Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Return of Mommy Guilt

As Monkey approaches age 3 (what? already? not possible...), talk has turned to preschool vs. day care, and what changes we need to make to our routine to make sure we don't inadvertently ruin Monkey's chances at getting into college before he even starts Kindergarten. (Just kidding. I think. I hope...)

And so, we've gone round and round on things like part-time vs. full-time, new school vs. old school, and multi-age classroom vs. 3-year olds only classroom. Seriously, I never realized there would be so many decisions to make, and so soon.

I'll spare you all the debate, and let you know that we've decided on full-time, old school, and multi-age classroom. Fingers are crossed. And yet, with those decisions made, we still had to deal with the final issue of timing. Should we let Monkey enjoy his last couple months as a care-free not-really-going-to-"school"-school toddler, basking in a part-time schedule, spending extra quality time with Mommy, and then switching to part-time in the fall, on a "traditional" school schedule, after the switch to the new classroom happens this summer? Or should we just get all the transitions over at once, possibly traumatizing Monkey in the process? And then, to complicate matters, our school offered us a third possibility - take advantage of a full-time opening now, then switch to the new room next month, and bam, transition complete, perhaps before Mommy was mentally prepared for it all.

And that, for better or for worse, is what we've decided to do. I tell myself it's not because I'm a crappy SAHM, who is running out of ways to amuse Monkey on "our" days together, and is going broke taking him to the zoo and out for pizza and breadsticks (which, in Monkey-ese, means about 3 breadsticks and half a slice of cheese pizza - thanks for the carbo-loading, Mommy...) I also tell myself that this might be the "best" way to ease his transition, increasing his days while he's still in a room that he knows and loves, and hopefully fast-tracking the transition to the new room by having it occur over the course of a solid week, as opposed to broken up over two weeks of part-time attendance. And who knows? Maybe Monkey will surprise me this year and will be EXCITED about moving to the "big kids' room" (yep, I'm trying to play it up already). Maybe he won't cry every day for three weeks when I drop him off in the new room. Maybe he'll immediately bond with his new teachers, and won't look at me like I'm taking him to the "wrong" place, away from his beloved Miss Amber and Miss Laura. A mommy can hope, right?

And of course the biggest question of all remains unanswered - what will this part-time work-from-home Mommy do when suddenly she has the "opportunity" to contemplate returning to a full-time work atmosphere? Hmmm, perhaps we should let this just be about Monkey for now...

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