either of those two possibilities, by the way.

While there are some kids out there who have no problem instantly adjusting to all the changes that starting school throws their way, so many other kids have a way more challenging time. Oh, and guess what? Parents can have a hard time adjusting, too. So there's that to look forward to.

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Either way, the reality of what happens when your kid starts kindergarten will very rarely resemble whatever it is you're anticipating. Here's how my expectations played out during this first year of school for my daughter:

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Getting Ready In The Morning

Expectation:

We get up with enough time for a healthy breakfast, my sweet munchkin dresses herself and maybe we even have time for a story or a chat before I walk her to school. Awesome!

Reality:

Oh cool, looks like someone has decided that 5:35 a.m. is the new 7:00 a.m. so now I can barely function. I fall asleep on the couch watching my daughter play with her train set, wake up with a jolt at 8:15, not having fed her yet...or made lunch...or helped her get dressed. We run out the door 20 minutes late, after lots of yelling at each other. Fun!

Mornings After Dropping Your Kid Off

Expectation:

I'm going to make myself a coffee, briefly check email and Facebook, then unload the dishwasher, fold some laundry, work out, get dinner prepped for this evening, and maybe even bake some muffins. I'm going to own this day so hard.

Reality:

Facebook, YouTube... Wait, how is it lunch time already?!?

Lunch time

Expectation:

(Note: My kid's school lets them come home for lunch if they want, so that's what we do.) It's so good to come home for lunch for a hot meal, so I'll bring her home and we can have some bonding time. I'll appreciate her so much more now that I see her way less!

Reality:

I have no time to do anything. All I do is walk back and forth, to and from school. She doesn't want to stay at school for lunch, but when she comes home, she complains of being bored. Excellent. Fantastic choice, kid.

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Adorable School Concerts

Expectation:

I can't wait to see my sweet girl singing with the other kids! It's going to be unbearably sweet, and I will share her cuteness all over social media, and she will be discovered by an agent and... (OK, not really, but it really is so freaking presh and exciting to see your kid perform)

Reality:

STOP PICKING YOUR NOSE AND SING!! I'M SNAPCHATTING THIS TO YOUR AUNT!

Parent-Teacher Conference

Expectation:

Obviously, this is when the teacher will tell us that our daughter is gifted.

Reality:

I mean, at least she's not the worst-behaved kid in her class. I'll take it.

Homework

Expectation:

It's going to be so much fun helping my daughter learn to read and write!

Reality:

If I have to go over the sound that "th" makes one more time, I may stab myself in the eye. Also, how are these math problems so hard??

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After School, On The Playground

Expectation:

It's so lovely to see all the kids playing together, isn't it? And us moms get to hang out and chat, become friends and eventually go out for drinks together. Look at us, building our village!

Reality:

Children falling off the monkey bars or getting bullied. Awkward silences between moms who don't know each other. Silent judging. So much silent judging. Oh, where did she get those slip-ons? More silent judging.

After School, At Home

Expectation:

We will play a game or two, she will help me with dinner, and we will bond! We are going to bond so hard!

Reality:

TV. Crying and complaints of boredom when the TV is turned off. More TV.

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