Kindergarten is hard, y'all. And it's ruining the special time I used to get with my child.
Education Parenting

Kindergarten Is Ruining My Time With My Child

We are a couple months into kindergarten now, and obviously I am an expert in all things school-related. I can hear your agreement through the screen, so I will continue.

I have a small thing that is bothering me that I need to get off my chest. I know it is a “me” thing that I have to get over. However, I have spent most of today fantasizing about going back in time to avoid having my oldest in school. I have determined I am not ready for the demands that come with this school thing. I want my kid back to myself.  I’m not going to do anything about it, but that is where my mind was today.

I am a mom who works full time outside of the house. My daughters have both attended daycare since they were babies. I love my daycare lady, and there is no one I would rather have watching over my children, but I have mourned the time I don’t get with them at times. Yes, after a long weekend I put on the Tinkerbell movie soundtrack on the way to work and cry it out with the fairies. I think that is “fairie-ly” normal behavior, right? I refuse to be ashamed.

When they attended only daycare, the remaining 3-4 hours of the night were all mine to do what I wanted. After work, we could ride bikes, watch a movie, color, or dance party it up. No expectations from anyone else regarding what needed to be accomplished for the night.

Would we read books, craft, and learn? Of course, but it wasn’t scripted. Also, to be honest, many of the crafts failed miserably (looking at you, Pinterest-modeling clay recipe.)

But kindergarten has made me feel like I’m not in charge of my home life anymore. Instead of wading into this school thing and gaining confidence, I feel like someone pushed us over the waterfall.

There was the fund raiser, the library book, the collecting of box tops, the book reading list that she can earn rewards for, the book order forms, the request for volunteers to come help kids work on numbers/letters, the book orders, and the list of things she has to learn by first quarter.

I love teachers. I feel like I have to say that before I continue. I don’t see this as a comment on teachers per se, but maybe what the school system is moving to or maybe about how bad I am at adjusting to said school system.

I am prepared to hear that I am a selfish, petulant woman child. But I don’t want to spend my free time with my kid constantly working on things for school. I don’t want a list 3 pages long telling me what I need to teach her. At this age, I feel like playing is something she can learn from, and I feel like I want to enjoy the last little bit of time where I am “cool” enough to play.

When I get a list of things I have to teach, it frustrates me because I no longer get to have “my” time with her. My 3 hours with her are now going to be occupied by what the school wants me to work on and not the real life lessons I want to teach her. I can hear you say, “Oh, just wait until she’s in sports and she’s got chorus or band or sports or….” And you are right. That will be hard. But this is hard, too.

I know I can create ways to play and learn the things on the list. I can be creative and work it in. I don’t think, though, that the parents that didn’t care to work with their kids before are going to see the list and decide they care about how their kid does. I feel punished because I do care.

We will work on the list until she has it. I will schedule out time to work on those things and feel a little more queasy for the lack of control I have in her day even after coming home. We will read the library books. We will sell whatever we have to sell. We will collect whatever they want. All the while, I will feel like I am missing out on a little bit of joy that I used to have in spontaneously playing with my daughters.

Kindergarten is no joke, y’all. And I think it’s safe to say, I’m not a fan.