Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The car pool line

My boys go to preschool at a Methodist church. I chose this school for several reasons, one was that my friend's kid loved it there and another big one was that the teachers all came back each year, there was hardly any turnover and they had a list of teachers who wanted to work there should an opening come up. So, with much trepidation, in 2004, I took my barely 2 year old twins to preschool. Two days a week they went from 9-12. The first few days they were sad and cried a little. And then they loved it. And this year, they went back, to the three year old classroom. Now they go four days a week from 9-12. And they still love it.

As I was sitting in the car pool line yesterday, waiting to pick my boys up, I pulled the car around the corner of the building and could see all the kids getting into the cars in front of me. They were being walked out to their cars, holding hands with a teacher. They all looked thrilled to see their moms, all were smiling and looked happy-tired. The good kind of tired, after you have done something that makes you happy. And I thought to myself, why are so many mothers opposed to any kind of preschool at all?

I can understand the reluctance to send a child to daycare all day long, but these short, morning programs, why are there such die-hard, only I can do right moms out there? I mean, I know that I am the person who loves my kids the most, along with their dad, but how could I deprive them of these other loving adults in their lives? I can't see anything negative about sending the young ones to preschool, where they learn to function with other people while mom isn't there and they bond with other adults. How can it be bad to teach them that they can trust other people and that they can't get everything they need from one person? My boys still talk about their teacher from last year and when they see her, they run to her open arms with such abandon, it brings little tears to my eyes. I don't feel jealous of their love for her at all, in fact, I feel proud of it. I am over-the-moon excited that they can and do love other people and that they have no reservations at all about me being away from them. They seem to be strong, outgoing, independent kids, all three of them. That has to be one of the things I am most proud of, that they are not and have never been, clingy children. So, I wonder still, do mothers who refuse to leave their kids with anyone else, ever, do so because they need to feel like they are the be-all, end-all for those kids? Are they so over-protective because it gives them a purpose in life? Or what? What's the deal? Or perhaps I am just a reckless, irresponsible mother because I do not hover over the children and I do not dote on them constantly. Maybe that's it?


At 11:18 AM, Blogger Sis said...

Let me come sit on the reckless and irresponsible Mom couch. I wish I could find a program for Ben but no one will take him until he is potty trained. I have begged and pleaded and offered to pay double but they all said no. Fuckers.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Tina said...

This is maybe the fourth time I have been by, read this post, and not known how to respond. I should have something brilliant to say by now...but I don't. I think some moms just choose the known, rather than the unknown. I mean not every place is as good as the place you have found.

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Debbie said...

I don't have any problem with preschool, and my kid will be going....just not this year. :) Some of our reasons were related to her condition, but even had that not been the case, I figured she's going to be in school from the time she's 5 until she's at least 18 and I didn't really think she needed an additional 2 year of school tacked on to it....one would be plenty. So for now my social butterfly interacts with other kids and other adults at other things instead, like classes at our community center and story time at the library, and she goes to Sunday school pretty much every week.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Smoov said...

I will post the comment I made in Mel's blog here too, just for the record:

Just to say it....Mel, I didn't have you in mind when I wrote that. I had the mothers in mind that I know that say things like, "I would miss him sooo much if he went to preschool!" and "No one can take care of him as well as me." or "What would do while he was at school?"

I understand about the personality thing, and I also know that preschool doesn't make one strong and independent. My kids are that way because of their genes mostly! I didn't mean to sound as if I thought one led to the other or that you couldn't have independent kids without preschool. I was just being thankful and proud, out loud, of that!

And I certainly know that they will be wonderful students regardless of whether or not they go to preschool. They are intelligent and I can see that for myself. Mine go to school right now for many reasons, originally I had hoped they would begin to speak more to other people if they were in an environment other than home, and they did. I also wanted them to have a bigger experience, outside of being home with me all the time. I am great to be with of course ;) but I want them to know there are other great and wonderful people out there that can teach them things and love them. And you make mention of the break for mom, which I guess you think is the main reason most kids go to preschool, and maybe in your experience it is. I have never sent mine for that reason. Mine go on Mondays so I can sleep as opposed to being a raving lunatic after having worked all night long! The other days they are there, I work and/or study. So, it isn't really a break for me, rather time for me to pursue the things I need or want to pursue. Is that a break? Maybe it is. I know for sure there are other moms of kids at their school that go home and clean, or go have coffee together (I have been guilty of doing that once or twice!), or go shopping.

In any event, I know why you don't use preschool, in fact, we may have talked about it before. And I don't know why I felt the need to defend myself! I wrote the entry in my blog after being really touched at how happy the kids were at school and how loving and caring the teachers there are, and wondering why anyone would want their kids to miss out on more love and happiness!

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous surcie said...

My son just started attending a preschool program. He's 2 yrs, 2 months. I really didn't know kids could go to preschool at this age (and when they're not potty trained), but I jumped at the chance. Now granted, he goes only one day a week for 3 hours (eventually, he'll go for more days), but he's never been in daycare and doesn't have a weekday sitter. So he's with me all the time. We're extremely close, but I know he needs to be able to like and trust other adults. He also needs the interaction with other kids as he's my only child. The bottom line is, one has to do what's best for her child, if she's able, and I believe preschool is what's best for my boy.

At 9:35 PM, Blogger Gradual Dazzle said...

You said
I had the mothers in mind that I know that say things like, "I would miss him sooo much if he went to preschool!" and "No one can take care of him as well as me." or "What would I do while he was at school?"

Sounds like co-dependency rather than self-sufficiency... all three of those examples are of moms who are, at their core, thinking of themselves and not their child's best interests. Perhaps it IS in the child's best interests to stay at home -- how would she know? She's worried too much about how she'd feel or what she'd do.

It takes a truly self-assured Mom (whose personal self-worth and identity are not wrapped up in their child) to make a competent decision about her child's education, whether that occurs entirely within the home or whether it includes an institutional setting for some period of time.

The same wrapped-up-in-self attitude that those examples display is the one owned by the mom who pitches her kids in daycare from 6 AM to 6 PM simply because she's too busy at work and can't be bothered thinking of the kids. Good moms, I think, know when to subjugate their own desires in order to care properly for their young. I'm sure the penguin mommy at the South Pole isn't terribly comfortable sitting in the -100 degree snowstorm with an egg on her feet, but she does it anyway.

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Donna said...

I'm anxiously waiting until I can send Maddie to preschool. I'm sure she'll love it...and I'm sure it will do us good to be away from each other for a while on a regular basis.

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

Thank you, very interesting!


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